Recently, there was a lot of hot air blowing from the pages of the MA'AN News Agency (a 'Palestinian' Authority "mouthpiece"). The headline read: "Right-wing Israelis storm Solomon's Pools near Bethlehem." The article noted that dozens of "settlers" stormed the area and “surrounded” the pools where they “performed Jewish religious rituals” under “the protection of heavily armed Israeli forces.”
It all sounds very sinister.
Except that it wasn't. It turns out that during the Oslo negotiations, those doing the negotiating on the Israel side were not very aware of Jewish history and placed both Solomon's Pools and Rachel's Tomb on the ‘Palestinian’ side of the map. When Rabbi Hanan Porat, z”l, objected, the line was drawn correctly at Rachel's Tomb, but through the name on the map rather than around the pools themselves. So, it came to be that our visit to the edge of the pool crossed into Area A of the now defunct Oslo Accords.
A large group, of which I was part, was excited to visit Solomon’s Pools — most likely built by King Herod and named after the Biblical King Solomon — on the morning of Israeli Independence Day. Our homes are located in Gush Etzion, which was populated with Jewish towns until they were destroyed during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. We actually live in nice homes with gardens, and schools, and there are restaurants and stores. I usually shave as well, although some people have beards and would fit nicely into The New York Times definition of ‘Israeli Settler.’
That morning, we climbed down the mountain from Efrat and made our way to peek in one of the lower pools. It was pretty awesome to see such a large pool but it would have been nicer if it was full of water and someone was available from whom to rent fishing rods or a paddle boat.
The article mentioned that we were accompanied by “heavily armed” soldiers. This was actually so we wouldn't be killed by our neighbors, the ‘Palestinians’ — a technicality, yes, but an important one.
The article also noted: "The internationally recognized Palestinian territories have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967." Actually, only three countries recognized an occupation of the 'West Bank' (Judea and Samaria), and that was by Jordan prior to 1967 without any reference to 'Palestinians'.
Since, then, the ownership of the land has been in dispute. The international community (and even some Israelis) would like to give at least part of the Land to the 'Palestinians', but the Arabs won't accept it unless they get all the rest of the Land on both sides of the old 1949 Armistice Agreements line.
It turns out that immediately after World War II, the major powers were hoping to divide the Land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean among Jews and local Arabs — now, referred to as 'Palestinians'. But, when the latter — under the advice of the surrounding Arab States — refused to countenance any Jewish independence in what the Romans named Palestine, the 'Palestinians' lost their chance for an independent state.
Ironically, it wasn't Israel that prevented the 'Palestinians' from having their own state in part of the land upon the signing of the 1949 Armistice Agreement, but the Egyptians and Jordanians, who ruled both Gaza, the West Bank and part of Jerusalem, respectively, until 1967.
These governments supported the Palestine Liberation Organization in their quest to destroy the State of Israel — even the one that existed prior to the 1967 war. A quest that hasn't changed even until now.
In summary, the MA'AN News Agency might be said to be full of hot air. One might expect this from our summertime weather, but news agencies should report the news, not fables. As to our weather: cooler, westerly winds came upon us last Shabbat. They will bring a welcome respite of a few days from the heat. However, on Monday, high pressure will begin to build eastward off the African continent. It will intensify during the week and the heat should peak on or about Shabbat.
Our local area model in combination with the Global Ensemble Forecast Systems model suggests that there is a 100% chance that temperatures will be between 36 and 40 degrees Celsius (96 -104 F) in Jerusalem on Friday. In the coastal plains (just eastward of the sea-breeze), temperatures could exceed 40 C (104 F). A cool front should pass through late Friday or Shabbat, returning temperatures to more comfortable levels. There could even be a few rain showers.
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.