Monday, October 23, 2017

BICOM Redefines the Balfour Declaration

James Sorene, CEO at the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (Bicom), penned an op-ed on the Balfour Declaration published in The Telegraph.  I quickly tweeted a reaction and now, I enlarge my thoughts.

As the Jewish Chronicle informed us last year, "eyebrows were raised when James Sorene was appointed as chief executive of research group Bicom" as he was a key adviser to Nick Clegg during the former Liberal Democrat leader's time as Deputy Prime Minister, a time of a not very delightful relationship of that party with the Jewish community.  One excuse offered was that as "Clegg's official spokesman and communications director, he was a senior civil servant, completely detached from party politics." 

Sorry, but that is, and I know from personal experience, well, let's just say an exaggerated untruth.

He seems to have started his career in public affairs at the Israeli embassy in London.  So how did he arrive at the content he published?  Or should I actually write 'it's no wonder he wrote what he wrote'?

I don't criticise necessarily his personal political outlook.  My experience in London taught me that.  I am disappointed simple historical narratives are either insufficient or a bit twisted.

For example, Exhibit One:

Britain was now in control of vast territories, including Egypt, Palestine and another new creation – Iraq. In addition, Britain offered the Arabs independence in return for fighting the Ottomans, but they also promised the Zionists a Jewish home in Palestine.

In which countries was that independence promised?  Not in Palestine.  That country was to be for the Jews.  In it, Jews were to be the primary national grouping whereas others, defined simply as "non-Jews", and "Arabs" were not specifically mentioned in this context - not in Balfour, nor San Remo nor the Mandate.  A country, until July 1922, that included all of Transjordan, a country whose boundaries to the east were quite unclear at the time which is why Article 25 of the Mandate reads

In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined

In fact, the Arabs residing in the area that became Palestine demanded reunion with a Greater Syria as they considered themselves then, and for many years afterward, to be Southern Syrians.

Exhibit Two:

Winston Churchill, the colonial secretary, told Arab leaders the declaration was “manifestly right”, while assuring them the Jewish national home wouldn’t be created in all of Palestine, but without suggesting where it would be.

That, of course, is referring to the 1922 White Paper, formulated basically by Herbert Samuel, once a maximalist and now, a High Commissioner.  But to be correct, that policy statement was forthcoming because in April 1920, May 1921 and November 1921 Arabs rioted and killed Jews.  British policy didn't alter do to a reassessment of Zionism's value but the British were fearful.  And cowardly.  Samuel 'helped' matters by appointing Haj Amin al-Husseini as the Mufti.  

That White Paper baldly reinterpreted the Balfour Declaration with hindsight born of fear and from quite some pressure from anti-Semitic British officials in Jerusalem and stated:

the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded `in Palestine.' 

And let us not forget that Churchill already in March 1921 awarded a Saudi Arabian, who first came to Transjordan in November 1920 to assist his brother regain a throne in Damascus, that land mass as an emirate and later, a kingdom.

The White Paper, as an example, quotes a 1921 Zionist Congress resolution in its favor but in 1923, the Zionist Congress bemoaned the loss of Transjordan which the delegates viewed as
"one historical, geographic and economic unit" and "in accordance with the legitimate demands of the Jewish people", the Congress expected that an expression of such will be achieved in Transjordan and eventually it will be carried out.

Exhibit Three:

Balfour’s declaration had great moral purpose, but was implemented without clarity, vision or the necessary resources. The sad truth is that British rule amounted to conflict management, when its focus should have been to design a two-state solution from the beginning.

But there was, from the beginning, however unfortunate I think that "solution", a two-state solution: Jewish Palestine and an Arab Palestine.  Should there now be a three-state solution? Two Arab countries in historic Palestine and one Jewish one? Two Arab states with no Jews and one Jewish state with, at present, almost 20% Arabs?  Is that a moral political policy? Is that visionary? 

I also would suggest there was much clarity of purpose and intent, and it was to minimize Jewish national aspirations and accomplishments.  It was to limit land purchases.  It was to prevent millions of Jews escaping Hitler's clutches in Europe.  It was to to coddle the most racist and vicious terror master that was the Mufti.  It was to establish a discriminatory status quo at Jewish religious sites.  It was to accept separate seating of the Arab and Zionist delegations, on two separate floors, at the St. James Conference in early 1939.  It was to thwart the 1938 Evian Conference.

