Inside the Middle East
October 26, 2010
Posted: 1951 GMT
They looked pretty rough, more than 3,000 years after their prime, and not being an expert I just gawked like the tourists who were filing through.
They looked pretty rough, more than 3,000 years after their prime, and not being an expert I just gawked like the tourists who were filing through.

Just imagine: a world without cancer. It's a tantalizing thought, recently floated by researchers at Manchester University in the UK.

That world may well have existed, but in the distant past, according to their survey of hundreds of mummies from Egypt and South America. The researchers found that only one mummy had clearly identifiable signs of cancer.

The study suggested that industrialization, pollution and the ills of modern life are to blame for the epidemic of cancer now seen sweeping around the globe.

Monday morning I went to the mummy room in Cairo's cavernous Egyptian Museum to have a look for myself. They looked pretty rough, more than 3,000 years after their prime, and not being an expert I just gawked like the tourists who were filing through.

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University Rector   October 26th, 2010 10:28 pm ET

The chronicle of the events of the reign of Ramses II on the wall in Luxor does not know about any major slave revolts or flights by same into the Sinai peninsula. Egyptian sources never heard of Moses or the 12 plagues & etc. Funny how the Egyptians never documneted any stories concerning Jewish slaves or a Jewish exidus to Palestine. Funny how no evidence of Jewish worship has been discovered to exist in Palestine before 1000BC. Only ordinary Canaanite deities have been found in archeological sites through the time period 1000 BC.

So Jerusalem was not 'the city of David,' No sign of magnificent palaces or great states has been found in the archeology of this period, and the Assyrian tablets, which recorded even minor events throughout the Middle East, such as the actions of Arab queens, don't know about any great kingdom of David and Solomon in geographical Palestine.

Since archeology does not show the existence of a Jewish kingdom or kingdoms in the so-called First Temple Period, it is not clear when exactly the Jewish people would have ruled Jerusalem except for the Hasmonean Kingdom. The Assyrians conquered Jerusalem in 722. The Babylonians took it in 597 and ruled it until they were themselves conquered in 539 BCE by the Achaemenids of ancient Iran, who ruled Jerusalem until Alexander the Great took the Levant in the 330s BC.

Alexander's descendants, the Ptolemies ruled Jerusalem until 198 when Alexander's other descendants, the Seleucids, took the city. With the Maccabean Revolt in 168 BCE, the Jewish Hasmonean kingdom did rule Jerusalem until 37 BCE, though Antigonus II Mattathias, the last Hasmonean, only took over Jerusalem with the help of the Parthian dynasty in 40 BCE. Herod ruled 37 BCE until the Romans conquered what they called Palestine in 6 CE (CE= 'Common Era' or what Christians call AD). The Romans and then the Eastern Roman Empire of Byzantium ruled Jerusalem from 6 CE until 614 CE when the Iranian Sasanian Empire Conquered it, ruling until 629 CE when the Byzantines took it back.

Of course, Jews are historically connected to Jerusalem by the Temple, whenever that connection is dated to. But that link mostly was pursued when Jews were not in political control of the city, under Iranian, Greek and Roman rule. It cannot therefore be deployed to make a demand for political control of the whole city.

The Jews of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine did not for the most part leave after the failure of the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans in 136 CE. They continued to live there and to farm in Palestine under Roman rule and then Byzantine. They gradually converted to Christianity. After 638 CE all but 10 percent gradually converted to Islam. The present-day Palestinians are the descendants of the ancient Jews and have every right to live where their ancestors have lived for centuries.

miriam   October 28th, 2010 12:09 pm ET


This cut and paste from the baseless writings of an anti-Zionist, academic specializing in French history, who provides no evidence to support his nothing-new collection of marginal positions, providing food for hungry conspiracists, has nothing to do with the blog topic and is just another piece of anti-Zionist propaganda and delitimization of the Jewish state.

The ancient Egyptian widespread belief in eternal life may not have been realized by mummification, however, the resultant preservation of the dying state has provided science with a basis for a lot of interesting research, as long as egotistical self-righteousness doesn't destroy the evidence of the past and its hidden secrets.

david   October 28th, 2010 12:48 pm ET

Did it ever occur to you cronological freaks( I refer to both sides) that we are human and all have the right to exist. 98% of us want to live in peace and raise our families. Religion in whole is plagued with mutliple forms of terminal cancer driven by power hungrey narrowed minded individuals to afraid to admit they have answers to nothing. The dawn of science had arrived maybe some of us need to wake up and smell the coffee. I won't tell you I have the answers to who belongs to what or where but I can tell you that with certainty it won't be solved beating perceptions of history to death. Nor with killing others children in the name of religion.

