A senior Palestinian official has praised the UAE's support for the Palestinian people, under the prudent leadership of President HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, to enable them to challenge Israel's brutal settlement policy in the occupied territories.
Under Secretary of the Finance Ministry of the Palestinian National Authority Mohammed Jaradah said that President Sheikh Zayed's generosity to establish Zayed City in Gaza was one of his vital donations presented to the Palestinian people out of his principled and nationalistic stances and his continuous support for the Palestinian cause.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Jaradah said that he had conveyed a message to Sheikh Zayed from Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, dealing with the admiration of the Palestinian people over Sheikh Zayed's continuous support for them at both political and economic levels.
He also said that he had held talks with Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed al Nahyan and a number of officials from Abu Dhabi Fund on the difficult political and economic circumstances being faced by the Palestinian people as a result of Israel's inhuman practices against them.
Jaradah pointed out that he reviewed with Sheikh Sultan, Zayed City project in Gaza, the establishment of which was earlier ordered by President Sheikh Zayed to provide housing units and other basic services to the Palestinians in the area.
"The project will also contribute to solving unemployment imposed via the starvation policy being pursued by the Israeli Government and establishing Arab residential units on the territories to encounter Israel's expansionist policy," he asserted. Jaradah said that he briefed Sheikh Sultan on the City's designs, adding that the implementation of the project would start on June 15.
The Palestinian official said that he asked Sheikh Sultan to transfer the project's initial installment of US $35.0 million to the concerned bodies in Palestine to establish the 3,600-apartment project, to be built on an area of 400 donums at a total cost of $160.0 million. The project would include all necessary services, including schools, hospitals, sports facilities, police and civil defence centres as well as advanced infrastructure.
"We felt Sheikh Sultan's true feelings and firm stands towards the just cause of the Palestinian people during the meeting. Sheikh Sultan also reaffirmed the UAE's firm support for the Palestinian people in order to find a just and comprehensive settlement for the problem and to restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish their own independent state on the national soil of Palestine," he added.
Jaradah said that he had given a detailed account on investment opportunities in Palestine and discussed with him the need for increasing trade between the Palestinian National Authority and the UAE and the issue of marketing Palestinian agricultural products in the UAE market.
Commenting on his visit to the UAE, the Palestinian official said that it was part of the tour of a number of countries which would also take him to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Jaradah described the economic situation in the areas of the Palestinian self-rule authority as "difficult" due to the Israel's closure of the Palestinian areas which is considered as great obstacles towards Palestinians, economic growth.
He pointed out that Israel's border closure policy led to losses reaching $2.7 billion during the last three years or an average losses ranging from $ 6.0 million to $ 7.0 million per day. The Palestinian official also urged the Palestinian investors and businessmen to play a key role in bolstering the country's economy as it constitutes a basic step towards achieving political independence.
Jaradah pointed out the Palestinian Authority had completed preparations for a law on investment and capital protection in order to encourage and attract Arab and foreign investors to establish joint ventures with the relevant bodies in the Palestinian self-rule areas. He said that the law exempts investors from taxes during a period of five years and gives them the right to transfer their profits without restrictions. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)
SPECIAL FEATURE: Last week saw some remarkable archaeological discoveries being made in the UAE and following are the main stories. Increasingly, it is becoming apparent that the area has had a richer and more fascinating past than it has ever been possible to fully appreciate.
OLDEST HOUSED IN UAE DISCOVERED: POSSIBLY 6,000 YEARS OLD
Results were revealed last week of a short season of archaeological excavations on the island of Dalma which have uncovered what are believed to be the oldest houses ever found in the Emirates. The work was undertaken by Dr. Joseph Elders and Mark Beech of the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey, ADIAS.
ADIAS was established in 1992 on the instructions of President HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan and operates under the patronage of Chief of Staff Lt.-General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan. It is charged with surveying for, and where appropriate, excavating archaeological sites on Abu Dhabi's coast and islands.
The Dalma site was first identified in 1992, and had previously yielded evidence of human occupation dating back to the Late Stone Age. It lies in the compound of the local branch of the Abu Dhabi Women's Association. A short season of work by ADIAS has revealed traces of houses from the Late Stone Age.
The presence of imported 'Ubaid pottery from Mesopotamia and flint tools suggested that the houses date back to over 6,000 years Before Present, BP, the first time that houses dating to this period have been identified in the Emirates. On the basis of present information, therefore, Dalma was the site of the oldest village yet found in the UAE.
At least one round house, 7.0 metres in diameter, was identified. The cobbled floor and traces of the wooden posts which supported the walls and roof could be clearly identified. The quality of the construction suggested that their inhabitants may have lived on Dalma for most of the year, rather than just being occasional visitors, the first evidence of permanent Late Stone Age settlement in the Emirates.
Since by that time Dalma was already an island, this pottery is also the earliest evidence yet discovered of maritime trade in the Emirates. A large amount of sherds from broken cooking and storage vessels was found in and around the house, including a small amount of fine quality imported pottery from the 'Ubaid civilisation in southern Mesopotamia.
The greater part of the sherds found during the excavations consisted, however, of 'white wares.' These were locally-produced pots made of plaster (gypsum), with simple black-stripe decoration, copying designs of the 'Ubaid originals from Mesopotamia, but using locally-available material.
These are the earliest vessels known to have been made in the Emirates, and have no known parallels anywhere else in the Gulf. Stone tools found included knives, drills, scrapers, chisels and arrowheads. A large number of waste flint flakes were also found, indicating that the tools were made by the inhabitants of the settlement.
