Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The BBC and the First Temple

If you go here, you can read this which was published in September 2014, the transcript of a program on Questions and answers about the discovery of King Solomon's Tablet of Stone:

What evidence is there that the Temple of Solomon existed?

The only evidence is the Bible. There are no other records describing it, and to date there has been no archaeological evidence of the Temple at all. What's more, other archaeological sites associated with King Solomon - palaces, fortresses and walled cities that seemed to match places and cities from the Bible - are also now in doubt.

There is a growing sense among scholars that most of these archaeological sites are actually later than previously believed. Some now believe there may be little or no archaeological evidence of King Solomon's time at all, and doubt that he ruled the vast empire which is described in the Bible.


From 2005:

A First-Temple period seal has been discovered amidst piles of rubble from Jerusalem's Temple Mount, an Israeli archaeologist said Tuesday, in what could prove to be an historic find.The small - less than 1 cm - seal impression, or bulla, discovered Tuesday by Bar-Ilan University archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay amidst piles of rubble from the Temple Mount would mark the first time that an written artifact was found from the Temple Mount dating back to the First Temple period.The 2,600 year old artifact, with three lines in ancient Hebrew, was discovered amidst piles of rubble discarded by the Islamic Wakf...The seal, which predates the destruction of the First Jewish temple in 586 BCE, was presented Tuesday night to the press at an archaeological conference

Time passes and

A rare 3,000-year-old seal, from the time of King David in the 10th century BCE, was recently discovered by a 10-year-old Russian volunteer at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount Sifting Project.  Dr. Gabriel Barkay, co-founder and director of the project – which sifts through thousands of tons of illegally removed earth from the contested holy site in 1999 by the Wakf religious trust to build a mosque – said that the finding is unprecedented.

“The seal is the first of its kind to be found in Jerusalem,” said Barkay, a world-renowned archaeologist and Israel Prize laureate, who has led the project for more than 10 years.

The dating of the seal corresponds to the historical period of the Jebusites and the conquest of Jerusalem by King David, as well as the construction of the Temple and the royal official compound by his son, King Solomon.”

“What makes this discovery particularly significant,” Barkay continued, “is that it originated from upon the Temple Mount itself.”

The find:

And coincidentally:

A rare amulet bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler Thutmose III, Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty who reigned from 1479 – 1425 BCE, was discovered at the Temple Mount Sifting Project located in Jerusalem’s Tzurim Valley National Park.

"Thutmose III was one of the most important pharaohs in Egypt's New Kingdom and is credited with establishing the Egyptian imperial province in Canaan, conducting 17 military campaigns to Canaan and Syria and defeating a coalition of Canaanite kings at the city of Megiddo in 1457 BCE," stated Dr. Gabriel Barkay, the co-founder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

"Thutmose III referred to himself as ‘the one who has subdued a thousand cities,’ and it is known that for more than 300 years, during the Late Bronze Age, Canaan and the city state of Jerusalem were under Egyptian dominion, likely explaining the presence of this amulet in Jerusalem."

BBC needs to update its archives.


Rainbow Coalition Murder Mystery

IB brought this to my attention:

When Rania—the only female Palestinian police detective in the northern West Bank, as well as a young mother in a rural community where many believe women should not have such a dangerous career—discovers the body of a foreign woman on the edge of her village, no one seems to want her look too deeply into what’s happened. But she finds an ally in Chloe—a gay, Jewish-American peace worker with a camera and a big attitude—and together, with the help of an annoying Israeli policeman, they work to solve the murder. As they do, secrets about war crimes and Israel’s thriving sex trafficking trade begin to surface—and Rania finds everything she holds dear in jeopardy. 

Fast-paced and intricately plotted, Murder Under The Bridge offers mystery lovers an intimate view of one of the most fraught political conflicts on the planet.

And more detail:

Called out to investigate an abandoned car, Rania discovers the body of a woman on the outskirts of her village, and it’s soon obvious the victim is neither Palestinian nor Israeli. Because of the delicate situation between the Israeli and Palestinian police forces, Rania must work alongside Benny Lazar, an Israeli police officer, who seems to have much different motives when it comes to solving the crime. They determine that the deceased was Nadya Kim, an Uzbek woman who worked as nanny of sorts for Israel’s deputy defense minister. Narrating alongside Rania is Chloe, an American peace activist who’s in Palestine to advocate for nonviolence resistance. Both she and Rania work, in their own ways, to protect the innocent from easy labels like terrorist—labels that Raphael dismantles and examines in this provocative novel.

I am going to guess that Kate is Jewish but that doesn't really matter.  Nor does it matter that I can't recall a bridge near Salfit.

This does, though:

Kate Raphael is a San Francisco Bay Area writer, feminist and queer activist and radio journalist, who makes her living as a law firm word processor. She lived in Palestine for eighteen months as a member of the International Women's Peace Service, documenting human rights abuses and accompanying Palestinians as they attempted to live normal lives under occupation. At the end of her time in Palestine, she was imprisoned for over a month by the Israeli authorities and eventually deported.