Joel Horden   October 28th, 2010 2:17 pm ET

Dear Sir,
While there may be no direct archeological evidence predating King David there is evidence on signet rings and at Tel Dan referring to the House of David and how about the inscriptions on Hezkiyahu's tunnel now in the museum in Istanbul, etc proving that at least some of the Biblical material concerning First Temple times is correct. There is also if I recall correctly Assyrian evidence of Jewish kingdom.
There is also archeological evidence of a large community in Shilo where the tabernacle stood for hundreds of years during the time of the Judges.
Your second point about the Palestinians is also incorrect. There were few Arabs living in Palestine in the19th century. In fact there were more Jews than Arabs living in Jerusalem at that time. The vast majority of Arabs living in Israel-Palestine today are descendents of Arabic speaking peoples from neighboring countries such as Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia who immigrated to Palestine in the 20th century after the Jews built up the Palestinian economy. You should read Joan Peters book on this subject.
Only a very small number of Jews followed Jesus. Most Christians were converts from the Gentile world which allowed Christianity to stop following Mosaic law. As far as converts to Islam they were generally converted by the sword and not gradually. A large part of the Christians in Israel are descendents of the Byzantines who moved to the holy land in the 4th to 6th centuries.

***^^^***   October 29th, 2010 4:32 pm ET

maybe they didn't eat much corn there?

Kathy g   November 2nd, 2010 5:51 am ET

Is this a religious blog? Well then, Abraham had two sons. They were both his sons. Both according to the writings of scripture, had the right of inheritance to the promised land. Ishmael as well as Isaac, and all their descendants. They should stop fighting about it. If you believe in the Bible or Torah.

As an article on archeology (which I believe this is) great piece.

miriam   November 2nd, 2010 12:18 pm ET

Kathy g,

Actually, Isaac was promised the land and to become a great nation whereas Ishmael was just promised to become a great nation.

Early Islam attached importance to the Holy Land because it was holy to the Jews, not because of any attachment to Islam. It is only in recent years that Islam has re-interpreted the Koran to suggest its reference to Jerusalem.

John A   November 4th, 2010 12:57 pm ET

Miriam, you do know that both Isaac & Ishmael are as real as Austin Powers.

They never had cinema back then, but they were still capable of telling a story for entertainment.

miriam   November 5th, 2010 10:26 am ET

John A,

Society is a lot better off abiding by Abrahamic laws rather than the example set by Hollywood etc.

John A   November 7th, 2010 8:38 am ET

Miriam, Does Abrahamic law state you should throw families off land that they have lived in for 1000s of years and attack them with phosphorous bombs? Or does it state Israelis should attack aid flotillas in the middle of the night and in international waters??

Live by your own rules please??

miriam   November 7th, 2010 6:06 pm ET

John A,

International law, derived from Judeo-Christian laws and values, allows sovereign states to protect their citizens from attack on the grounds of self-defense.

International law allows the use of munitions containing white-phosphorus for smoke-screening and illumination as they were used by Israel. They were not used as an anti-personel weapon.
Occasional incendiary effects does not make them incendiary weapons for the purposes of international law.

International law permits the boarding of ships that are intentionally breaking a legal maritime blockade, in international waters, at any time of the day. It is also permissible under international law to engage violent passengers and shoot in self-defense.

According to the definition of "occupation" under customary international law, there has never been any "occupation "of Gaza or the WB by Israel.
Frequent references to the term are politically motivated to justify terrorism, prevent compromise and delegitimize Israel's claims.
It is the Jews who have lived there for 1000s of years whereas most of those who became the Palestinian people in 1967 hadn't lived there for more than a generation.

Revoking the legitimacy of the Jewish state is clearly a violation of international law.

John A   November 24th, 2010 4:39 pm ET

Miriam says, "Revoking the legitimacy of the Jewish state is clearly a violation of international law".

But questioning the legitimacy of the Jewish state is not a violation and is long over due.

John A   November 24th, 2010 4:43 pm ET

Miriam, Actually your even wrong with this.

When the UN created Israel, it clearly demanded that the original Palestinian inhabitants would not be treated as second class citizens.

Therefore Israel the country can exist, but it cant be defined as the Jewish State. This would make all non Jews second class.

Miriam, you lie so often that some times it hard to keep up with all your lies. But I guess thats your strategy right?

miriam   November 29th, 2010 2:59 pm ET

John A,

More myths from you!

The UN did not demand anything of Israel. It was Israel who wrote in her own Declaration of Independence that there would be equality for all inhabitants.

The 1947 UN resolution was based on international recognition that Israel was to be re-established as the homeland for the Jewish people. The Partition Plan was to produce a JEWISH STATE and another Arab state.

The Jewish state does not consider non-Jews second-class citizens.

Your projected ideas belong to other states and religions, not the Jewish ONE.

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