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Archive for February 23rd, 2010

The U.S. Military Now Plans For ‘Possible’ Delay In Iraq Withdrawal

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February 23, 2010: Craig Whitlock / Washington Times – February 23, 2010

The U.S. military has prepared contingency plans to delay the planned withdrawal of all combat forces in Iraq, citing the prospects for political instability and increased violence as Iraqis hold national elections next month.

Under a deadline set by President Obama, all combat forces are slated to withdraw from Iraq by the end of August, and there remains heavy political pressure in Washington and Baghdad to stick to that schedule. But Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Monday that he had briefed officials in Washington in the past week about possible contingency plans. Odierno declined to describe the plans in detail and said he was optimistic they would not be necessary. But he said he was prepared to make the changes “if we run into problems” in the coming months.

Iraqis are scheduled to go to the polls March 7 for parliamentary elections that Iraqi and U.S. officials describe as a political milestone for the country. With less than two weeks to go in the campaign, however, concern is rising over whether the results will be undermined by political boycotts, low turnout or an increase in bloodshed. Religious enmities and rivalries are already resurfacing. Although U.S. diplomats and military officials said they are working intensely behind the scenes to hold the political process together, they are finding that their influence in Iraq is steadily on the wane.

“The Iraqi mood is very nationalistic at the moment and just not interested in extending the American presence,” said Marc Lynch, a political science professor at George Washington University and an expert on Iraqi politics. “When the United States gets really involved in contentious issues now, it just turns into political dynamite.”

U.S. officials said the likelihood that they would keep combat forces in Iraq past August is remote. Many of the forces are needed in Afghanistan, where Obama has approved a surge of 30,000 troops. “We would have to see a pretty considerable deterioration of the situation in Iraq, and we don’t see that, certainly, at this point,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday.

Under Obama’s plan, about 50,000 troops will remain in the country through 2011 to train Iraqi forces, perform counterterrorism operations and help with civilian projects. The United States has signed a legal agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw all forces by the end of 2011, and Odierno said there has been no discussion about renegotiating that timetable. U.S. commanders have already reduced the presence in Iraq to about 96,000 military personnel, Odierno said — the first time since the 2003 invasion that fewer than 100,000 U.S. troops have been in the country. The U.S. military presence reached a peak of 166,000 troops in October 2007.

“Right now, our plan is to be at 50,000 by the 1st of September,” he said. “And if you ask me today, I’m fully committed and I believe that’s the right course of action.

With several major coalitions competing for power, U.S. officials said they are bracing for a prolonged period of political instability in Iraq after the elections. Many predicted a repeat of 2005, when it took Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki several months to form a government.

“How long this is going to take, this government formation, that is really the rub,” Christopher R. Hill, U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, told the Council on Foreign Relations last week. “There’s a good reason why people are worried.”

But Hill said the United States needs to be mindful of its limited ability to affect the political situation in Iraq these days. “I’ll tell you what our leverage is,” he added. “Our leverage is not somehow threatening to withdraw troops or threatening to invade some boardroom with troops. Our leverage is to say: Iraq, if you want a good relationship with us — a long-term relationship with us — we need to make sure these elections are democratic.”

A handful of violent incidents Monday highlighted how volatile the security situation remains just weeks before the parliamentary elections. Near the northern city of Kirkuk, which is contested by Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens, a Kurdish Iraqi army colonel was killed Monday, police said. Gunmen with automatic weapons ambushed Lt. Col Ali Ihasan east of the city, officials said.

Meanwhile, police said gunmen stormed a house in the southern outskirts of Baghdad and killed eight members of a family, including children. Some of the residents were beheaded, police said.

A spokesman for Ahmed Chalabi, the erstwhile U.S. ally and a candidate in the upcoming elections, said late Monday that the slaying targeted a man who had been active in the campaign. The spokesman, Entifadh Qanbar, also a candidate, identified the head of the family as Shahid Majeed Mayrosh and called him a “courageous activist” for the Iraqi National Alliance. Other Iraqi authorities declined to corroborate the assertion.

