Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The NYTimes Terms It "Quietly"

First, local patriotism:

The outposts are strategically located alongside more than 120 settlements that were formally approved by Israel, and are home to a fraction of the West Bank’s 350,000 Jewish settlers.

One group stretches east of Shilo, like beads on a chain: Shvut Rahel, Adei Ad, Ahiya, Kida, Esh Kodesh. These outposts command the hilltops between Palestinian villages like Qusra, Jalud, Al-Mughayyer and Duma, the scene of last year’s deadly arson attack in which one young Israeli has been charged with murder and another with conspiracy.

Rabbah Hazameh, a Palestinian whose family owns olive orchards and agricultural fields in the area, said that settlers prevented him and his relatives from working their land close to Adei Ad, and that trees had been damaged and poisoned [untrue]. He said that his uncle had submitted 86 complaints to the Israeli police over the years, but “nothing happened.” [Jewish trees were damaged and cut down]

While most of the world considers all of these settlements a violation of international law, Israel itself makes distinctions, including whether they sit on privately owned Palestinian land and whether they had government approval for construction.

Now, back to the main theme via the story's headline:

Israel Quietly Legalizes Pirate


Oh, come on.

It's been in the media for months and more.

Earlier this month.

In July in Haaretz (how could she have missed that?).

In March, Mondoweiss published a Yesh Din report on 'kosherization' which was published in February.

In August 2015, even the UN discussed it (see Section B).

In April 2015, sixteen months ago, we all read this at the +972 website:
In 2011 there was a change in the State’s position, when it told the courts that intends to pursue a course of partial enforcement. It would remove outposts built on private land, but will examine the possibility of legalizing those built on public land (which it prefers to call “state land” in order to create the impression that it owns them).
But this position also changed. In 2012, the government ordered the formation of the Levi Commission. It ruled that the outposts should be legalized, while rejecting the Partition Decision of 1947 and returning to the Balfour Declaration.

Quietly? Like in a conspiracy? Secretively?

In Israel?!

NYT, what were you thinking?




When Did Arabs Come to 'Palestine'?

From this book, The nationalist crusade in Syria by Elizabeth P. MacCallum. New York : The Foreign Policy Association, 1928, full text here:

The Muslim conquest of Syria and Palestine in the seventh century CE.

And what was the imagined territory if this Syria?

Jerusalem was but a vilayet, a regional administrative unit, not part of a country called Palestine'.

And another source, referring to the year 1937 from this book:-


New Yeshiva High School in Shiloh

We have a new Yeshiva High School here in Shiloh, Lev Chadash.

I snapped some photos of its construction, and some of the nearby views of Tel Shiloh and Qaryut, a neighboring Arab settlement:

A new beginning.

P.S. The sky was overcast for some strange reason this morning.


Mr. Schocken Erred.

Ari Shavit attacked the Left today, writing

Israel's radical left committed suicide, and now the right will kill us all

Some noticed that the original Hebrew headline simply read

Israel's radical left committed suicide

And they tweeted it with noting

Hebrew editors wrote "the left is committing suicide". English editors added some flavour.

I forwarded that to Amos Schocken who wrote:

@ymedad @EylonALevy Nonsense. The English headline is an exact quote from Shavit. Don't be losers: read full texts as well.

So, I did.  

The last sentence in Shavit's piece reads:

The radical left, having committed suicide, is now helping the right to kill us all.

Sorry, Mr. Schocken but that is not quite what the headline was conveying when it appears so:

Israel's radical left committed suicide, and now the right will kill us all

The word "helping" is gone.

Is that signifcant?

Well, yes.

Shavit is not only blaming the Left for stupidity but more.  He writes that the Left:

is disconnected from reality. 

it refused to admit the failure of the Oslo Accords, et. al.

it refused to recognize the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip led to rockets on Ashkelon, Ashdod and Tel Aviv

the left is therefore viewed in Israel as delusional, as daydreamers.

the left is disconnected from reality 

the left is disconnected from Israeli pride. 

the radical left committed suicide when it abnegated itself before the Palestinians. 

