Gideon Levy: Life by the Sword Has Paid Off

The occupation transforms Jerusalem into a military barracks on the eve of the transfer of the US embassy.

These are days of great victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for the right wing and for nationalistic Israel. These are days of victory for their path, the path of force, and of their faith, the faith in the chosen people who can do anything they please.

Iran has been publicly humiliated, the Palestinians are crushed, and on Monday they will be stomped on with pomp and circumstance as the American Embassy opens in Jerusalem. Gaza is besieged, and Israel is rejoicing. On Sunday, Jerusalem Day, innocent people might be killed in Gaza and Jerusalem.

On May 14, the day of the embassy move, innocents will certainly be killed in Gaza and the West Bank; the day after, Nakba Day, many more will be killed.

The Israeli victory, a brief biography: piles of bodies of Palestinians, whom the world has stopped caring about, a siege on Gaza which also doesn’t interest anyone, Iranian bases bombed without response, Iran under sanctions and an American Embassy in Jerusalem, a gift to the occupier and a slap in the face of the occupied. There is good reason for the joyous cries of victory in Israel.

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Seventeen Palestinians In The West Bank

First the settlers won and decided the fate of the state and the regime; then U.S. President Donald Trump won and gave Israel license to do whatever it feels like, and now Netanyahu has been declared the great victor. These are days of a win of his doctrine and a victory for his Israel. We should admit it.

The prophecies of doom, that this would all blow up in our faces one day, the admonishments that the occupation won’t stand forever and the warnings that Israel cannot live only by its sword, and that Iran is very dangerous, have been shown to be false for now. Nothing blew up, life by the sword has paid off, the end of the occupation has grown distant and so has the end of right-wing government.

This depressing forecast is the more optimistic one. The alternative is war with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas and who knows whom else. That’s the way it is when there’s no real alternative, no ideas and no leadership. Shooting at demonstrators in Gaza and the continued siege? Everybody’s on board. Canceling the agreement with Iran and bombing in Syria, everybody’s cheering.

And almost everybody is celebrating the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, including the female lawmaker from the “left” who is begging for an invitation. Tomorrow America will tell the Palestinians that it doesn’t care about their fate anymore, that in America’s eyes, they have no rights, that the two-state solution is dead. To Iran America said: Netanyahu was right. The agreement is bad and should be abolished. Two free gifts for Israel.

These achievements are corrupting. They prove to Israel that force is worthwhile, that there is no need to consider the other side, that international law doesn’t apply here. Today Israel is celebrating the day East Jerusalem was conquered, and tomorrow it will celebrate its perpetuation. Two repulsive flag marches will take place one after the other, the first Israeli and the second American, and they are both cocky and aggressive.

Moving the embassy while crushing what is left of the Palestinians’ dignity is a clear American signal to Israel: Keep up the killing, the crushing and the ignoring of their rights. America not only permits, arms and funds it – it even encourages it.

Yes, moving the embassy is a reason for a party only for the right. All the rest, a negligible minority, should mourn this unilateral step. The same is true for the Syrian bombings, which a tweet on the right called a “concert” with enthusiasm reserved only for bombings in Israel. A direct line connects the embassy move, the exit from the Iran deal and the bombings in Syria: Israel First. Only Israel.

And what’s the alternative? It wasn’t even discussed. Instead of opening an American Embassy in Jerusalem, part of which is occupied, to establish two embassies in the city. Instead of massacring protesters in Gaza, to respond to Hamas’ signals and reach an agreement to lift the blockade; instead of quitting the Iran deal, to preserve it with Israel’s encouragement; and instead of bombing Iranian bases, to try to dialogue with Iran, directly or indirectly. That is not as exciting as rousing as bombing, not as thrilling as showing off a haul of binders from Iran. But these could have been Israel’s true victories.

US plan to open embassy in Jerusalem on Nakba Day

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I’ll bet Trump didn’t make this date and didn’t have any idea what this day meant and heard of it just now, like the rest of us. They are always making a fool out of him! No US president has to show off his power or antagonize anyone for the fun of it! Nope, that is strictly a Zionist thing. He doesn’t need this. They always feel the need to show off by doing nasty things unencumbered.

In order to heap further humiliation on Palestinians, the US plans embassy move to coincide w/the NAKBA anniversary when 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their country in 1948.

In 1948, a new state — “Israel” — was established inside historical Palestine.