Iraqi and U.S. officials have reported a spike in rocket attacks targeting the Green Zone in Baghdad and American bases. U.S. officials said Shiite militia groups have stocked up on rockets and other weapons, which they say are smuggled from Iran.

American officials say it has become harder to understand the scope and dynamics of violence in Iraq now that the U.S. military has a small footprint in Iraqi cities.

“Is this the beginning of sectarian warfare, is it tribal, is it AQI?” a U.S. military official said, using the abbreviation for the Sunni insurgency group al-Qaeda in Iraq. “It’s hard to know if these are localized killings for political reasons or violence to spread a blanket of fear so people don’t go to the polls.”

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Our troops will never leave Iraq until the Battle of Armageddon reaps its harvest of souls… – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/22/AR2010022202933.html

Florida Bankers Introduce A Bill To Speed Up Foreclosure Process!

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February 23, 2010: James Thorner / St. Petersburg Times – January 29, 2010

If bankers get their way, Floridians facing foreclosure could be kicked out of their homes in as little as three months.

The Florida Bankers Association, the 400-member-strong lenders’ lobby, has presented state legislators with a bill to upend decades of Florida law and establish “non-judicial” foreclosures in Florida by July 1 (2010).

What’s a non-judicial foreclosure? Banks would accelerate foreclosures against defaulting homeowners by bypassing the courts. Judges would no longer rule on foreclosure cases.

Some states — 37 in fact — already grant that fast-track foreclosure authority, including California, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. But Florida, with its plethora of vacation and retiree homes, has always been big on homeowner rights.

If you’re a financially strapped Florida homeowner — 62,719 Tampa Bay properties got foreclosure notices last year — the 53-page bill contains worrisome signs:

• Non-judicial foreclosures must conclude in no less than three months and no more than a year. Most Florida foreclosures take a year to 18 months to work through the courts these days, longer if a lawyer fights a successful rear guard action. So in 90 days banks can theoretically auction the home out from under you.

• The Florida Supreme Court’s newly endorsed mandatory mediation for lenders and homeowners would effectively go bye-bye. The bill provides only for informal meetings between creditors and debtors.

• Even after homeowners are evicted, banks can still pursue them for unpaid mortgage debt. But banks will waive that right if homeowners avoid trashing or stripping the house before the new owner takes over.

The bankers association has titled the bill The Florida Consumer Protection and Homeowner Credit Rehabilitation Act. Association president Alex Sanchez views the bill as a way to break a foreclosure crisis partly caused by mortgage fraud.

He offered a list of innocents the bankers aim to help: neighbors annoyed by abandoned houses next door; condo associations pursuing dues from properties in legal limbo; cities grappling with urban blight; and judges overloaded with thousands of foreclosure cases.

“We don’t want the property. We’re not into the property management business,” Sanchez said of bankers. “We want to get a property out of the courts and sold to a productive Florida family.”

Finalizing a foreclosure is time-consuming and expensive. The longer a property lingers in the courts, the longer banks get no mortgage income from the property. One Tampa mortgage banker revealed this month that each foreclosure can cost lenders an additional $30,000 in legal fees.

The law would apply to foreclosures after July 1, not old cases already in the courts. Kristopher Fernandez, a Tampa foreclosure attorney, blames the banks themselves for much of the judicial foot dragging.

“These cases are stuck in legal limbo because banks don’t want to push foreclosures,” Fernandez said. “I’ve seen cases where nothing is done. The lenders don’t want these homes back. They know they have to pay assessments once they take them back.”

Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge Thomas McGrady backs up that point. McGrady has talked about a “dam” in the courts from banks reluctant to schedule sales of foreclosure homes.

What’s the chance of this legal revolution getting consideration? The Florida Legislature convenes on March 2. As of yet, the bill has neither an official number nor formal sponsors.

With populism resurgent and anti-banker attitudes rife, passage could be a stretch. Gov. Charlie Crist would have to sign a pro-banker bill as he’s contesting a U.S. Senate seat with state Rep. Marco Rubio.