And, then, his last charge of a guilt is assisting the Right, a double blunder, in his opinion. 

So, the headline does not reflect the full text and is not quite an exact quotation.

Mr. Schocken, I would maintain, erred.



Mr. Schocken has now tweeted:
Good, at least you follow my advice.
But not one to yield or admit to fallibility, he now tweets:

 Another headlines genius: now Y Medad as well.



Check this out.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Arab Women's Honor in the US - A Century Ago

From this book


She Was in ... Palestine

From a New York Times Book Review interview with one Jacqueline Woodson:

What books are currently on your night stand?

I’m one of those people who will read more than one book at a time — I write the same way. Once I get deeply into a book, the rest have to wait. So right now, having just returned from Palestine, I’m reading Jimmy Carter’s “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.” Carter was one of my favorite presidents, and I got to have lunch with him last year for The Times’s Table for Three feature. He was as lovely in person as I had imagined, and he’s been such an amazing activist.

...What’s your favorite TV, film or theater adaptation of a book?

“Brooklyn,” by Colm Toibin. I love the book and love the movie. I was just in Palestine with Colm, and now I love the author too.

Where is that Palestine?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

More on Palestine is Part of Syria

Continuing to research the link between Palestinianism and its Syrian roots on the question of whether the term "Palestine" was an actual one or did the Arabs who resided in the territory actually see themselves of Syrians, or South-Syrians.

Nuri As-Sa'id's Fertile Crescent Project
The following proposals of mine are based on the close and firm ties between
Iraq and all the Arabs inhabiting historical Syria. The States of the Arabian Peninsula

The Arab States and the Arab League have an economic system which differs from our own, though they are very close to us in respect of language, customs and religion. On the other hand, Egypt has a bigger population than that of backward (i) States. It also has its (own) problems in the Sudan and elsewhere. Because of this, I have assumed that these States are not inclined to join an Arab federation (2) or an Arab League from the start (3). But if the union (ittihad) of Iraq and Syria does materialize, it may then be very likely that these States mentioned (4) may in the course of time show their desire to join this union. But I expect that this union - even if confined to Iraq and Syria - will at the very beginning lead to the facilitation of joint consultation among all the Arab States and to
all these States acting in concert, whether they are inside the union or outside it...

...In my view, the only equitable solution indeed, the only hope of securing permanent peace, reassurance and progress in these Arab areas, is for the United Nat- ions to declare now the following:

(1) That Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Trans Jordan be reunited into one State.

(/) Translated by the Editor from the original (Arabic) text which forms part of the
Memorandum submitted by Nuri as-Sa'id at the beginning of 1943 to Mr. R.G. Casey ,
British Minister of State in the Middle East (Cairo). This Memorandum was entitled) in
part) Istiqlal al-'Arab wa Wahdatuhum: Mudhakkira fi al-Qadiyya al-'Arabiyya
(Arab Independence and Unity: Memorandum on the Arab Cause)) printed by the
Government Press, Baghdad, 1943. The part translated above occurs on pp. 19-22 of
this Memorandum and follows a somewhat lengthy exposition (15 pages) of political condi-
tions in the Arab countries since the latter part of the Ottoman era) as well as their rela-
tions with Britain and France since the First World War. ED.


