A Strained Encounter at Trump’s Embassy

[I read a story from an “Israeli” woman who was driving one day  and taking a wrong turn, found herself driving on the Palestinian road. She went into hysterics thinking of how she could have been murdered by Palestinians had she not driven out of there in time. I mean whew! One of those murderous terrorists could have jumped out from anywhere!  I thought, how strange  because as an American I find the Palestinians most welcoming and accommodating, I just wander everywhere. And it’s not all that comforting to be an American anymore…but no one makes me feel it.]

‘How sad it is that Jerusalem, the city that for millennia was blessed with an amazing range of humanity, is today cut off as it has never been before.’

Sep 05, 2019

I was standing in line for a visa to the United States. The woman ahead of me said it was the first time she had come to the embassy, in advance of what would be her first visit to the United States. She spoke angrily about how hard it was to find enough money for the trip, and complained that we are living in a country that doesn’t take care of its citizens – after all, she deserves to travel and have a good time, she works hard.

The Palestinian Jewish Rabbi’s were kicked out of leadership positions with the Zionist occupation.

Is this the first time you’re traveling to the United States, she asked me. I gave her a brief reply, in the hope of ending the conversation. It didn’t help. She edged even closer and kept talking. At one stage, she whispered that she was glad Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem and showed the Arabs what’s what. Another woman, who overheard the conversation, butted in and said it’s really good that at long last someone is taking care of the Arabs in this country. Those Arabs, they have no limits.

IDF ordered to break the bones of young Palestinian males (fighting age)

The line moved slowly, and I kept quiet. Not because I had nothing to say – I always have something to say – but because I didn’t feel like arguing on a hot and sluggish morning like this.The line continued to inch along.

When I finally emerged from the embassy, the talkative woman from the line was also standing there. Tell me, she said, there aren’t any buses here, so maybe you could give me a lift for a few meters? It occurred to me to leave her there in the broiling sun but I took pity on her. And all of a sudden I also thought that there in the car, I would have the opportunity to show her who should be put in whose place. I would tell her what I think of her opinions about Arabs. Come on, I said, I’ll take you.

Foreign born Jews herded the people of Palestine into ghettos and called occupation of their land ‘a Jewish state’.

We walked together toward the car. We fastened our seat belts. I locked the doors and made sure she heard it. I started the car and then the radio burst into a song I don’t like, which is not at all pleasant and soothing – in Arabic. The woman next to me turned to stone. After a few minutes she asked me where I’m from. I said in a heavy Arabic accent: Baka al-Garbiyeh. Where exactly is that, she asked. Usually, I say near Hadera or Caesarea. This time I chose to say near Tul Karm. Upon hearing the name of a village in the West Bank, she clutched the safety belt in her hand and went silent.

Trump Lawyers and Casino Moguls occupy Palestine Jerusalem underground.

I thought this was it: I had managed to put her in her place and let’s see Trump come along and save her now. But right away I realized I wasn’t at all glad about the situation. I am not a bad person and I don’t scare anyone, but without even doing anything – I’d only said where I come from, in my naturally accented voice – I had aroused emotions as though I had done something bad.

Many Israelis are brainwashed and believe the shoe is on the other foot. The gov. teaches them to fear Arabs so Israelis are too afraid to venture out of their controlled bubble.

She was afraid of me, that was clear. I too was afraid. I felt that suddenly I didn’t know myself. After about two minutes of silence I pulled myself together and realized that I was not her. I would never be her. I grew up and was raised differently. I grew up on other values. I was angry for a few seconds at her for having made me lose sight of who and what I am. After a few seconds I told her I would help her find the bus she was looking for. After a long search for the right bus, as she watched me with an inquisitive but less alarmed expression on her face – I declared: I’ve found it!

Suddenly I found myself saying to her pleasantly: Ma’am, maybe before you go to the United States, you could travel around your own country. From this stop right here, buses leave for Bethlehem and Hebron; blue buses depart that are intended for Palestinians and the green buses are for Israelis. When we got to her stop, she thanked me for the ride and said maybe we would see each other in the States. I said yes just because I wanted to be polite.