“We’ve had conversations in both chambers to have it filed,” said Anthony DiMarco, the bankers association’s executive vice president of government affairs. “Sure, it’s a change in Florida law. But it will help us get to the bottom of the foreclosure crisis faster.”

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: I can foresee the rental of bulldozers skyrocketing if this actually gets passed… – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/realestate/article1069024.ece

ClimateGate: Inhofe Calls For Department Of Justice Investigation!

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February 23, 2010:  Charlie Martin / Pajamas Media – February 23, 2010

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) today asked the Obama administration to investigate what he called “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation” — the actions of climate scientists revealed by the Climategate Files, and the subsequent admissions by the editors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Senator Inhofe also called for former Vice President Al Gore to be called back to the Senate to testify. “In [Gore’s] science fiction movie, every assertion has been rebutted,” Inhofe said. He believes Vice President Gore should defend himself and his movie before Congress.

Just prior to a hearing at 10:00 a.m. EST, Senator Inhofe released a minority staff report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which he is ranking member. Senator Inhofe is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or criminal actions by the scientists involved, including Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Science.

This report, obtained exclusively by Pajamas Media before today’s hearing, alleges:

[The] Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works believe the scientists involved may have violated fundamental ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and, in some cases, federal laws. In addition to these findings, we believe the emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC -backed “consensus” and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes.

As has been reported here at Pajamas Media over the last several months, the exposure of the Climategate Files has led to a re-examination of the IPCC Assessment Reports, especially the fourth report (AR4), published in 2007. The IPCC AR4 report was named by Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson as one of the major sources of scientific support for the agency’s Endangerment Finding, the first step towards allowing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Since the Climategate Files were released, the IPCC has been forced to retract a number of specific conclusions — such as a prediction that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 — and has been forced to confirm that the report was based in large part on reports from environmental activist groups instead of peer-reviewed scientific literature. Dr. Murari Lal, an editor of the IPCC AR4 report, admitted to the London Daily Mail that he had known the 2035 date was false, but was included in the report anyway “purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

Based on this Minority Staff report, Senator Inhofe will be calling for an investigation into potential research misconduct and possible criminal acts by the researchers involved. At the same time, Inhofe will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen its consideration of an Endangerment Finding for carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Federal Clean Air Act, and will ask Congress to withdraw funding for further consideration of carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

In requesting that the EPA reopen the Endangerment Finding, Inhofe joins with firms such as the Peabody Energy Company and several state Attorneys General (such as Texas and Virginia) in objecting to the Obama administration’s attempt to extend regulatory control over carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Senator Inhofe believes this staff report “strengthens the case” for the Texas and Virginia Attorneys General.

Senator Inhofe’s announcement today appears to be the first time a member of Congress has formally called for an investigation into research misconduct and potential criminal acts by the scientists involved.

The staff report describes four major issues revealed by the Climategate Files and the subsequent revelations:

  1. The emails suggest some climate scientists were cooperating to obstruct the release of damaging information and counter-evidence.
  2. They suggest scientists were manipulating the data to reach predetermined conclusions.
  3. They show some climate scientists colluding to pressure journal editors not to publish work questioning the “consensus.”
  4. They show that scientists involved in the report were assuming the role of climate activists attempting to influence public opinion while claiming scientific objectivity.

The report notes a number of potential legal issues raised by their Climategate investigation:

  1. It suggests scientific misconduct that may violate the Shelby Amendment — requiring open access to the results of government-funded research — and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policies on scientific misconduct (which were announced December 12, 2000).
  2. It notes the potential for violations of the Federal False Statements and False Claims Acts, which may have both civil and criminal penalties.
  3. The report also notes the possibility of there having been an obstruction of Congress in Congressional Proceeds, which may constitute an obstruction of justice.

If proven, these charges could subject the scientists involved to debarment from federally funded research, and even to criminal penalties.