The Palestinian Authority's dictator, now in his eleventh year since his election, demands Britain apologize for the Balfour Declaration.  As many have noted, Great Britain should apologize for not fulfilling the Balfour Declaration.

Some of the above could have been included in Sorene's piece for after all, BICOM's aim is 

to increase understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK. We believe in the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security"

even as it believes in 

the right of the Palestinians to an independent state brought about through a negotiated agreement. 

That aim does include beclouding historical truths.

More Graphic Zionism Posters


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Danger: Olive-Picking Season

The explanation to this picture follows

It is now olive harvesting season and you have been reading, as you do every year, of attacks by Jews against the harvesters, or against the trees or the harvested crop. Some of the news is true. Some not. Some substantiated, some exaggerated, some made up. The Palestinian Authority has one man in charge of disseminating the "news", Ghassan Daghlas who "monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank".

He once was the source for the claim that settlers "burned over 300 cars".

As it is, it surely is dangerous during olive harvesting season.

In more ways than one.

For example, on Friday, I had to be at Ariel's Eshel HaShomron Hotel to address a group and passing along on Highway 60, I noticed many cars parked at the side of the road.  Many were even still on the paved section, being a traffic interference (see circled vehicle).

They belonged to olive harvesters.  Arabs harvesters.

I managed to snap the above photograph to illustrate the danger posed.

And you'll notice also the car in front.  PA license plates, i.e., no "apartheid roads".


Why 'West Bank'?

I would wish to ask acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his deputy, Tzipi Hotovely why, in the lead-in introduction to the Ministry's web site section on the 1949 Jordan-Israel Armistice Agreement, the tern "West Bank" is used:

Besides the fact that the names of that geographical area are Judea and Samaria, the term "West Bank" was first used in April 1950 when Jordan illegally annexed that region.

Can I have an answer?

Or better, a change of language?


Friday, October 20, 2017

Tweeting to UK UN Depty Ambassador Allen

Jonathan Allen is Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN of the United Kingdom and at a recent Security Council meeting said
I would like to make clear, as we approach the centenary of the Balfour Declaration next month, that the UK understands and respects the sensitivities many have about the Declaration and the events that have taken place in the region since 1917.
The UK is proud to have played a role in helping to make a Jewish homeland a reality. And we continue to support the principle of such a homeland and the modern state of Israel.
Just as we fully support the modern state of Israel as a Jewish homeland, we also fully support the objective of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. The occupation is a continued impediment to securing the political rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. And let us remember, there are two halves of Balfour, the second half of which has not been fulfilled. There is therefore unfinished business.

He is in error.

But after speaking in the forum, he tweeted that underlined section and then retweeted it

This is what I sent to him:

It really is, my man, quite at matter of simple historical facts.

You are reading into the text things that are not in it, or intended to be.  The Arabs of the area were to gain at least three national states, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq*, and the area known as Palestine was to be the Jewish state.  The one Jewish state.

And in any case, as Jonathan Hoffman tweeted,

Oh rubbish. The 'civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in [former] Palestine' are completely protected.



I wrote "at least three" Arab states were to be created when the Jews were to get their one state.

As a comment makes clear, "The Arabs of the area gained four states: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and most notably, Jordan."

Since, originally, the area of Jordan was within the territory of Palestine, I added "at least", since time-wise, three Arab states were to be created and the area that was to become Jordan was defined so in the League's decision:

ART. 25.
In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions, and to make such provision for the administration of the territories as he may consider suitable to those conditions, provided that no action shall be taken which is inconsistent with the provisions of Articles 15, 16 and 18.

From SF:

Maybe all he meant was that the rights of Jews in other countries have been prejudiced by antisemitic reaction to the existence of Israel.


There Really Are Jews Like This

“To me a Jewish Israeli militarist ultra-nationalist – which is what they are – is like a German ultra-nationalist,” he says. “A right-wing general, Jew or not, is a right-wing general.”“When I hear Jewish state, I hear Aryan state,” he says, making a juxtaposition many would find difficult to stomach.