All the way home I thought how sad it is that Jerusalem, the city that for millennia was blessed with an amazing range of humanity, is today cut off as it has never been before.

Nazi regime new war of attrition on Jerusalem’s Palestinian

Palestinian neighbors are subjected to regular police raids and Israeli excrement is left in their doorways. That’s Zionism. That’s Israel. Before Zionism took hold of the regular Jewish people in Europe, and even more so after Israel was established, the Zionists were considered filthy low life by the Rabbis.

By Jonathan Cook

Thomas Masaryk became President of Czechoslovakia, and it was in that capacity that he warmly welcomed the first Zionist Congress convened after the Balfour Declaration, at Karlovy Vary in 1921—two more would follow in 1923 and 1933, under Chaim Weizmann’s leadership.

During the Masaryk era, three congresses of the World Zionist Organization took place in the Czech cities of Prague and Karlovy Vary. In addition, Masaryk was a keen supporter of the Zionist movement and the first head of state who visited the Yishuv in 1927. In recognition of this warm friendship, the Jewish state honored Masaryk by naming a kibbutz after him, as well as streets in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.

In 1920, the Zionists had enough power to warn the world not to stand it it’s way.

Czech president Milos Zeman offered Binyamin Netanyahu’s ultra-nationalist government a fillip during his visit to Israel last week.

He inaugurated a cultural and trade center, Czech House, just outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls.

At the opening, he expressed hope it would serve as a precursor to his country relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

If so, the Czech Republic would become the first European state to follow US President Donald Trump’s lead in moving the US embassy in May.

It is this kind of endorsement that, of late, has emboldened Netanyahu’s government, the Israeli courts, Jerusalem officials and settler organizations to step up their combined assault on Palestinians in the Old City and its surrounding neighbourhoods.

Israel has never hidden its ambition to seize control of East Jerusalem, Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967 and then annexed, as a way of preventing a viable Palestinian state from emerging.

Land theft and ethnic cleansing

Israel immediately began building an arc of Jewish settlements on Jerusalem’s eastern flank to seal off its Palestinian residents from their political hinterland, the West Bank.

More than a decade ago, it consolidated its domination with a mammoth concrete wall that cut through East Jerusalem.

The aim was to seal off densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods on the far side, ensuring the most prized and vulnerable areas – the Old City and its environs – could be more easily colonized, or “Judaised”, as Israel terms it.

This area, the heart of Jerusalem, is where magnificent holy places such as the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are to be found.

The city of Christianity, Judaism and Islam for centuries

Under cover of the 1967 war, Israel ethnically cleansed many hundreds of Palestinians living near the Western Wall, a retaining wall of the elevated Al-Aqsa compound that is venerated in Judaism.

Since then, Israeli leaders have grown ever hungrier for control of the compound itself, which they believe is built over two long-lost Jewish temples.

Israel has forced the compound’s Muslim authorities to allow Jews to visit in record numbers, even though most wish to see the mosque replaced with a third Jewish temple.

Meanwhile, Israel has severely limited the numbers of Palestinians who can reach the holy site.

Emboldened by Trump

SOLD!

Until now, Israel had mostly moved with stealth, making changes gradually so they rarely risked inflaming the Arab world or provoking Western reaction. But after Trump’s embassy move, a new Israeli confidence is tangible.

On four fronts, Israel has demonstrated its assertive new mood. First, with the help of ever-more compliant Israeli courts, it has intensified efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in the Old City and just outside its historic walls.

Last month, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that supports the eviction of 700 Palestinians from Silwan, a dense neighborhood on a hillside below Al-Aqsa.

Ateret Cohanim, a settler organization backed by government-subsidised armed guards, is now poised to take over the center of Silwan.

It will mean more Israeli security and police protecting the settler population and more city officials enforcing prejudicial planning rules against Palestinians.

The inevitable protests will justify more arrests of Palestinians, including children. This is how bureaucratic ethnic cleansing works.