Around 15,000 Palestinians were killed, some 800,000 displaced, and 531 Arab villages destroyed in attacks by armed Jewish groups at the time.

The Palestinian diaspora has since become one of the largest in the world. Palestinian refugees are now scattered across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and other countries, while many have since settled in refugee camps in Palestine’s West Bank and Gaza Strip.

According to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), there are currently more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees.

Sheldon Adelson offers to pay for US embassy move to Jerusalem

 

One of President Donald Trump’s biggest donors, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, has offered to help pay for the construction of the controversial Jerusalem embassy.

The embassy, which is scheduled to open in May, has been a flash point of controversy ever since Trump announced that he was moving America’s diplomatic facilities out of Tel Aviv. Adelson, an extremely generous donor to right-wing political parties in both America and Israel, made his offer to Trump when the president first announced his decision in December, according to the Associated Press. State Department lawyers have since begun exploring whether it would be legal for the United States government to accept private donations to partially or entirely fund the construction of the new embassy.

One potential plan would be for the Trump administration to request donations from pro-Israel individuals, particularly those in the Jewish and evangelical communities, and then ask Adelson to pick up the difference between the money raised and the final cost. As the Trump administration announced on Friday, the embassy will be initially opened in the Arnona neighborhood by gradually converting existing consular offices there which handle matters like visas and passports. While retrofitting the existing offices is not likely to be expensive, the ultimate process of expanding them into a full embassy would cost at least $500 million — a steep tab that even the billionaire Adelson may not be willing to pay in full.

Another controversial aspect of Adelson’s involvement is his close involvement in right-wing politics. In addition to donating $25 million to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and $5 million to his inaugural committee, Adelson has also been a major contributor to Republican politicians throughout the United States. In addition, he has also donated generously to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and owns two of Israel’s most influential right-wing newspapers, one of which he gives away for free to promote his ideas.

Israel: A Hoax by the anti-Christ

hahaha, busted!

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“Woe to those call evil good”

Somewhat ironically, pilgrimage routes tend to change with political regimes and shifting religious trends, rather than with new archeological discoveries. So the religious tourist industry can sleep easy: they’ll cash in no matter the truth.

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fooled again by the same source

READ: When the Present “Wailing Wall” Was Selected by the Jewish Authorities  It is important to recognize that these records show that at the beginning of the sixteenth century (a mere 380 years ago) NO JEWISH PEOPLE were going to the Western Wall of the Haram esh-Sharif and calling it the Western Wall of the Temple. Indeed, the Jewish historical narrative we have been reading states that in the days of Suleiman (1538 C.E.) “nobody knew the location of the Temple, so he ordered a search of Jerusalem to find it.”

Archeologists may have uncovered the site of the trial of Jesus. While excavating the floors underneath an abandoned building next to the Tower of David museum in Jerusalem, archeologists came across the foundation walls and sewage system that lay beneath Herod the Great’s Jerusalem palace.

According to scholars, this is most likely the place that Jesus was sentenced to die. In the Gospels, Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate in a “praetorium,” a Latin term for the general’s tent in a military encampment. Modern historians locate this praetorium in Herod’s Palace and now, for the first time, the palace is accessible to public view.
The unveiling of this site marks a fine confluence of archeology and biblical text; it is a wonderful opportunity for people to visit an important Christian site. The only problem is that for hundreds of years tourists have already been visiting the site of the trial of Jesus, in a completely different part of Jerusalem. The Via Dolorosa or “Way of Sorrows,” the road that Jesus is believed to have travelled as he carried his cross from his trial to his crucifixion, is currently at the top of must-see lists of religious attractions for visitors to the city. Each year more than a million Christian pilgrims visit Jerusalem hoping to retrace the steps of the Savior.

The Via Dolorosa ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and is marked by nine stations of the cross. The first of these commemorates Jesus’s sentencing before Pilate, and is found at the Antonia Fortress, the traditional location for the trial. But the route of the Via Dolorosa, like so many religious sites in Israel, doesn’t have a particularly strong historical pedigree—it was established only in the 18th century

If Jesus wasn’t tried at the Antonia Fortress then the Via Dolorosa has been wildly mis-mapped. To paraphrase Indiana Jones, they’re walking in the wrong place.

This may come as unwelcome news to those in the tourist industry but to archeologists the only surprising thing is that the discovery is making news now.