That was from the mouth of Jacques Bude, an odious Jew.  Professor of Social Psychology at ULB, Université libre de Bruxelles.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Boats Sink; People Drown

Just received:

Ref: 78/2017
Date: 18 October 2017
Time: 11:30 GMT             

Israeli Naval Forces Destroy and Drown Palestinian Fishing Boat off Beir Lahia Shore

Israeli gunboats fired shells at a Palestinian fishing boat sailing within 2.5 nautical miles.  As a result, the boat was destroyed and drowned in the Sea.  The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) monitored that Israeli forces have escalated their attacks against Palestinian fishermen despite expanding the allowed fishing area from 6 to 9 nautical miles.  This proves that Israel continues its policy of targeting fishermen and their livelihoods.

As we all know, people drown and boats sink.

So, the question is;

did the copywriter make a simple English-language mistake?

or, did he/she purposefully utilize a verb which would make you think that a human being drowned?

Adopting Fashion Terminology Adeptly

I caught this wording in a celeb section of a publication:

"The...actress looked edgy as she stepped out in an all-black ensemble...[she] wore a intricate dress that featured a cape top with a fringe bottom."

For those familiar with Hebrew, the word for 'extreme' is kitzoni (קיצוני) and it originates with the word for edge, k'tzeh (קצה).

My positions are described by ideological opposites as "extreme".  But in Israel, only someone on the right, or more properly, of the nationalist camp, is extreme.  Left-wingers or progressives or such are never described in the media as "extreme".

Of course, looking at her dress, since many of the more rambunctious youth are adorned with rather longish tzitziyot, ritual fringes, perhaps "fringe group" can also take on a new meaning.

So, in any case, from now on, just call me edgy?


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Hypocrisy of Jeremy Ben-Ami

In a CBS report on this week's Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem, I found this quote:

"We really truly stand with Israel, and we really truly want to be dear friends," he [Gordon Robertson, chief executive of the Christian Broadcasting Network] said.
Not everyone agrees. Jeremy Ben Ami, president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group in Washington that is often critical of the Israeli government, said the evangelicals do not necessarily have Israel's best interests in mind. "Israel should be wary of embracing extreme Christian Zionist groups that may be more concerned with their own theological agendas than with Israel's long-term survival as a secure, democratic homeland for the Jewish people," he said.

I'm still laughing.

If anyone is concerned over his own agenda and does not have Israel's vital interests in mind or heart, if there is anyone who is more committed to a foreign ideology rather than Jewish nationalism, if there is anyone that is serving a tenet (progressivism) and a person (Barack Obama) more than Israel and Zionism, it is Jeremy Ben-Ami.

J Street has taken many wrong turns.  Most of them not pro-Israel.

His observation in this matter is purely hypocritical and in error.


No Fair Play There

I recently saw an exchange in England's parliament on "demolitions, settlement expansion and land appropriation in the west bank."

I hastened to write to an MP so:

I caught your parliamentary question of 17 October on the situation in Palestine/West Bank/Judea and Samaria.
May I extend to you an invitation to visit a Jewish community in the area next time you are in the area?
I hope you would agree that listening to both sides, at the least, provides one with information and perspective that increases understanding of any issue.

In the automatic reply I received, I spied this:

Parliamentary protocol dictates that I can only assist residents of Sunderland Central with constituency related enquiries.

So, an MP can interfere in my part of the globe, way away from England, while I, who am affected by the views and actions the MP holds and takes, may not be allowed communication that would assist me?

Not very British fair play, I'd say.

But, perhaps, if I am not assisted, communication is possible?


Monday, October 16, 2017

Are You Prepared For November 29th?

On November 29th, 1947, the Arab residents of the Palestine Mandate rejected the vote at the United Nations to create an Arab State within the territory originally to become the Jewish National Home.

They not only refused a generous offer, but they immediately engaged in violence.

Here is from the House of Commons session in London on December 3, 1947:

§Mr. Manningham-Buller (by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make a statement with regard to the grave events reported in Palestine.

§The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Creech Jones) I have not received complete reports yet on recent events in Palestine, but the High Commissioner has already briefly reported incidents on 2nd December, when Arab demonstrations 390 took place in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth, Ramle, Acre, Tiberias, Beisan and Tarshiha. These disturbances, the High Commissioner informs me, were sporadic and unorganised. In Jerusalem there was mob violence directed against Jews and Jewish property. A number of shops were looted, and there were several cases of arson. Shots were fired by Jews, and possibly also by Arabs, though the latter is not certain. Hagana has been out on the streets in force, and has generally done its best to restrain the Jews from reprisals. Casualties reported are, two Jews seriously wounded, one Jew and four Arabs injured, and one Jewish and two British police injured. A number of Jews with arms were arrested during the day, two of whom had been sniping.

