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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The strange case of the Gaza Apollo statue (update)

Repubblica reports on a remarkable find made last month by a Gaza fisherman named Mounir. Caught in his fishing net was a life-size, gold colored statue of Apollo, that had been buried in the sand for some 2500 years.

His first concern was whether it was made out of pure gold that he could sell. Since one cannot secretly  carry around a huge statue in Gaza,  Mounir did the next best thing:  he cut off the statue's finger, to be able to show it to experts to see what it was made out of.

Unfortunately for Mounir, it was bronze.

This is Gaza, however, and Hamas security is everywhere. Within hours of his showing the severed finger to dealers, he was arrested and the statue was seized.

But now Hamas has a dilemma.

Islam forbids making a human form in a statue. Worse yet, Apollo is not wearing clothing.

The article implies that Hamas has sold antiquities to the black market in the past. This statue would be worth a fortune, and Hamas is in bad financial shape now. The statue could make a dent in Hamas' budget.

According to the article, Hamas is now negotiating with black market dealers, and the statue could fetch as much as $20-40 million.

Even without the finger.

(h/t DM)

UPDATE: See here.