The Supreme Court also rejected an appeal against a Palestinian family’s eviction from Sheikh Jarrah, another key neighbourhood near the Old City.

The decision opens the way to expelling dozens more families.

B’Tselem, an Israeli rights group, characterised these rulings as “sanctioning the broadest move to dispossess Palestinians since 1967”.

At the same time, Israel’s parliament approved a law to accelerate the settler takeover.

Jews-only housing

Over many years, Israel created a series of national parks around the Old City on the pretext of preserving “green areas”.

Some hem in Palestinian neighborhoods to stop their expansion while others were declared on the land of existing Palestinian homes to justify expelling the occupants.

So where did the homeless immigrant European Jews take refuge?

Palestinian homes usurped in 1948 in Jerusalem
بيت جميل في القطمون بيوت الفلسطنيين المغتصبة عام 1948 في القدس

Now the parliament has reversed course. The new law, drafted by another settler group, Elad, will allow house-building in national parks, but only for Jews.

Elad’s immediate aim is to bolster the settler presence in Silwan, where it has overseen a national park next to Al-Aqsa.

Archaeology has been co-opted to supposedly prove the area was once ruled by King David while thousands of years of subsequent history, most especially the current Palestinian presence, are erased.

Elad’s activities include excavating under Palestinian homes, weakening their foundations.

Image result for US envoy smashes wall dug under Palestinian homes in E. Jerusalem with SLEDGEHAMMER animated gif

We’re heeer….US envoy smashes wall dug under Palestinian homes in E. Jerusalem

A massive new Jewish history-themed visitor centre will dominate Silwan’s entrance.

Completing the project is a $55 million cable car, designed to carry thousands of tourists an hour over Silwan and other neighborhoods, rendering the Palestinian inhabitants invisible as visitors are delivered effortlessly to the Western Wall without ever having to encounter them.

Forgeries, collaborators and excrement

Israeli court upholds shady sale of Jerusalem church property to settlers. The Supreme Court had approved the sale of the New Imperial Hotel and the Petra Hotel, which overlook the Jaffa Gate plaza at the entrance to the Old City, as well as another building in the Muslim Quarter. The judges rejected claims by the Patriarchate that the sale was illegal because it was carried out by unauthorized members of the church, and that Ateret Cohaniam had paid bribes to see the deal through.

 

The settlers have their own underhand methods. With the authorities’ connivance, they have forged documents to seize Palestinian homes closest to Al-Aqsa.

In other cases, the settlers have recruited Arab collaborators to dupe other Palestinians into selling their homes.

Once they gain a foothold, the settlers typically turn the appropriated home into an armed compound.

Noise blares out into the early hours, Palestinian neighbors are subjected to regular police raids and excrement is left in their doorways.

After the recent sale to settlers of a home strategically located in the Old City’s Muslim quarter, the Palestinian Authority (PA) set up a commission of inquiry to investigate.

But the PA is near-powerless to stop this looting after Israel passed a law in 1995 denying it any role in Jerusalem.

The same measure is now being vigorously enforced against the few residents trying to stop the settler banditry.

Adnan Ghaith, Jerusalem’s governor and a Silwan resident, was arrested last week for a second time and banned from entering the West Bank and meeting PA officials.

Disgusting Jewish soldiers defecated in and defaced Palestinian homes during the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza. This is normal Israeli behavior in occupied Palestine.

Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem, is under a six-month travel ban by Israel.

Last week dozens of Palestinians were arrested in Jerusalem, accused of working for the PA to stop house sales to the settlers.

It is a quiet campaign of attrition, designed to wear down Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents.

The hope is that they will eventually despair and relocate to the city’s distant suburbs outside the wall or into the West Bank.

What Palestinians in Jerusalem urgently need is a reason for hope – and a clear signal that other countries will not join the US in

abandoning them.

Palestinians are Christians too.

Paraguay moves Israel embassy back out of Jerusalem

 Israel is a western imperialist outpost. It’s “Jewishness” is a front.