By naming potential criminal offenses, Senator Inhofe raises the stakes for climate scientists and others involved. Dr. Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit has already been forced to step aside because of the Climategate FOIA issues, and Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State is currently under investigation by the university for potential misconduct. Adding possible criminal charges to the mix increases the possibility that some of the people involved may choose to blow the whistle in order to protect themselves.

Senator Inhofe believes that Dr. Hansen and Dr. Mann should be “let go” from their posts “for the good of the institutions involved.”

The question, of course, is whether the Senate Democratic majority will allow this investigation to proceed, in the face of the Obama administration’s stated intention to regulate CO2 following the apparent death of cap and trade legislation. The Democratic majority has blocked previous attempts by Inhofe to investigate issues with climate science.

For more of PJM’s most recent Climategate coverage, read Charlie Martin’s “Climategate: The World’s Biggest Story, Everywhere but Here“.

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: If allowed to proceed, it will be interesting to see who throws who under the flaming bus known as the AGW criminal scam… – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/climategate-and-the-law-senator-inhofe-to-ask-for-congressional-criminal-investigation-pajamas-mediapjtv-exclusive/?singlepage=true

Gobekli Tepe: The Oldest Known Temple Discovered In The World

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February 23, 2010: Patrick Symmes / Newsweek – February 19, 2010

They call it potbelly hill, after the soft, round contour of this final lookout in southeastern Turkey. To the north are forested mountains. East of the hill lies the biblical plain of Harran, and to the south is the Syrian border, visible 20 miles away, pointing toward the ancient lands of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent, the region that gave rise to human civilization. And under our feet, according to archeologist Klaus Schmidt, are the stones that mark the spot—the exact spot—where humans began that ascent.

Standing on the hill at dawn, overseeing a team of 40 Kurdish diggers, the German-born archeologist waves a hand over his discovery here, a revolution in the story of human origins. Schmidt has uncovered a vast and beautiful temple complex, a structure so ancient that it may be the very first thing human beings ever built. The site isn’t just old, it redefines old: the temple was built 11,500 years ago—a staggering 7,000 years before the Great Pyramid, and more than 6,000 years before Stonehenge first took shape. The ruins are so early that they predate villages, pottery, domesticated animals, and even agriculture—the first embers of civilization. In fact, Schmidt thinks the temple itself, built after the end of the last Ice Age by hunter-gatherers, became that ember—the spark that launched mankind toward farming, urban life, and all that followed.

Göbekli Tepe—the name in Turkish for “potbelly hill”—lays art and religion squarely at the start of that journey. After a dozen years of patient work, Schmidt has uncovered what he thinks is definitive proof that a huge ceremonial site flourished here, a “Rome of the Ice Age,” as he puts it, where hunter-gatherers met to build a complex religious community. Across the hill, he has found carved and polished circles of stone, with terrazzo flooring and double benches. All the circles feature massive T-shaped pillars that evoke the monoliths of Easter Island.

Though not as large as Stonehenge—the biggest circle is 30 yards across, the tallest pillars 17 feet high—the ruins are astonishing in number. Last year Schmidt found his third and fourth examples of the temples. Ground-penetrating radar indicates that another 15 to 20 such monumental ruins lie under the surface. Schmidt’s German-Turkish team has also uncovered some 50 of the huge pillars, including two found in his most recent dig season that are not just the biggest yet, but, according to carbon dating, are the oldest monumental artworks in the world.

The new discoveries are finally beginning to reshape the slow-moving consensus of archeology. Göbekli Tepe is “unbelievably big and amazing, at a ridiculously early date,” according to Ian Hodder, director of Stanford’s archeology program. Enthusing over the “huge great stones and fantastic, highly refined art” at Göbekli, Hodder—who has spent decades on rival Neolithic sites—says: “Many people think that it changes everythingIt overturns the whole apple cart. All our theories were wrong.”

Schmidt’s thesis is simple and bold: it was the urge to worship that brought mankind together in the very first urban conglomerations. The need to build and maintain this temple, he says, drove the builders to seek stable food sources, like grains and animals that could be domesticated, and then to settle down to guard their new way of life. The temple begat the city.

