Claim of finding Herod's tomb bolsters Israeli settlers, worries Palestinians





HERODIUM, West Bank -- Israeli archaeologists revealed more details Tuesday about their discovery of what they believe is the tomb of King Herod...

The discovery dusted off the competing Israeli and Palestinian claims to the region between Bethlehem and the Judean desert. Israeli settler leaders said the reported find of the Jewish king's tomb supported their historic right to the area, while Palestinians expressed fears that it would be used as a pretext to increase Jewish settlement construction south of Jerusalem...

Shaul Goldstein, a leader of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, told the Ynetnews Web site that"the discovery is further proof of Gush Etzion's direct link to the history of the Jewish people and Jerusalem."

Nabil Khatib, the Palestinian Authority's director of the Bethlehem district, said international law prohibits Israel from removing artifacts found in the occupied territories."This is robbery of Palestinian artifacts," he said.

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