A. The Syrian Unity Project "The Unified Syrian State", and the Arab Federation :

1. The Allies should declare their support of the independence of Syria in its natural boundaries, and consider its national and geographic unity as the basis of its system of government;

2. This declaration will, in fact, uphold the interests of the country and the wishes of the Syrian people, which they have expressed at the end of the last World War and on all occasions, as recorded by the American Plebiscite Commission, namely, Mr. Crane's Commission, (i) Moreover, the Syrian Congress which was held in Damascus, representing all the regions of liberated Syria, namely, Northern Syria, Lebanon, Trans Jordan and Palestine, also declared the above in (its) resolution of March 8, 1920, which was duly communicated to the (various) States and to the League of Nations.
The (Syrian Congress) thus expressed in this historic resolution the real wishes of the Syrian people. It was that resolution which has since then become the National covenant of all Syrians. The present Syrian Government still considers the day on which it was proclaimed an official national day, and the flag which was designed (by that resolution) for Syriaas the same flag which (now) shelters the Government of Transjordan.

3. The project of the Unified Syrian State consists of:-

a) The recognition of an independent and sovereign Syrian State whose system of government shall be a constitutional monarchy.

b) The Unified Syrian State shall comprise Northern Syria, Transjordan, Palestine and Lebanon.

c) Both Palestine, in some of its districts, and ancient Lebanon shall each have, in accordance with the constitution, a special administration. In the case of the former, the rights of the Jewish minority and the special status of the Holy Places shall be duly safeguarded, while in the case of the latter due regard shall be paid to the national aspirations of the Lebanese.

d) The Balfour Declaration shall be revoked for its inacceptance by the Arabs, who are the legitimate owners of the country. Otherwise, it shall be given a definitive interpretation which will dissipate the fears in the Arab and the Muslim worlds. Thus, the status quo, namely, a proportion of one third (Jews) to two thirds (Arabs), will be considered as adequate, and Jewish immigration will be absolutely prohibited.



Post-colonial Biblical Interpretation

Here is a how-to-use "post-colonial" example:

In Postcolonial biblical interpretation Jeremy Punt reflects on the nature and value of the postcolonial hermeneutical approach, as it relates to the interpretation of biblical and in particular, Pauline texts. Showing when a socio-politically engaged reading becomes postcolonial, but also what in the term postcolonial both attracts and also creates distance, exegesis from a postcolonial perspective is profiled. The book indicates possible avenues in how postcolonial work can be helpful theoretically to the guild of biblical scholars and to show also how it can be practiced in exegetical work done on biblical texts.

You may ask, as I did, what is he referring to?

Well, I checked.  Here are two chapter contents:

2 Postcolonial Readings, or Not? Obvious or Impossible? Aspects of the Hermeneutical Scene from a South AfricanPerspective
Why Not Postcolonial Biblical Criticism?
Hermeneutics in Service to the Church and/or the Academy?
Textual Politics and Real Readers in Actual Locations
A Different Status for the Bible
The Role of Tradition(s) of Interpretation
Hybridity Confronts the Nationalist Agenda
3 Postcolonial Theory as Academic Double Agent? Power, Ideology and Postcolonial Hermeneutics
Why Postcolonial Biblical Studies?
Re-Invoking Ideology? Postcolonial as Ideological Criticism
Antipathy towards Postcolonial Biblical Criticism: The Case in Africa
Turf Wars? Unsettling Liberation Theology?
Continuing Struggles about Agency and Identity?
Narrow Academic Enterprise? Ivory-Tower Discourse?
Politically Ambiguous?
A Compromised Bible (and Christian Faith)?

I found another book on the subject. 

Intrigued, I searched and found this:

...postcolonialism pursues a particular grievance—the impact of European colonialism. The mention of postcolonialism raises the spectre of empire, conquest, slavery, racism, sexism, and orientalism, and it is seen as being implicitly critical. Postcolonialism, at its simplest, can be seen in two ways. One is historical, marking the dismantling of the empire and its attendant instruments of power; and the other is an intellectual project that searches for “alternative sources, alternative readings, alternative presentation of evidence” (Viswanathan 2001, p. 222). In the latter sense, it pays much attention to the intricate relations between the native and invader societies and cultures, wrestles with questions of identity and representation, and invests much in theories of indigeneity and diaspora. In this sense, essentially, postcolonialism identifies the dominant power, exposes it, and engages critically with it.
...The current phase confronts the contemporary neo-imperial practices of market economy and humanitarian intervention—the new form of the “White man’s burden” assumed on behalf of humanity....It has now come to embrace a larger set of conceptual and ideological positions and interests. It has also moved from the earlier hostile Occident-Orient binary division to cross-cultural contact and dialogue between the once colonized and the colonizer.

