Tanakh At Qumran - Ownership - Ownership Disputes

Ownership Disputes

The official ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls is disputed among the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the State of Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. The debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls stems from a more general Israeli-Palestinian conflict over land and state recognition.

Parties Involved Party Role Explanation of Role
Jordan Disputant; Minority Owner Alleges that the Dead Sea Scrolls were stolen from the Palestinian Archaeological Museum, which was operated by Jordan from 1966 until the Six-Day War when advancing Israeli forces took control of the Museum and that they fall under the rules of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Jordan regularly demands their return and petitions third-party countries that host the scrolls to return them to Jordan instead of to Israel, claiming they have legal documents that prove Jordanian ownership of the scrolls.
Israel Disputant; Current Majority Owner After the Six-Day War Israel seized the scrolls and moved them to the Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum.

Israel refutes Jordan's claim and states that they never lawfully possessed the scrolls since it was an unlawful occupier of the museum and region.

Palestinian Authority Disputant The Palestinian Authority also holds a claim to the scrolls.
Canada Neutral Exhibition Host In 2009, a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection held by the Israeli Antiquities Authority was moved and displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada. Both Palestine and Jordan petitioned the international community, including the United Nations, for the scrolls to be seized under disputed international law. Ottawa dismissed the demands and the exhibit continued, with the scrolls returning to Israel upon its conclusion.
United Nations Supranational Authority Under Resolution 181 (II), Jerusalem, in particular East Jerusalem, that is currently home to the Rockefeller Museum that holds the scrolls, is part of a "Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem" that is supposed to be administered by the United Nations, further complicating matters. East Jerusalem was under Jordanian occupation from 1948 to 1967 and has been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

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