Sunday, March 31, 2013

Following the Story of Solomon's Pools

Item One:

Hundreds of Jewish settlers stormed the ancient Solomon Pools located between Artas and Al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, on Sunday.
Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that hundreds of settlers from Etzion settlement arrived to the site on foot under heavy Israeli military protection.
They said that the settlers arrived for swimming then offering Talmudic rituals at the site.
The eyewitnesses said that inhabitants tried to approach the 500 or more settlers to block their entry into the site but Israeli occupation forces, escorting those settlers, prevented them from doing so.
The pools, which were built by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent are*, are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority according to the Oslo accords.

Item One A:-

An ancient set of pools that supplied the Jewish capital with drinking water for centuries is to be the centerpiece of a guided tour by the Kfar Etzion Field School this Sunday. Solomon’s Pools are comprised of five monumental Herodian pools and an aqueduct which fed water to the city of Jerusalem for nearly 2,000 years. Located in south-central Judea about 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) southwest of Bethlehem, the pools are full this year, due to the abundant winter rains.

Item Two:

The Palestinian Authority says it rejects Israeli plans to bring a group of settlers to the historic Solomon's Pools site near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.  On Thursday the deputy governor of Bethlehem, Mohammad Taha, told Ma'an that the decision was a "flagrant violation" of the Oslo Accords which designate areas of control in the occupied territories. The pools are in Area A -- the 17 percent of the West Bank under the full control of the Palestinian Authority....

Item Three:

PA in gross violation of agreements bars Israelis from Solomons Pools
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA 
Annex I Protocol Concerning Redeployment and Security Arrangements

Rules of Conduct in Mutual Security Matters
4. Rules of Conduct on Roads for Israelis

a. Israeli military forces and Israeli civilians may continue to use roads freely within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
b. On the main roads that are jointly patrolled, vehicles bearing Israeli license plates shall not be stopped except for identification, which shall be conducted by a Joint Patrol, pursuant to the provisions of Article III of this Annex. The Israeli side of such a patrol may carry out identity and vehicle documentation checks. In the event that a vehicle bearing a license plate issued by either the Council or the Civil Administration is stopped, the Palestinian side of the Joint Patrol may carry out identity and vehicle documentation checks.
c. On other roads vehicles bearing Israeli license plates shall not be stopped by the Palestinian Police, except that such vehicles may be stopped in the Gaza Strip, in Area A or in places in Area B where there is a police
station or post for the purpose of identification checks of the above-mentioned documentation.
d. Israelis shall under no circumstances be apprehended or placed in custody or prison by Palestinian authorities. However, where an Israeli is suspected of having committed an offense, he or she may be detained in place by the Palestinian Police while ensuring his or her protection, in accordance with the provisions of Annex IV, until the arrival of a Joint Patrol, called immediately by the Palestinian Police, or of other Israeli representatives dispatched by the relevant DCO.
e. Israeli pedestrians may be required to produce identity documentation (if above the age of sixteen). Thereafter, they shall be treated in accordance with the provisions of this Article...

Item Four:

Israel's army will accompany settlers into the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday, Israeli media reported Thursday.  The Israeli military has approved a request by a school in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc to visit Solomon's Pools, Maariv reported.  "Thanks to the cooperation with the army we will return to a land of ancestors that was given to the Palestinians after the Oslo accords," the school's principal Yaron Rosenthal said.

Israel has only rarely approved settler visits to the pools since 1995, when the Palestinian Authority took control of the area.  Solomon's Pools are located in Area A -- the 17 percent of the West Bank under the full control of the Palestinian Authority.

(A Hebrew-language news report; A second one)

* And as for the history of the pools:

...recent evidence suggests that the lowest pool was probably constructed during the Maccabean period at the time of the reconstruction of the temple at Jerusalem (circa 2 BCE). A second phase occurred when ancient Roman Pontius Pilate built 39 kilometres (24 mi) of aqueduct from the collection pools at Arrub. Roman engineering under Herod the Great in connection with his improvements to the Second Temple created the underground tunnel feeding the upper pool. In 1902, a new 16 km pipeline was inaugurated to mark the 60th birthday of the Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid II. The pipeline went from Solomon's Pools to Jerusalem.


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