Other finds included a number of beads and stone disks, some of which were perforated, suggesting that they might have been used as fishing net or loom weights. The greatest number of finds consisted of the refuse of food consumed by the occupants of the settlement.
Evidence in the form of bones and shells indicated that fishing, the gathering of shellfish and hunting, as well as animal husbandry, formed the basis for the economy of the early inhabitants of Dalma. Fish provided the bulk of the diet. Important species included the grouper (hamour), needlefish, seabreams and tuna. Sharks and rays were also regularly consumed, some being very large.
Work being carried out by Mark Beech as part of his doctoral thesis at the University of York in the UK, and with the support of The British Council, suggests that some of the hamour were up to a metre in length, suggesting a surprising degree of sophistication in fishing techniques.
Other marine resources which were exploited included sea urchins, crabs, marine turtle, dolphin and dugong. Gazelle and Socotra Cormorant also appear to have been occasionally exploited, while a small quantity of bones from domesticated sheep and goat were also recovered from the site. Large amounts of shells, representing refuse from the consumption of shellfish, were also found. These consisted mostly of pearl oysters, turban shells and clams.
The Dalma excavations, which were carried out this year with special support from Minister of Information and Culture Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, have revealed for the first time a detailed picture of life in Abu Dhabi around 6,000 years ago. Further studies will be carried out on the finds, while samples will be submitted for radiocarbon dating to try to establish a more exact date for the settlement.
This year's work shows that the Dalma site is one of the most important of its kind anywhere in Eastern Arabia, as well as in the Emirates. Much more work remains to be done. The whole site covers an area of at least 100 metres by 80 metres, and it will take several years to excavate it fully and to study the remains. (The Emirates News)
Excavation of the largest circular tomb yet discovered from the Umm al Nar civilisation, over 4,000 years ago, has been completed by the Ras al Khaimah Department of Antiquities and Museums, it has been announced. Among major finds was the discovery of the burial of a woman with a dog by her head, rare evidence of the possible keeping of pets in the Third Millennium BC.
The tomb, at Shimal, a few kilometres north of Ras al Khaimah town, is around 14.5 metres in diameter, the largest of its type so far known. The Umm al Nar civilisation, named after the archaeological site on the island of the same name close to Abu Dhabi, extended throughout the whole of South Eastern Arabia, covering the Musandam Peninsula, the UAE and stretching several hundred kilometres deep into neighbouring Oman.
The tomb was first discovered during road building work at the end of 1996, and a first season of excavations took place in early 1997. A short campaign of further work by a team of four archaeologists and anthropologists from Britain and Australia earlier this year completed excavation of the tomb, according to Christian Velde, the Resident Archaeologist at the National Museum of Ras al Khaimah, who directed the work.
According to Velde, evidence from pottery and other finds in the tomb suggest that it can be dated to around 2,200 BC, and may have been in use for around a hundred years. "The circular structure, built with great accuracy, was faced on the outside with fine cut and smoothed limestone blocks, showing the skills of ancient Emirati craftsmen," Velde said.
"It reflects a mastery of building technology and mathematics." Today, the tomb survives only to the height of one or two courses of stone, but it would originally have been up to three metres in height, Velde says.
"The excavation has revealed important information that has permitted a better understanding of the burial rituals of the inhabitants," he adds. "It seems that the people were first buried on the floor of the chambers until there was no space left. At that point the remains appear to have been taken out and cremated.
There is evidence for an upper storey in the tomb, where the cremated bones were then deposited, while the floor of the chambers were reused for new burials. This would have permitted the tomb to be used for a lengthy period, perhaps for more than 100 years," Velde suggests.
The excavations uncovered a complex arrangement of the interior of the tomb, which was divided into twelve individual compartments, forming three separate units, which Velde believes may have been used by three different families.
Preliminary estimates based upon the human skeletal material recovered during the excavations suggest that over 300 individuals may have been buried in the tomb. Although it had been extensively robbed in antiquity, several of the burials were still intact.
These indicated that the people had been buried together with pottery vessels and personal jewellery, mostly consisting of beads. The pottery included vessels and fragments of vessels imported from Mesopotamia, Bahrain, Iran and the Indus valley, indicative of extensive maritime trade connections.
Archaeologists believe that the Umm al Nar civilisation owed its international links and its evident sophistication and relative wealth to the export of copper from the Hajar Mountains to Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. The local copper industry appears to have begun in the late Fourth Millennium BC, over 5,000 years ago, and continued until the Sixteenth or Seventeenth Century AD, but was at a height during the Umm al Nar period.
Of particular interest during the excavation was the discovery of an intact skeleton of a woman with, just above her head, the skeleton of a dog, perhaps that of a pet. Excavations elsewhere in the Arabian Gulf, in Bahrain for example, have found evidence suggesting that the people of the Third Millennium BC may have kept pet animals, but the Shimal find is, as far as is known, the first such evidence to be recovered in the Emirates.
Another tomb from the Umm Al Nar period was excavated in the Shimal area several years ago, while surveys have also found evidence suggesting that there may be other sites from the period nearby. These will be subjected to further examination in future seasons. There is also extensive evidence in the Shimal area of occupation during the Second Millennium BC, and Velde believes that Shimal is "one of the most important areas of archaeological interest in the UAE."
The excavations were undertaken on the instructions of Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr al Qassimi, Deputy Ruler of Ras al Khaimah and Director of the Department of Antiquities and Museums and were sponsored by Serco IAL Limited. (Emirates News)
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