In Haifa, two Jews were injured by Arabs, neither seriously. In Jaffa, Arabs attacked Jewish shops, and police were compelled to make a baton charge. One British policeman was slightly injured. In Lydda, two Jewish clinics were sacked by Arabs. There were a number of cases of Arabs holding up and stoning Jewish transport in the Lydda district. These incidents resulted in one Jew being fatally injured, one Jew seriously injured, and one Jew slightly injured. A fourth Jew was injured when a bus was fired on near Ramle. Among other incidents reported was one near Roshpina, where a car containing Jewish Supplementary Police was held up and stoned by Arabs. Jews fired warning shots and escaped injury. Subsequently, an Arab was found dead in the vicinity, and an injured Jew named as his assailant was found in a nearby colony. He claimed to have been beaten by Arabs. I should add that the Palestine Government is responsible for the maintenance of law and order until the Mandate is finally surrendered, and will continue to take all possible steps to preserve order and to prevent such tragic and unhappy conflicts. The Arab leaders in Palestine are fully informed of this.

Here is from the front page of the Palestine Post's December 3 edition:



Moyne Not An Anti-Zionist?

I hope to read an academic article soon. The subject is the fall-out from the Lechi assassination of Edward Guiness.  It is "Politics and Ideology: Lord Moyne, Palestine and Zionism 1939–1944" by Ronen Yitzhak published in Britain and the World, Aug 2017, vo. 10, No. 2 : pp. 155-169.  It is not his first treatment of the subject.

From the abstract it claims it
refutes the claim that Lord Moyne was anti-Zionist in his political orientation and in his activities and shows that his positions did not differ from those of other British senior officials at the time. His attitude toward Jewish immigration to Palestine and toward the establishment of a Jewish Brigade during the Second World War was indeed negative. This was not due to anti-Zionist policy, however, but to British strategy that supported the White Paper of 1939 and moved closer to the Arabs during the War.

So, in other words, Moyne wasn't that bad, he just went along with anti-Zionism because...?

Because why?

Lord Moyne displayed apolitically pragmatic approach and remained loyal to Prime Minister Churchill. He therefore supported the establishment of a Jewish Brigade and the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine in the secret committee that Churchill set up in 1944. Unaware of his new positions, the Zionists assassinated him in November 1944. The murder of Lord Moyne affected Churchill, leading him to reject the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.

I wonder, if I injure someone because I am loyal, say, to my friend, am I liable for the consequences? Does this not apply to Moyne?

Are not politicians to be moral and independent thinkers?

But am I to think that the 1939 White Paper of 1939 which fundamentally altered the idea of a reconstituted Jewish homeland, and actually negated it completely, and moving closer to the Arabs during the War are not deep anti-Zionist elements rather than simply "policy"?  A politician would have to be anti-Zionist to adapt to those positions.

That later Churchill sought to alter them, however inadequately - and let us not forget the four-year delay in establishing the Jewish Brigade, not to mention the refusal to bomb the railways to Auschwitz or the camp itself, horrific anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish decisions - should not lessen Moyne's own personal proclivities which some think anti-Semitic.  In his first article cited above, Ronen claims

Lord Moyne was not anti-Semitic, and he did not support Zionism. 

Yitzchak Shamir, one of the Lechi commanders who ordered the assassination continued to believe until his last lucid days that Moyne was anti-Semitic, although that did not intrinsically affect the decision to kill him.  And in that interview, Joanna Saidel writes

British Foreign Office documents confirm that a plan for partition was set for proposal. It is questionable whether the plan would have been accepted. According to Eban the motives for the plan were pro-Arab but would, nonetheless, serve the Jewish cause. Winston Churchill’s November 4, 1944 memorandum to Chaim Weizmann noted that Moyne had come over to the Zionist cause, albeit for pro-Arab motives...As unclear as the plan was there is no doubt that Moyne’s motivation was not to further the Jewish plan for statehood. Even Eban agreed, telling me: “He (Moyne) did this for Arab reasons. In other words, he said that unless the British were able to stop immigration, which they were not able to do, then the only way to save anything for the Arabs was by seeing that some part of Palestine was reserved for them. So he reached what I would call a Jewish State solution for anti-Jewish reasons, namely that otherwise the Jews would take over the whole of the country, and, therefore, partition was a sort of defense of the Arab position.”

