Ever heard of the ancient village Shoshkhalah? Neither had anyone else until the European Union, in concert with Palestinian nationalists, invented it out of thin air about two years ago.
Today, one can find signs posted by the EU on a collection of scattered old farm watch towers declaring them to be part of an ancient “Palestinian” village.
This new ancient village is located in the heart of the Etzion Bloc of Jewish settlements situated south of Bethlehem. The entire ruse is built around two “shmurot,” the partially collapsed old stone guard towers and huts the farmers and shepherds had built in centuries past to provide shelter while out in the fields.
Yishay Shemo of the non-governmental organization Regavim explains in a video (English subtitles) that such shmurot can be found scattered throughout the Judean hill country, but these two in particular were chosen by the Palestinians and European Union to become a “historic Palestinian village.”
Over the past two years, Shemo reports, Palestinian Arabs from the nearby town of Al Khader have been moving into the newly-invented ancient village with the help of the Europeans, who have financed and built 15 additional “ancient” dwellings equipped with modern niceties, like solar power and water tanks.
And while the activists believe that placing the EU seal on their propaganda legitimizing the project, readily-available evidence belies their efforts. For instance, aerial photographs taken of the area in 1967 reveal that the bulk of the buildings that now exist at the site weren’t there just 50 years ago. Old maps dating to the 1880s likewise make it clear that there was never an Arab village at that location.
Shemo warns that this is just part of a larger scheme by the Palestinian nationalists and their supporters in Europe to create new facts on the ground in an effort to further delegitimize Israel’s claims and influence the outcome of future negotiations.