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Israel is Looking into whether Biden Administration Broke International Law by Transporting Item to West Bank

The Biden administration’s sending of a priceless artifact to Palestinian officials the previous month has sparked an inquiry by the Israeli government to see if it broke any international laws, along with the Oslo Accords.

A 2,700-year-old spoon was delivered by the US to the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities on January 5, in what the US State Department’s Office of Palestinian Affairs called “the first incident of such recovery” by the United States to the Palestinians. This triggered an investigation.

The legality of the repatriation is “being evaluated by the archaeology staff officer with the legal counsel, that will examine all elements of the subject, such as the Oslo Accords that the U.S. has signed,” according to the office of Israel’s Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu.

What effect, if there is any, an examination by the ministry’s legal counsel might have been not necessarily evident. Israel’s ability to seize the artifact is questionable, but it may implement legislation impacting upcoming repatriations.

The artifact, an ivory incense spoon, is thought to be unlawfully removed from the West Bank and was ultimately bought by billionaire hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt in New York.

It was among 180 artifacts that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office took in late 2021 as a condition of a settlement with Steinhardt to prevent prosecution.

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