Postcolonial Preoccupations.

Like many critical theories, postcolonialism reached biblical studies late in the 1990s...Postcolonial biblical criticism was an inevitable progression from the then prevailing interpretative practices that went under the name of contextual, vernacular, or liberation hermeneutics. While these interpretative approaches were rightly preoccupied with questions of economic exploitation and victimhood, postcolonialism was able to add another increasingly problematic issue—the cultural implications of living in diverse religious and racial communities in a globalized society. This was also the time when the biblical “orient” was re-discovered by those biblical scholars, especially in America, who were trying to apply social-science and anthropological approaches to biblical texts...

...Postcolonial biblical criticism has several textual functions. Firstly, it pays attention to the presence of the empires of the biblical world. The ancient Israelites were under the control of the Egyptian empire. The Judean scribes, priests, and prophets, who shaped the Pentateuch and prophetic books of the Hebrew Scriptures, were confronted with Persian and Assyrian empires. The books of the New Testament emerged during the Roman empire. In studying the Bible, a postcolonial critic interrogates the texts with a series of questions such as: How are these imperial powers portrayed? Do the biblical authors support or challenge them? Where does their allegiance lie—with the subjugated people or the dominating power? Secondly, it asks how, in their examination of biblical texts, biblical commentators interpret these empires? Do they support or oppose them? How do they represent the “other”? What kind of oriental images appear in their work? Do they unwittingly re-orientalize the orient? Thirdly, it examines the role played by the Bible in colonial expansion and its veneration and degradation in the colonies. Fourthly, it engages in a work of retrieval. This involves (a) bringing to the fore forgotten, sidelined, and often maligned biblical figures and texts; (b) reclaiming the resistant literature of the ‘natives’ themselves as they talk back to the master using the very texts provided by them; and (c) recovering the hermeneutical work of a few missionaries and Orientalists who, though invariably compromised with the ideals of empire, were at the same time ambivalent about its usefulness Fifthly, it pays scholarly attention to Bible translation projects and their positive and negative contributions to indigenous languages. Finally, it addresses issues which have arisen in the aftermath of colonialism—migration, multiculturalism, nationhood, and diaspora.

Postcolonial biblical criticism has a number of allies that share its concerns. One of these is Feminism. ...

So, now I, and you, know.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Citizenship Invention or Creation?

I went this past week to the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem

to attend the book launch 

and discussion of this book:

By the way, that photograph is of Abu Ghosh Arabs taking the oath of allegiance to the Arab cause to fight Jewish immigration.

A previous doctorate to eventually become book was also published on the subject by Mutaz M. Qafisheh.

The author, Dr. Lauren Banko

participated along with Salim Tamari:

The book 
"explores the colonial, social and political history of the creation of citizenship in mandate Palestine...situates the evolution of citizenship at the centre of state formation under the quasi-colonial mandate administration in Palestine. It emphasises the ways in which British officials crafted citizenship to be separate from nationality based on prior colonial legislation elsewhere, a view of the territory as divided communally, and the need to offer Jewish immigrants the easiest path to acquisition of Palestinian citizenship in order to uphold the mandate’s policy. In parallel, the book examines the reactions of the Arab population to their new status. It argues that the Arabs relied heavily on their pre-war experience as nationals of the Ottoman Empire to negotiate the definitions and meanings of mandate citizenship.

A 2012 summary of her research is here.

Some of the points during the presentations made included:

a) The British actively pursued Jewish women in the 1930s, suspected by them of illegal entry or overstay and deported them and, of course, this was the fictitious 'marriage' arrangement by chalutzim.  I knew someone who did this three times.  And the problems that developed with the Rabbinate recognizing the divorces is another story.