This sets an embarrassing precedent for Netanyahu and serves as an example of what a post-Trump president should do without hesitation.

Former President Horacio Cartes opened the new embassy in Jerusalem on May 21, new Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez opposed it.

September 5, 2018

Castiglioni acknowledged that “some Arab governments expressed their concern to us” after the embassy was shifted to Jerusalem.

The move presents an embarrassing diplomatic setback for Israel, which had hoped to build on the momentum started by the U.S., Guatemala and Paraguay, which all moved their embassies to Jerusalem in May. In response to Paraguay’s decision, Israel said it was shuttering its embassy there, warning that ties between the countries would be “strained” by the decision.

Paraguay’s Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Castiglioni said at a news conference that he hoped “the friends of Israel will not be bothered” by his nation’s reversal and expressed hope for “excellent ties of friendship and cooperation” with both “the states of Israel and Palestine.”

Former President Horacio Cartes opened the new embassy in Jerusalem on May 21, giving a diplomatic victory to Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu. It came only days after the U.S. and Guatemala took similar steps.

But the measure was widely criticized within Paraguay, and Castiglioni described it as “unilateral, visceral and without justification.”

New Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez had opposed the switch even before taking office on Aug. 15.

“One of the most complex components of the conflict (between Israel and the Palestinians) is the status of Jerusalem,” Castiglioni said, and Paraguay believes it should be negotiated between the parties involved — a position still held by most nations.

The about-turn prompted Israel to announce the drastic step that it was closing its embassy in Asuncion and warning that Paraguay’s decision will worsen ties between the countries.

“Israel views very seriously Paraguay’s exceptional decision which will strain the relations between the countries,” said a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

The Palestinians, who were infuriated by the embassy moves, particularly America’s, celebrated Paraguay’s reversal. In a statement, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Paraguay had pledged two weeks ago to return the embassy to Tel Aviv during a visit by Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki to the country.

The statement said Malki “expresses his appreciation and gratitude to the Paraguayan president and his foreign minister for moving the embassy back and for their commitment to international law.”

The Palestinians want Jerusalem’s eastern sector as capital of a hoped-for state, while Israel sees the entire city as its eternal, undivided capital. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war along with the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, territories the Palestinians want for their future state.

Most countries have maintained their embassies in Tel Aviv so as to not prejudge the outcome of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Trump administration’s decision to move the embassy flew in the face of that international consensus and it followed its recognition months earlier of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, another step the Palestinians fiercely opposed.

Castiglioni acknowledged that “some Arab governments expressed their concern to us” after the embassy was shifted to Jerusalem.

He stressed an intention to retain good ties with Israel, saying, “We are friends and historic allies.”

The British conquest of Jerusalem

 Jews, Muslim and Christians were allied against British and Zionist imperialism.

Image result for we are palestine jews

Ecerpt

On the 31st of October 1917 the British took Beer Sheva and started to make their way towards Jerusalem.

In the upcoming days the raids and the fighting in the area intensified, and the residents decided to leave their homes until the situation quietened down .They rented rooms in the nearby Arab village. This did not help Yellin, who took his kettle with him. At nights, the soldiers appeared in the village, and forced the woman whose home he was staying at to give them his biggest cow. The frightened woman woke the whole village.

The fear of the soldiers united the Arab villagers and their Jewish guests and they decided to send a delegation of two Arab women and two Jewish women (the men were mostly army deserters), to the military governor in Dir Yassin, and ask for the Army’s protection. But this did not end their plight. On 12th December, the Turkish army issued an evacuation order from Motza and its nearby Arab villages.

The area was defined as a military zone and all residents were to leave in twelve hours in order to make way for the great battle between the Turks and the British planned for the 3rd of December. “You can imagine”, Yellin addresses his readers, “the great confusion and commotion among the residents. Neither of us slept a wink all night”.

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

Image result for donald trump dopy gif

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!

Image result for christian zionism

“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.

Image result for jews at the wailing wall

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.

source

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.”