Here is from Moyne's speech on June 9, 1942:

If a comparison is to be made with the Nazis it is surely those who wish to force an imported régime upon the Arab population who are guilty of the spirit of aggression and domination. Lord Wedgwood's proposal that Arabs should be subjugated by force to a Jewish régime is inconsistent with the Atlantic Charter, and that ought to be told to America. The second principle of that Charter lays down that the United States and ourselves desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned; and the third principle lays down that they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government under which they will live.

Surely it is time for the Zionists to abandon this appeal to force, and to seek a settlement with the Arabs by consent. The Zionist leaders expect about 7,000,000 Jews to be surviving in Eastern Europe at the end of the war, and they reject the policy of re-establishing Jewish communities under civilized conditions in Europe... I hope the Government will give serious consideration to the possibility of negotiations with the neighbouring States of the Levant to take part in re-settling the Jews. It is obvious that the fear of political domination by immigrant Jews will be decreased if they can be spread over a wider area and shared among different Administrations. A Federation of the Northern Arab States might well assist such a solution, but federation may be long in coming, and we ought at once to discuss with the Governments concerned to what extent and under what conditions they could admit Jewish immigration without swamping their own nationalities and independence.

Did Moyne compare Zionism to Nazism in there?  

If a comparison is to be made with the Nazis...those who wish to force an imported régime upon the Arab population who are guilty of the spirit of aggression and domination

By the way, Lord Josiah Wedgewood had little compunction when describing the Mandate Administration and its supporters as being anti-Semitic:
My Lords, before I begin to lose your sympathy I should like to say a that we are discussing a question which relates to Palestine.I think that the whole gist of the speech of my noble friend Lord Davies points to one self-evident truth, which is that the Administration in Palestine is Anti-Semitic. I think that all our troubles in connexion with that country have come from this constant Anti-Semitic bias of the Palestine Administration. The evidence of that Anti-Semitism has been given in the speech of my noble friend, and, in addition to the things which he mentioned, I should like to refer to certain other facts. I will quote as evidence the toleration shown by the Administration to the Arab side in the riots of four years ago, and the escape of El Fawzi and the Mufti from that country when the riots were suppressed and their capture could have been effected. Then there was the question of the imprisonment of those Jews who dared to drill. They attempted to drill with the rifles that had been issued to them. It was against the law. They were all sent to prison, with sentences which range up to seven years' imprisonment for merely drilling in order to learn how to defend themselves. Some of them are still in prison. That, I think, is evidence of Anti-Semitism.

Can't wait to read it.


Islam, Armed Struggle and the Fatah

Just simply informative:

Islam and the Armed Struggle, 1959-1968

Ido Zelkovitz

In recent years, Islam has played an increasingly important role in the discourse of the Fatah movement. This phenomenon is not a new one but rather one that has historical roots. This article explores the Islamic background of the Fatah founding fathers and suggests that the appreciation of their social background and their early military and political experience is crucial to the understanding of later developments in the movement. The article also analyzes the adoption of the armed struggle ideology and its connection to Islam as a means for strengthening public support in Fatah.

From the moment it was established, the "armed struggle" was at the heart of the movement's ideology. The objective of that strategy was to mobilize the masses for the revolution that was to "bring them back to the lost paradise" of pre-1948 Palestine as was often written in the movement's scripts.

Fatah perceives the revolution as a key instrument for creating a new future for the Palestinian people. This is by no means a Marxist-style revolution that strives to eliminate the old socio-political order. Although the term revolution was constantly used, its full meaning remained undefined to the masses.

It should be noted that in the revolutionary discourse of the movement, Islam held and still holds great significance. According to current research about Fatah, the terms "revolution" and "armed struggle" have been used as synonyms. This makes it easier to place these terms in a wider linguistic context which can refer to both national and religious identities.