What wasn't mentioned was that as a result of the 1929 riots, the British instituted a regime of heavily restricted Jewish immigration, termed the 'schedule', which eventually resulted in the 1939 White Paper limitations as reported, for example, here:

As a cumulative result of those restrictions, millions of Jews were left behind in Europe and killed by Hitler.  They weren't stranded in Chile. Their right of return was denied by murder, starvation, ghettos and concentration camps not a continued diaspora existence.

b) Since Arab emigration began prior to the Mandate being instituted and mostly before World War I, starting in circa 1890, thousands of Arabs from the area of what was to become 'Palestine' found themselves deprived of the future Palestinian citizenship. Tamari claimed this was perhaps the original 'right of return' and noted that today, perhaps 30,000 returnees, third or fourth generation progeny, are illegally here in Israel, most from Chile, El Salvador and Brazil.

c) One point very much glossed over was that the whole concept of a Palestinian nationality only came about due to the Zionists.  Prior to the 1925 Citizenship Order

there was no true geo-political entity of Palestine,  It was a region, with no fixed borders and over many years divided, at various times, into very different and changing districts (and see below my eventual question of Southern Syria).  Banko did mention that it was Chaim Weizmann in 1918 who initiated discussions on citizenship but did not go into whether that idea was shared by local Arabs at the time (I have not read her book) until outsiders, and by that I mean Christians, introduced it into local politics.

d) The whole eventual citizenship construct with all its regulations was more based on Britain's previous colonial experience and was directed by religion and community paradigms rather than what we now know as nationality.  Indeed, it was recalled that the 1947 Partition recommendation called into being an Arab and a Jewish state.

e) I learned that many Jews, required by those regulations (it was not clear to me at a specific time or throughout the Mandate period) to pledge allegiance to the Mandate Government, refused to do so.

f) The actual use of the passport was basically for protection while traveling abroad as there were no elections or such in the Mandate except intra-communal ones, the Arabs having lost an opportunity to truly become the dominate section of the population by refusing the proposal of the Legislative Council in 1924.

I did not ask a question but did send one afterwards:

You write of a "Palestinian national movement" but at that time and well into the 1930s and more, the Arabs of Mandate Palestine sought to have the Mandate dissolved and instead, recognize their nationality status as Southern Syrians and to unite what they referred to as Palestine with Greater Syria.  Even diaspora Arabs from the territory, as in the US, viewed themselves as such. (see my previous posts here, here and here)

Irregardless of what "Palestine", as a geopolitical was/is, how do you see that impacting on the question of citizenship?

Dr. Banko kindly gave me permission to quote from her response which included this:

...the question definitely is one that needs asking and one which I, and others, have given thought to before.  

It's true that in writings and discussions in print and letters and in nationalist clubs and organisations and political parties of Palestinian Arabs into the 1930s there was a very real wish and effort for unity with Syria and a shared nationality status with the Syrian Arabs.  However, in my opinion and from research on this and related historical themes, I would argue that the best way to even begin to approach how these Arabs saw themselves is by understanding that identity then (and now) for the Arabs (and Jewish immigrants, and non-Arabs in Palestine, too) was very flexible.  

There were several layers to identity, and so it's impossible to generalise too much or even to pinpoint when particular nationalists realised that a common nationality and overthrowing the mandate was no longer attainable.  I think that although the nationalist movement posited itself even into the 1930s as pro-unity with Syria, individuals inside and outside the movement saw themselves alternately as Palestinian, Syrian Arab, etc.  Even into the 1920s there was still an identification with an Ottoman identity among some.  

