US returns looted antiquity to Palestinian Authority for first time ever

Written by Issy Ronald, CNN

For the primary time ever, the US has returned a looted antiquity to the Palestinian Authority — an Iron Age ivory “cosmetic spoon” that’s nearly 3,000 years outdated.
US and Palestinian officers attended a ceremony on Thursday marking the historic repatriation on the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Bethlehem, in response to statements launched by the US Workplace of Palestinian Affairs and the official Palestinian Information & Data Company (WAFA).

US and Palestinian officers met in Bethlehem Thursday for the historic repatriation. Credit score: Ministry of Tourism

The beauty spoon dates again to roughly 800-700 BCE, and was used to ladle incense onto fires as choices to the gods or the lifeless, a press release from the Manhattan District Lawyer’s (DA) workplace added.

Palestinian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Rula Maayah, who attended the ceremony, stated in a press release that the artifact “acquires its real scientific and archaeological value in its authentic location.”

“Based on information from the US side, the investigations they conducted showed that the artifact was stolen from Khirbet al-Koum area in Hebron,” she added.

The chief of the US Workplace of Palestinian Affairs, George Noll, who was additionally current on the ceremony, stated the repatriation is “a historic moment between the American and Palestinian people and a demonstration of our belief in the power of cultural exchanges in building mutual understanding, respect and partnership.”

The ivory beauty spoon was seized following a multinational prison investigation by the Manhattan DA workplace’s into US billionaire Michael Steinhardt.

Steinhardt surrendered 180 stolen relics price an estimated $70 million and agreed to an “unprecedented” lifetime ban on buying antiquities in December 2021, CNN reported on the time.

Investigators discovered that Steinhardt, one of many world’s largest historical artwork collectors, was in possession of looted artifacts smuggled out of 11 international locations by 12 prison networks, in response to a press release from the DA’s workplace.

Steinhardt’s attorneys, Andrew J. Levander and Theodore V. Wells Jr, stated in a press release to CNN on the time that their consumer was happy the DA’s investigation had concluded with none expenses “and that items wrongfully taken by others will be returned to their native countries.”

Since then, the Manhattan DA has returned a number of of those looted artifacts, together with a $1.2 million antiquity to Libya and two artifacts to Iraq in January 2022; 39 antiquities valued at $5 million to Israel in March 2022; and 58 antiquities to Italy, together with 21 seized from the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, in September 2022.