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Introduction | An Attack's Anatomy

The Cross of Bethlehem

The Cross of Bethlehem II

Inventing Jerusalem

Jerusalem Municipality Destroys Millenia of History



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On February 13, 2012, Israel Nature and Parks Authority bulldozers destroyed the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, and the adjacent playground and café. This was done following the construction approval of Mercaz Kedem (Kedem Center) by the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee the day before. Denizens were denied a proper opportunity to appeal.


Poor Goliath!


Wadi Hilweh Center being destroyed

Wadi Hilweh Center being destroyed

On December 23, 2011, I commented in Jerusalem’s Ripped Veil on Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, problematic announcement. He said that Israel “should relinquish Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods beyond the separation barrier.” It was a highly unusual statement even for a secular politician. After being almost stoned to death beyond the walls of the Old City, he made a zigzag. On Sunday, he supported the destruction of Silwan—which was supposed to be beyond Barkat’s wall—for the sake of a Jewish center. Also supported the disaster Israel Antiquities Authority’s Jerusalem District director Dr. Yuval Baruch. “This is one of the most important projects in Jerusalem in recent generations,” he said. “There is an important link here between the Ophel Garden, the City of David and the Western Wall,” he added. Both, Baruch and Barkat, forgot the link of the denizens to their properties.

Mercaz Kedem is to be built on stilts, above an excavation site known as “Givati parking lot.” Designed by architect Arieh Rahamimov, it will include a parking lot, exhibition space, classrooms, and an observation deck. The latter will enable visitors to view recently discovered archaeological findings dating to biblical times. Silwan residents objected to the plan, claiming that it bolsters the process of Judaization of Silwan and strengthens right-wing Elad organization’s hold on the site. “The public interest is to prevent massive construction opposite the walls of the Old City and certainly not to build on top of the major archaeological strata uncovered,” said archaeologist Yoni Mizrahi, from Emek Shaveh, an umbrella organization of left-wing archaeologists. “The archeology should be presented as part of Silwan where it was found, and not disconnected from it. The decision to erect a building in the Givati parking lot will fortify the Elad organization’s Israeli settlement in Silwan and further exclude the Palestinian residents from their right to their village’s past.”


Silwan Map

Silwan | Across a Wadi from the Old City





Most readers with Biblical background would not be surprised to find “Silwan” is derived from the Hebrew name of a well known place. Silwan was derived from the Greek, Siloam, which is the closest transliteration to that language of the Hebrew “Shiloah.” The village is located on the eastern slope of the Kidron Valley, above the opening of the Gihon Spring, and opposite the City of David (see map). In other words, it’s next to the Old City of Jerusalem. In the Bible, it appears several times, for example see “the waters of Shiloah that go softly” (Isaiah 8:6). It is probably best known as the site where Jesus healed a man blind from birth as described in the Gospel of John, 9:7: “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” The picture below shows the pool nowadays.





Silwan | Invisible to Israel


An inconvenient truth for Israel is that the village is nowadays populated by Palestinians. Following Goliath-inspired efforts, forty Jewish families settled there among 31,000 Palestinians. Needless to say, the settlers violate international law. In another ugly reminder of Israeli discrimination, I must comment that a Jewish settlement of such a size would be defined as a “city” by the Israeli Administration; however, by keeping Silwan a village, administrative funds can be kept at a minimum.

The village is built atop and around the cemetery of Biblical Jerusalem. The site contains fifty rock-cut tombs assumed to be the burial places of the Judean kingdom's high ranking officials. Tomb inscriptions are in Hebrew. The new center being built would reveal part of the antiquities. “But it’s on stilts, no damage would be caused!” some readers may be thinking now. That’s the claim being broadcast in every possible way by the Zionists in their futile effort to justify the crime. However, the Christian and Muslim periods of the area are being obliterated. This was the site of ancient churches and monasteries. The Muslim village was the site of several important events, including the infiltration through ancient underground sewage channels to Jerusalem of thousands of rebels during the 1834 rebellion against Ibrahim Pasha. Israel is erasing non-Jewish Jerusalem’s history.

Once the center is finished, visitors would access the village by a road designed to show as few Palestinian houses as possible. Then an overwhelmed American donor visiting the site would stand in the new center constructed by the State of Israel and would skip millennia while looking below, at the ancient tombs. Everything in between would have been deleted. “Oscar Wilde was correct, there was nothing here in the 19th century,” he would exclaim in his way to the Jewish cafeteria built atop the Palestinian café destroyed yesterday. “History ended millennia ago and was renewed only in our generation,” he would write in his diary, proud of his epiphany.




Our fictional American visitor would return to what he calls home and show his friends pictures of his travel to Biblical Jerusalem. He lives in a place called “New Rome,” in the county of “New Paris,” which is part of the US State of New Sahara. The names don’t really matter, as long as you keep placing the prefix “new,” you would probably hit a real place in the USA. Even “New York” works well.

Our fictional American visitor was unaware that he made in the Holy Land the same error he does at home. In my 2006 visit to the USA, I met several times Shanadii, the granddaughter of Geronimo, the 19th century Apache leader. The details of some of these encounters appear in The Cross of Bethlehem II – Back in Bethlehem. One of the most touching sentences she kept repeating was “I have the right to demand ownership of this entire valley (Canyoncito) from the USA government.” Needless to say, she was kept practically prisoner by yet another government fighting an inconvenient truth. No government—Zionist or American—can steal from the people. No government—Zionist or American—can delete history, even if it got stuck in 1984.

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All texts and background photo © Roi Tov 2004—2014 tovroy@aol.com

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