... I think identity was flexible and layered in Palestine for the Arabs and for the Jewish immigrants during the Mandate.  During the 1930s, even though some ideas of a pan-Arab state were put forth to the British, this had a lot to do with anti-colonialism and a wider anti-Mandate movement and anti-colonial movement in the Middle East, India, North Africa.  However, many Arabs in Palestine also believed that their situation was unique, and thus felt that the only way to end the Mandate was to emphasise a specifically-Palestinian territorial identity and struggle, just as in Syria there was a very strong pro-Syrian movement that emphasised a Syrian end to the French Mandate.

I do not think citizenship was invented.

It was created, fashioned and conceived, at least on the Jewish side, which over many centuries, viewed themselves as belonging to a very specific country, whose boundaries are delineated in Biblical and Talmudic texts scores of centuries earlier.  And these texts were not some ancient dead letter but they were studied, at least weekly, all throughout the Diaspora existence and Jews were very much aware of this element of what we call 'identity'.

The international legal process - via the Balfour Declaration, the Versailles Peace Conference deliberations, the San Remo Conference decisions and those of the League of Nations between 1917-1922,  - all declined, studiously, to mention Arabs in the context of the country called Palestine.  They were included in a group called "non-Jews".

This was very unfortunate for the local Arabs.  In one sense, however, the did gain one benefit.  The residency requirement for Mandate Palestinian citizenship was two years for most of the time.  Perhaps parallel, the residency requirement of UNRWA for refugee status was two years as well.  So all those Arabs who came to the Mandate to work and make money, especially during World War II, and then fled, or returned to their lands of origin (I have no real stats at hand although work has been done), gained not only the title of 'refugee' but, in the cases they did return to home villages in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq or Jordan, they obtained the right to receive UNRWA handouts.  But that is more an economic matter.

I hope to read the book.


Fictitious Fiction

My letter in today's Jerusalem Post Magazine:

I was surprised that the review of Stewart O'Nan's City of Secrets ("Duplicity and intrigue in Jerusalem", Aug. 12) was taken from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A book that deals with the post-1945 period of the underground struggle for liberation from British rule in Jerusalem, I would think, requires knowledge of that time including what actually happened so that a novel purporting to portray that era could be judged also on how reliable it is.

For example, according to the NYTimes review, the Haganah employs the protagonist as a Jerusalem taxi driver allowing him to deliver "parcels or ferrying bomb-laden saboteurs through the crumbling alleys of midnight Jerusalem." The Hagana never actually operated in Jerusalem then and the sole military anti-British operation by the Palmach in the city was the assassination of Captain W.H. Bruce on October 17, 1946. Incidentally, the Pittsburgh-Gazatte has him as a member of the Irgun while the Boston Globe also has him in the Hagana.  A cell member, judged a traitor, has his cut throat and tongue sliced off.  Could that have happened?  How does he describe the blowing up of the King David Hotel's southern wing?

Especially for a newspaper named the Jerusalem Post, it would have been more self-respectful that a reviewer who is familiar with the period and the place to have reviewed the book.  Even a work of fiction need not be totally historically fictitious. 

The grey-colored sentence was edited out.

But Who Is Counting?

According to Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst at the Middle East and North Africa program of the International Crisis Group, 

the November 2014 understanding between Abdullah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still largely respected. The understanding focuses on permission for Muslims of all ages to visit and pray at the mosque, and it also allows for a limited number of Jews to visit at agreed-upon times without praying.
“These commitments, which preserved relative calm at the site, are still standing...and Jews are allowed restricted visiting rights on condition that they just visit and not pray,” Zalzberg said.
Although the general features of the agreement are well-known to all parties, some specifics, such as the exact number of Jews to be allowed to visit, are a source of disagreement.
...Zalzberg conceded that on Aug. 14, on which Tisha B’Av, the day of the Jewish fast in remembrance of the destruction of Jewish temples, fell, Israel apparently exceeded the limit of Jewish visitors. Press reports indicate that as many as 200 Jews were allowed into the compound on Aug. 14.

Actually, there were over 400.

But who is counting?


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.