No mystery there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

No Boredom Today


John Warren Gorham, a physician and scion of an established Boston family, was appointed as the first official U.S. consul in Jerusalem in 1856, in recognition of his support of President Franklin Pierce. The most significant incident during his term of office was the attack on the small American colony of Mount Hope, near Jaffa. The consul rushed to the aid of the Americans there and attended to their needs. The rest of his stay in Jerusalem passed uneventfully. Overcome by boredom, he began drinking heavily, and was recalled in 1860 by President James Buchanan.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Let's Get the Name Correct

As reported:

The Palestinian National Council said in a press release that even after 47 years of the arson [the torching of Al-Aqsa by Australian Christian Dennis Rohan], Israel continues its attempts to change the face of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.  The council called on both Arab and Muslim organizations to support the people of Jerusalem and their steadfastness, especially in light of settlers increasing violations.
It called on UNESCO to implement its decision which adopts the Arabic and Muslim name for Al-Aqsa Mosque and reject the Israeli name

This report adds

Hussein accused Israel of trying to turn Jerusalem into its eternal capital and cleanse out any expression of Arab and Islamic culture from it. He stressed, “It is not just Al-Aqsa and its domes which reflect the Islamic nature of the city, but each floor of the holy city, every remnant of the city, and every centimeter attest to the fact that it is an Arab and Islamic city, whose roots lie deep in history and culture.”

The name of 'Temple Mount' is Biblical.  It is Hebrew.  Isaiah 2:2:

 וְהָלְכוּ עַמִּים רַבִּים, וְאָמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַעֲלֶה אֶל-הַר-יְה-וָה אֶל-בֵּית אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב, 

And it is Jewish, not 'Israeli'.

Next, they'll describe it as 'Zionist'. 


NGOs/UN Hinder Gaza Development

In a review of post-disengagement Gaza, 11 years on, we read this about the area which was under Israeli cultivation and which is now referred to by the local Arab residents as “the liberated areas” which they had been "deprived of":_

The pertinent question, however, is how Palestinians might take advantage of and invest in these liberated areas.  When traveling to the former Israeli settlements across the Gaza Strip, one sees largely untapped areas, save for a few residential projects carried out by international institutions, even though the Israeli withdrawal took place over a decade ago.

The Palestinian Land Authority (PLA) in the Gaza Strip is the government agency concerned with the lands. Amal Shimali, the head of the PLA's public relations and media office, told Al-Monitor, “The total of the liberated areas amounts to 5,000 dunums, where some international parties such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the United Nations Development Program implemented housing projects, in addition to other similar projects for Palestinians funded by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Qatar.”
...Political analyst Akram Atallah told Al-Monitor...the liberated areas revealed a lack of experience on the part of the Palestinians in terms of optimizing the use of available resources. 'These lands are certainly not for distribution as they belong to the future generation of Gazans and serve as a strategic reserve,” he said.
He added, “However, these lands ought to be cultivated appropriately, especially since Gaza’s food basket

...For his part, economist Moin Rajab blames the PLA for not being able to properly manage these lands.
“These liberated areas are ostensibly public lands...Gazans ought to be taking advantage of these landscapes...However, following the Israeli withdrawal, some random and hasty projects were set up,” Rajab said.
He added, “The [available] area of the lands is gradually decreasing given the ongoing projects such as private and charitable projects. Thus, it is imperative for the concerned authority to optimize its use as they not only belong to the current generation of Gazans, but also to future ones.”

A careful reading reveals international interference in Gaza's true needs.

Another "humanitarian" failure of these human rights agencies.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Temple Mount Count is 80,355

According to an item in the QPress Islamist news web site, affiliated to the Islamic Movement/North in Israel, "more than 80 thousand Jewsish settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa and desecrated it since 2009".

Their count is 

"80,355 settlers [who] stormed and desecrated the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the last eight years, of whom 66,174 were settlers, 10,747 were intelligence personnel and soldiers in military clothes being taken on tours or exploration rounds not to mention military incursions during the events of the attacks on Al-Aqsa".

The breakdown of the count of the number of "intruders" in the last eight years has been as follows: 

2009: 5931 
2010: 5950 
2011: 5792 
2012: 10831 
2013: 13293 
2014: 14952 
2015: 14064 
2016 (until August 20): 9542

More from the report:

...the Israeli occupation carried out about 50 basic excavations in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque...a total length of up to about 3,000 meters, most notably the western tunnel down the western wall of Al-Aqsa mosque (about 450 meters) long tunnel Silwan (about 700 meters)...102 synagogue surround the Al-Aqsa Mosque...and Jewish schools, mostly in the western side of it, and in different parts of the Old City in Jerusalem, the most famous "the Hurva" and synagogue "Ohel Isaac."

They also mention "massacres".

I wonder what the statistics of the Israel Police are.

And a clip from this morning.  I see 20 there.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Aldrovani's Temple Mount

The Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester is running a Research Seminar programme for 2016-17 which will take place on Thursdays at 4pm in A113 Samuel Alexander Building.  It is open to all (for free) and there is no need to book.

