• ARCHEOLOGY \ Apr 22, 2009
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    PA ministry: Dead Sea Scrolls were stolen, should be returned
PA ministry: Dead Sea Scrolls were stolen, should be returned Taha called on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harmer to cancel the exhibition, which is scheduled to open at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto in June.

"I think it is important that Canadian institutions would be responsible and act in accordance with Canada's obligations," Taha wrote in a letter to the prime minister.

The scrolls, some of which are as old as the third century BC, were discovered by a Palestinian Bedouin shepherd in 1947, a year before the state of Israel was established.

Other senior Palestinian officials signed the letter to Canada's prime minister, the AFP reported, insisting that the texts were taken illegally after Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967.

"I'm just hearing about this issue," said the museum's head William Thorsell on Thursday, according to the Star. "I do understand the Palestinians are making an issue of the ownership. But I'm quite certain the scrolls fall within the parameters of the law."

Pnina Shor, head of the artifacts treatment and conservation department at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said Israel is the rightful owner of the scrolls. "As such, we have a right to exhibit them and to conserve them," the Star quoted him as saying.