Israel’s continued actions in Gaza provide enough evidence to conclude that the Zionist regime is committing atrocities intended to kill innocent civilians.
In addition to a serious and imminent risk of genocide in the Palestinian enclave, with a long list of evidence including examples of massacres of ordinary citizens in public places or in their homes, the regime is at the same time eliminating Gaza’s rich cultural heritage.
To cite just one example, Saint Porphyry, which is one of the oldest churches in the world, was hit hard on October 19 by an Israeli airstrike which left dozens dead and injured at the site. Greek Orthodox worship. Witnesses told AFP the assault damaged the exterior of the 12th-century place of worship and caused neighboring buildings to collapse.
The church is named after a 5th-century bishop of Gaza, Bishop Porphyrius, who is said to have closed all the pagan temples in Gaza and erected the original foundations of the church in c. 425 CE.
The story of Gaza’s heritage sites is a stark reminder of the harmful consequences of war on the population and its cultural heritage.Saint Porphyry is located a few meters from the Arab al-Ahli hospital, which suffered a tragic attack on October 17. It cost the lives of 471 people and injured 314 others, according to Palestinian officials. The hospital has acquired historic status as one of the oldest operating hospitals. It was founded in 1882, according to the website of the Diocese of Jerusalem.
The destruction of these heritage sites is not only a loss for the people of Gaza but for the world as a whole. These sites bear witness to the rich history and culture of the region, and their destruction is an irreparable tragedy.
The Gaza Strip is home to several important heritage sites, including St. Hilarion Monastery, Al Omari Mosque, Anthedon Port, Al Sammara Hammam of Qasr Al Basha, and several other churches built over the centuries, from the late the Roman era to the Umayyad era.
Here’s a look at these cultural gems that are at risk of being completely destroyed:
St. Hilarion Monastery is known as the oldest and largest Christian monument in the strip, said to be named after the founder of Palestinian monasticism, around 300 CE.
The Al Omari Mosque, aka the Grand Mosque of Gaza, is one of the oldest in the Gaza Strip and is still used for daily prayers. Accounts say that the mosque was originally a temple, then transformed into a Byzantine church and finally converted back into a mosque after the Muslim conquest of Gaza in the 7th century.
Anthedon Port, Gaza’s first known seaport, was inhabited from 800 BC to 1100 CE as a cultural melting pot from the Babylonians to the early Islamic rule of the Umayyad and Fatimid empires.
Qasr Al Basha, also known as Napoleon’s Fort, has a romantic legend dating back to the 13th century, when Mamluk Sultan Zaher Baibars came to Gaza several times as a soldier fighting the Crusaders and Mongols in Syria. Legend has it that the fort served as a residence for one of his wives, whom he met in Gaza.
Hammam Al Sammara is a Turkish-style public bath mainly used by the Samaritan community in Gaza. Although rumored to date back to pre-Islamic times in Gaza, the public baths (Hammam) date back to 1320 CE, according to an inscription installed on the ancient structure. Theodore Edward Dowling, in his writings of 1913, suggested that by 1584 a Samaritan community existed in Gaza and had a large synagogue and two public baths.
The story of Gaza’s heritage sites is a stark reminder of the harmful consequences of war on the population and its cultural heritage. It is up to all of us to work towards a future where such destruction is no longer a reality.