UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 28)
Israel today denied recent Syrian accusations of looting at archaeological sites at Banias in the Israeli-occupied territory of Syria. In a letter to Secretary-General U Thant. Ambassador Gideon Rafael of Israel said: “Contrary to the irresponsible statements of Syria, this site is well preserved, no excavations whatsoever are taking place there and the suggestion that archaeological sites are being looted is patently ridiculous.”
“It is obvious that this Syrian campaign of vilification, with regard to the historic site at Banias, has no other purpose than to divert attention from their own acts of vandalism in that area,” Mr. Rafael continued. He accused the Syrians in his letter of digging a bunker at E1 Hamma exactly on the hill on which an ancient synagogue was built. “By digging this bunker, they destroyed the northeastern corner of the synagogue enclosure,” he stressed.