One could expect that some tension would exist between national and religious identities. However, the two can also coexist. Islam was utilized as an instrument for creating a system of symbols and images. This imagined system combined with the national struggle would fuse the Palestinian past and present, and pave the way to an ideal future. Fatah presents Islam as part of its national character. Religion, integrated as a sacred symbol into the national culture values, provides a tangible expression to the masses’ state of mind. It also provides a moral system that relates to the supreme political objective of liberation and the achievement of independence.


Khirbet Kulâsôn - Jewish Until 2nd Century


Eitan Klein & Boaz Zissu

Department of Land of Israel Studies and ArchaelogyBar-Ilan University

Khirbet Kulâsôn is an ancient site located in the southern desert fringe of Samaria, approximately 2 kilometers east of the Shiloh Valley and one kilometer northwest of the modern village El-Mughaiyir.

 Kulâsôn underlined in red

In early 2009, the authors conducted an archeological survey at the site on behalf of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, after great damage was caused to the site by development works, agricultural work, and systematic illegal excavations.

This article will present the results of the archaeological survey, concentrating on remains attesting to a Jewish settlement at the site in the latter part of the Second Temple period until the days of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt. Such remains include ritual baths and stone vessels which were used by the Jewish population in accordance with strict observance of purity laws, underground hiding complexes used at the time of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt and a rich repertoire of pottery from that period.

The site joins other sites in southeastern Samaria in which archaeological remains were found, indicating Jewish settlement from the latter part of the  Second Temple period. These sites belonged to the Jewish settlement which existed in the Toparchy of Acraba – the northern region, which was annexed to Judea during the Hasmonaean period and was inhabited by Jews until the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Findings from the exploration of Khirbet Kulâsôn are presented in the wider historical, geographical and archaeological framework. 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Conservation in Judea and Samaria, Too? --- UPDATED

I've just read this:

U.S. Consul General Launches Conservation Project at Solomon’s Pools in Bethlehem
Jerusalem – Consul General Donald Blome joined Palestinian officials and dignitaries to launch a major conservation project to protect and preserve the famous Solomon’s Pools archaeological site in Bethlehem. The USD $750,000 project consists of a $500,000 grant from the State Department’s Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) and a complementary $250,000 grant from Consulate General Jerusalem. Both projects will be implemented through a partnership with the Solomon’s Pools Preservation and Development Center (SPPD). The program will help protect this historic site, damaged in recent years by erosion, and support tourism and the Palestinian economy. The project includes a supporting conference and other events.
In his remarks, Consul General Donald Blome said, “This contribution from the U.S. government not only underscores America’s respect and admiration for Palestinian heritage and its treasured antiquities, but also the imperative of supporting the Palestinian economy as an essential element for peace.”...
The U.S. Government, through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, supports the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in more than 100 countries around the world. 

I don't think I need to be too verbose in my reaction.

First of all, thanks for conserving a Jewish engineering site.

The pools were part of a complex ancient water system, initially built between sometime around 100 BCE and ca. 30 CE.

...The growing water needs of the Jerusalem Temple and the pilgrims it attracted during the later part of the Second Temple period, led to efforts to create a conduit able to reach the relatively high top of the Temple Mount by gravity alone...The water system gradually created consisted of two aqueducts feeding the pools, which themselves acted as a collection and distribution facility, and of three further aqueducts carrying the water north to Jerusalem (two) and to Herodium (the third one). Together, the five aqueducts totalled some 80 kilometres in length.

...evidence suggests that the lower pool was probably constructed during the Hasmonean period, between mid-second and mid-first century BCE....A second phase occurred when Herod the Great, using Roman engineering and in connection with his rebuilding program of the Second Temple, created the sophisticated Wadi el-Byiar Aqueduct, which fed the upper pool...In a third phase, Roman prefect Pontius Pilate built 39 kilometres (24 mi) of aqueduct bringing yet more water to Solomon's Pools from the large collection pools at Arrub to the south.

Of course, there's always an alternative "fake archaeological facts" version:

"The pools were named for Ottoman Sultan Suleiman al-Kanuni [Suleiman the Magnificent], who renovated and expanded them," Palestinian archeologist Nour Taha told Anadolu Agency, in reference to the three ancient water cisterns in the village of Al-Kahder located some 5km south of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Ottoman sultan restored the pools in 1536 and extended the aqueducts that supplied the walled city of Jerusalem with water.