In her 2012 book The Archeology of the Holy Land from the Destruction of Solomon’s temple to the Muslim Conquest, Professor Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, writes, “The praetorium – the palace of the Roman governor in Jerusalem – was Herod’s palace, not the Antonia fortress. Therefore, Jesus was sentenced to death and took up the cross not in the area to the north of the Temple Mount, but on the western side of the city. This means that the route walked by Jesus is different from the one walked by modern pilgrims (the Via Dolorosa).” Magness told me that this wasn’t even her original observation and that “there is nothing new in this story.”
Indeed, the remains of Herod’s Palace beside the Tower of David were first discovered in 2001. So why is this find making news now? The answer seems to be that this is the first time that tourists will have access to the site and archeologists will be able to profit from Christian interest. The archeological find, some fifteen years in the making, has made headlines only now that the museum has started to offer public tours. The director of the Tower of David Museum, Eliat Lieber, expressed the hope that the prison would eventually become a standard attraction for Christian tourists. History has become news, and now it’s open for business.

Whatever the reason, the news of the discovery publicizes the fact that historical accuracy of the pilgrimage route was always on shaky ground. As it currently stands, the Via Dolorosa follows the account given in the Gospel of John. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the final stop on the Via Dolorosa, is believed by Christians to be built on the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, a place known as Golgotha.

The original site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was identified in a moment of inspiration by Helena, mother to the Roman emperor Constantine, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the fourth century. But there is a problem with its location. The Bible clearly specifies that Jesus was executed outside the city walls; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is inside the walls. Even in the medieval era this disparity made Christians uncomfortable. As a result, Protestant Biblical archeologists identified a second site, known today as the Garden Tomb, as the actual place of Jesus’s death and burial. The historical accuracy of this second site is also hotly contested, but it remains a popular pilgrimage site for Protestants to this day.

Even if we could settle on a location, just the idea that Jesus was buried close to Golgotha is up for debate. It is based on a detail found only in the Gospel of John. None of the other, much earlier gospels have Jesus buried so close by. Matthew, Mark and Luke all agree that Jesus was buried in the family tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and it’s highly unlikely that prominent members of Jewish society had family tombs next to places of crucifixion. Even if we could match the Bible stories with the archeology we couldn’t be sure that we had the right story.

As Mark Goodacre, Professor of New Testament at Duke University, told the Daily Beast, “The Gospel writers have little interest in the precise location of Jesus’ trials. Writing a generation or more after the events they are describing, and at some geographical distance, it is unlikely that they provide us with the kinds of clues that we would like to see. So while this discovery is exciting, we should be cautious about over-stating its importance for studying the historical Jesus.” Tradition has the beginning of the Via Dolorosa wrong, and probably the end too; it’s safe to say that the stuff in between probably doesn’t pan out either. In short, we don’t know the route that Jesus walked or the location of Jesus’ tomb.

Somewhat ironically, pilgrimage routes tend to change with political regimes and shifting religious trends, rather than with new archeological discoveries. So the religious tourist industry can sleep easy: they’ll cash in no matter the truth.

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Archbishop of Jerusalem: “US policy regarding the M.E. is ugly”

Archbishop of Jerusalem has said that all conspiracies against Jerusalem will fail, stressing that US policy regarding the eMiddle East is “ugly.”

“The history, heritage, identity, holy sites and endowments of Jerusalem are targeted,” said Archbishop Atalla Hanna. He added that there is a plan to “uproot the city from its Palestinian body.”

The church leader reiterated that all such conspiracies will fail, according to Days of Palestine.

Archbishop Hanna made his comments during a reception for a Brazilian academic delegation, including university professors, who arrived in the occupied territories on a visit in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The delegation will visit a number of Palestinian universities and academic institutions.

“Jerusalem is not silent and does not consist of only the holy sites, of which we are proud,” Hanna told the delegation. “It also the human being who is fighting for his freedom and to regain his rights, hopes and national aspirations.”

In this respect, he stressed, the US decision regarding Jerusalem “completely ignores” the Palestinians in the city, “as if we are not here.”

“We are here,” the outspoken critic of the Israeli occupation pointed out. “We remain here. We are staying and we will not concede our city whatever the conspiracies against us are and whatever the plans are to uproot it from the Palestinian body and distort its features.”

Archbishop Hanna concluded by insisting that the Palestinians of Jerusalem were not surprised by the latest US position.

“It is hostile to our people. The American policy has been this way – against our people and the Arab region — for too long. What happened recently with Trump simply revealed the real face of American policy towards the region.”