Thursday, December 29, 2011

Politics, archaeology, and Jerusalem

POLITICS, ARCHAEOLOGY, AND JERUSALEM: Two editorials and an article today.

Bulldozing Jewish history: Op-ed: World should not allow Arab effort to deny Jewish connection to Jerusalem (Giulio Meotti, Excerpt:
Threatened by Arab countries, Israeli authorities just closed the Mughabri Bridge, preventing Jews and Christians from entering Temple Mount. Historically it should be noted that only under Israeli rule was the site open for everyone, Muslims, Christians and Jews. The Waqf is now attempting to deliberately destroy all archaeological evidence of Jewish claims to this site, while using terror and intimidation to impose its exclusive claim to Temple Mount.

The Waqf has removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the site. At the entrance, a Waqf sign says “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.” Today Jews are barred from praying on the Mount and are not even allowed to carry any holy articles with them. With Muslim observers supervising visits, Israeli police have frequently arrested Jews for various violations, such as singing or reciting a prayer even in a whisper.

Repeated lies
This week, a Jewish woman was arrested following claims by police and Waqf officials that they noticed she was praying on Temple Mount. Why is it a crime for a Jew to mention God’s name on Temple Mount? And why is the State of Israel complicit in enforcing this anti-Semitic rule?

European autocrats and the global media are also trying to downplay the Jewish connection to the site. Jewish archeologist Gabi Barkai stated that “it’s a lie more terrible than the denial of the Holocaust, yet connected to it.” UN and EU funded textbooks in the Palestinian areas all repeat the canard denying any Jewish legitimacy in the “Noble Sanctuary.”
More on the Waqf's illicit excavations on the Temple Mount here and links.

Hamas Leader’s Tour Theme: Fight “Judaization” of Jerusalem Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary Magazine). Excerpt:
The point here is not just that Hamas seeks to destroy the State of Israel but that it is also trying to eradicate Jewish history. Many conquerors in the past have attempted to strip Jerusalem of its Jewish identity, but the ancient capital of the Jewish state and Jewish life cannot be “Judaized.” Haniyeh claims he is trying to build support for embattled Muslims in the city but his listeners must know that the last 41 years of Israeli sovereignty over the city is the only time in its history when there has been full religious freedom there. His goal is to end that era and replace it with an Islamist reign of terror. To the extent that any shift in tactics on Hamas’ part causes the West to drop its designation of the organization as a terror group, they will be aiding his campaign against the peace of Jerusalem.
More on Hamas and the "Judaization" of Jerusalem here, here, and links. For the recently discovered clay seal mentioned in the article, see here.

Silwan residents blame right-wing group for collapse of tunnel near mosque (Nir Hassan, Haaretz). Excerpt:
A channel dug for archaeological excavations in Silwan partially collapsed on Monday near the village's mosque. Residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood place the responsibility for the collapse on the Elad nonprofit organization and accuse Elad of endangering the mosque and nearby homes.

Elad manages the City of David National Park, which is in Silwan, and funds many of the archaeological excavations carried out in the area by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

There have been a number of collapses in the past in the neighborhood, and residents claim the reason is digs that are conducted carelessly. They also point out cracks in their homes they claim are a result of the excavations. "How is it that in the houses above the tunnels there are cracks?" asked Jawad Siam, the head of the information center in Silwan.

Elad says infrastructure problems and illegal construction are the cause of the cracks and some of the collapses.
More on Elad and its archaeological ventures here (immediately preceding post) and links . (Wrong link fixed now. Sorry about that.)