On November 10, Carlo Aldrovandi of Trinity College, Dublin will be speaking on the topic of

'Holy Space, Nationalism and Undivided Sovereignty: 
The Jewish and Islamist Struggle for the Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif'

He has written a book, Apocalyptic Movements in Contemporary Politics: Christian and Jewish Zionism which  presents 

an original analysis of Israeli Religious Zionism and US Christian Zionism by focusing on the messianic and millenarian drives that form the basis of their political mobilization towards a 'Jewish colonization' of the Occupied Territories.

I learned also that

The author clearly indicates that Christian Zionism, based on a virulently anti-Islamic agenda, is a major hurdle to peace not just in West Asia but globally, too. Indeed, some Christian Zionists even ardently wish (and work for) a final global war,

Back in January 2016, Aldrovani secured further funding from the Trinity College Dublin Arts and Social Sciences Benefactions Research Scheme. The grant will assist the preliminary stages of a new interdisciplinary project addressing the overlaps between religious, cultural and nationalist drives at the basis of the struggle for the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in the Old City of Jerusalem. The project's main goals are firstly to compare the Islamist and Jewish discourses that mobilize the claims to exclusive ownership of Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif; and secondly, to investigate alternative faith-related approaches which could be deployed to tackle that dispute and its impact on the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

If you plan on attending, I suggest you check my blog posts over the years on the subject.  To trust Aldrovani's perspective is something you do not want to do if you are interested in the historical truth and the actual reality of today.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Chronologically Mixed Up?

When I lead tours to archaeological sites, I admit that my chronology can get mixed up a bit.

You know, Iron Age, Bronze Age, and then all this:

Early Bronze Age I           (3300 BCE – 3000 BCE)
Early Bronze Age II
Early Bronze Age III
Early Bronze Age IV
Middle Bronze Age
Middle Bronze Age I
Middle Bronze Age II
Middle Bronze Age III
Late Bronze Age I
Late Bronze Age II A
Late Bronze Age II B
Iron Age I A
Iron Age I B
Iron Age II
Babylonian and Persian periods
Hellenistic period
Early Hellenistic
Late Hellenistic
Roman period
Early Roman
Late Roman          (132 CE – 324 CE)

I looked at this and thought, that's a purposeful mix-up:

The mission that has 18 members of Saudi and French scientists and experts in archeological excavation has discovered at the Yamamah site in Kharj many architectural antiquities of a huge mosque that existed in the early Islamic era in between first and fifth centuries hegira. 

Hegira was in the year 622 CE.

So, the above dating is, what, 7th-12th centuries?

Let's keep things in proportion.


Koestler as a Freak Oddity

In his "Promise and Fulfillment", Arthur Koestler, former Revisionist Zionist, former Communist and almost former Jew wrote:

The appearance of the freak-movement of Zionism on the political scene was bound to produce a series of freak-reactions. It culminated in the famous Balfour Declaration, one of the most mprobable political documents of all time. In this document one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third. 

Let's sort this out.

While the Balfour Declaration was a one-nation promise, it was discussed at the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference attended by many nations.  It was also the basis of the Weizmann-Faisal Agreement.

It was then adopted at the San Remo Conference in April 1920.  And in July 1922, 55 nations agreed to include the Declaration's text in their decision to award Great Britain the mandate over Palestine.

To compare nations, as if the Jewish history and connection to the Land of Israel is equal to that of a community of Arabs - and note: "Arabs" was never in those decisions, only "non-Jews", and for a very good reason -,  is insulting in addition to be totally in error.

The "country" was only that of the Arabs living in it by force of armed invasion, conquest and occupation and underwent the rule of Muslim Arabs (Ommayads, Abbasids, etc.), then Crusaders, then Mamelukes, then Ottomans.  Never did the Arabs establish a separate identifiable polity in the Land of Israel. 


Koestler is the oddity here.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Green, No, Red Solution

The solution, as per the Green Party Statement, is:

We recognize that international opinion has been committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet, we view the two-state solution as neither democratic nor viable in the face of international law, material conditions and "facts on the ground" that now exist in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Given this reality, we support a U.S. foreign policy that promotes the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital. We encourage a new U.S. diplomatic initiative to begin the long process of negotiation, laying the groundwork for such a single-state constitution.


I am not sure if that "green" is an environment group or an Islamic one.  It doesn't seem to be the Jill Stein vehicle.

No, wait, it seems yes to be.  And their platform includes this:

We recall that ending institutionalized racism (apartheid) in South Africa demanded an unusual, cooperative action by the entire international community in the form of a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid South Africa, and that BDS can become the most effective nonviolent means for achieving justice and genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and for the region, through concerted international pressure as applied to apartheid South Africa; and that Palestinian resistance to ongoing dispossession has mainly been nonviolent, including its most basic form – remaining in their homes, on their land; and that while Palestinian armed resistance is legitimate under international law when directed at non-civilian targets, we believe that only nonviolent resistance will maintain the humanity of Palestinian society, elicit the greatest solidarity from others, and maximize the chance for future reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. However, we also recognize that our appeal to Palestinians to continue to resist nonviolently in the face of ongoing existential threats from Israel is hypocritical unless accompanied by substantial acts of international support