And this:

some Palestinians and others involved with the renovation of the poolsbelieve that the traces found through excavation in the last centuries point only as far back as the first century AD

Secondly, are you sure the area is actually a "country"?

In 1931 (view from the west and notice how densely populated the area):

Third, there are other sites that need US support in that region including Tel Shiloh, Tel Hebron, Herodian, Sebastia and others.  Just ask me.

Until then, is the US Consulate insistent in ignoring Jewish needs and rights?

As my friend EG wrote of Blome's words:
This statement is an acceptance of the UNESCO/Arab position. Jewish antiquities are renamed as "Palestinian heritage"



Jewish Press:

We wrote the following to some State Department officials here in Israel:

We'd like to receive a clarification from the State Department and the Embassy regarding the recent statement by the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem vis-a-vis Solomon's Pools.

In a statement Consul General Donald Blome said, "This contribution from the U.S. government not only underscores America's respect and admiration for Palestinian heritage and its treasured antiquities, but also the imperative of supporting the Palestinian economy as an essential element for peace."

We'd like the State Department to please clarify exactly how Solomon's Pools -- built by a Jewish king to service the Jewish Temple in the Jewish city of Jerusalem at a point in history approximately 2,000 years prior to Arab Palestinians -- could possibly be considered any part of a "Palestinian heritage."

Considering the recent withdrawal of the United States from UNESCO, due to the one-sided and historically inaccurate positions UNESCO has taken against Israel, will Consul Blome be offering a retraction and/or apology?

We received the following response:

Thank you for raising this to our attention.  The statement you cited had been included in an earlier version of remarks, but then removed after a discussion on the history of the site.  It was not delivered in remarks and should have been removed from the press release - it was left in due to a clerical error.

We are removing the press release from the website and will issue a corrected copy.  Thank you for flagging.

Best regards,

Clayton Alderman
U.S. Consulate General
Press Officer

وسينفذ هذا المشروع الذي يجمع ما بين القطاعين العام والخاص إصلاحات طارئة لجزء من الجدار والصهريج الذي انهار في العام الماضي. وسيقوم أيضا بإعادة تأهيل البركة للحد من مخاطر الانهيار في جدرانه ومنصاته. سيقوم المشروع بإصلاح وحماية القنوات وإنشاء مسارات المشي المخصصة وذلك لحماية العناصر الأثرية المحيطة وفي نفس الوقت سيسمح للزائرين بالتجوال في الموقع دون تعريضه لاي ضرر.
"This contribution from the US government not only confirms the American respect and admiration for the Palestinian heritage and its precious effects, but also the need to support the Palestinian economy as an essential element of peace," said US Consul General Donald Blum.


The Consul's office has now posted a new, corrected version in both English

We share the hope that this site can be a source of pride, hope, and discovery for people of every culture, religion, and background. Places of this sort of antiquity should stir and inspire all of us to come together and celebrate their beauty.”

and Arabic.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Haaretz's Interview Style

From the popular weekly column at the airport by Liat Elkayam as she interviews Christina Morente, 43, from Puebla, Mexico; arriving from Naples, Italy:

Hello, can I ask what you’ll be doing in Israel?

I am a devout Christian, and for me you are the Chosen People, and every time I land here my heart pounds – everything is super-wonderful.

Thank you, but you’re exaggerating.

Look how you’ve survived over the years, Am Israel hai! [The Jewish people lives!] I’ve been to 65 countries in my life, and Norway is my favorite among the normal countries. But Israel is not one of the normal countries. It’s supernatural.

We can agree on “not normal.”

The way to make friends for Israel.

How Many Real Palestine Refugees?

A "refugee from Palestine" is someone who could prove he/she was in the territory of the Palestine Mandate from two years prior to the 1948 war:
Palestine refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” 
Now, consider this:
Jerusalem (Feb. 4, 1946)
There are at present more than 10,000 Arabs in Palestine who entered the country illegally, an official Government estimate revealed today. Most of these illegal immigrants are concentrated in the Haifa district, the Government said.
If there were 10,000 illegal Arab residents in 1946, I presume there were more by the end of 1947 and that would mean that in addition to the ridiculously short time period, much shorter than that most countries demand as a requirement for citizenship, the numbers of refugees today is inflated.