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Qatari Foundation Intervenes in Museum Artifacts Dispute in Jerusalem

Islamic artefacts that were expected to be sold by Sotheby’s auction house in London last October.
Sotheby's via Twitter

The collection of rare objects of the Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem appeared at the auction of Sotheby's in October 2019. However, due to numerous violations of the sale procedure, the transaction was suspended. A solution to the  situation was proposed by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Social Development, owned by the ruling Al Thani family: this organization will pay the auction house compensation for losses due to the cancellation of the transaction and then the items will be returned from London to the Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem.

268 rare objects were put up for sale at the initiative of one of the Museum's sponsors to continue and support the institution's activities. But in the process of transferring the exhibits, the Ministry of Culture, Israel Antiquities Authority, the Museum, the sponsorship fund, and the auction house were convicted of violations of the law on museums and historical artifacts. The Israeli Supreme Court has suspended the deal and the Qatari foundation has proposed a solution to the protracted dispute—to pay compensation to Sotheby's and keep the collection in Jerusalem.

Exhibits accounted for five percent of the collection of the entire Museum, among the objects on display were manuscripts, carpets, music boxes, and clocks. According to various estimates, the sale of these works could bring the Museum of Islamic Art from 4.13 to 6.1 million dollars.