This theory reverses a standard chronology of human origins, in which primitive man went through a “Neolithic revolution” 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. In the old model, shepherds and farmers appeared first, and then created pottery, villages, cities, specialized labor, kings, writing, art, and—somewhere on the way to the airplane—organized religion. As far back as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, thinkers have argued that the social compact of cities came first, and only then the “high” religions with their great temples, a paradigm still taught in American high schools.

Religion now appears so early in civilized life—earlier than civilized life, if Schmidt is correct—that some think it may be less a product of culture than a cause of it, less a revelation than a genetic inheritance. The archeologist Jacques Cauvin once posited that “the beginning of the gods was the beginning of agriculture,” and Göbekli may prove his case.

The builders of Göbekli Tepe could not write or leave other explanations of their work. Schmidt speculates that nomadic bands from hundreds of miles in every direction were already gathering here for rituals, feasting, and initiation rites before the first stones were cut. The religious purpose of the site is implicit in its size and location. “You don’t move 10-ton stones for no reason,” Schmidt observes. “Temples like to be on high sites,” he adds, waving an arm over the stony, round hilltop. “Sanctuaries like to be away from the mundane world.”

Unlike most discoveries from the ancient world, Göbekli Tepe was found intact, the stones upright, the order and artistry of the work plain even to the un-trained eye. Most startling is the elaborate carving found on about half of the 50 pillars Schmidt has unearthed. There are a few abstract symbols, but the site is almost covered in graceful, naturalistic sculptures and bas-reliefs of the animals that were central to the imagination of hunter-gatherers. Wild boar and cattle are depicted, along with totems of power and intelligence, like lions, foxes, and leopards. Many of the biggest pillars are carved with arms, including shoulders, elbows, and jointed fingers. The T shapes appear to be towering humanoids but have no faces, hinting at the worship of ancestors or humanlike deities. “In the Bible it talks about how God created man in his image,” says Johns Hopkins archeologist Glenn Schwartz. Göbekli Tepe “is the first time you can see humans with that idea, that they resemble gods.”

The temples thus offer unexpected proof that mankind emerged from the 140,000-year reign of hunter-gatherers with a ready vocabulary of spiritual imagery, and capable of huge logistical, economic, and political efforts. A Catholic born in Franconia, Germany, Schmidt wanders the site in a white turban, pointing out the evidence of that transition. “The people here invented agriculture. They were the inventors of cultivated plants, of domestic architecture,” he says.

Göbekli sits at the Fertile Crescent’s northernmost tip, a productive borderland on the shoulder of forests and within sight of plains. The hill was ideally situated for ancient hunters. Wild gazelles still migrate past twice a year as they did 11 millennia ago, and birds fly overhead in long skeins. Genetic mapping shows that the first domestication of wheat was in this immediate area—perhaps at a mountain visible in the distance—a few centuries after Göbekli’s founding. Animal husbandry also began near here—the first domesticated pigs came from the surrounding area in about 8000 B.C., and cattle were domesticated in Turkey before 6500 B.C. Pottery followed. Those discoveries then flowed out to places like Çatalhöyük, the oldest-known Neolithic village, which is 300 miles to the west.

The artists of Göbekli Tepe depicted swarms of what Schmidt calls “scary, nasty” creatures: spiders, scorpions, snakes, triple-fanged monsters, and, most common of all, carrion birds. The single largest carving shows a vulture poised over a headless human. Schmidt theorizes that human corpses were ex-posed here on the hilltop for consumption by birds—what a Tibetan would call a sky burial. Sifting the tons of dirt removed from the site has produced very few human bones, however, perhaps because they were removed to distant homes for ancestor worship. Absence is the source of Schmidt’s great theoretical claim. “There are no traces of daily life,” he explains. “No fire pits. No trash heaps. There is no water here.” Everything from food to flint had to be imported, so the site “was not a village,” Schmidt says. Since the temples predate any known settlement anywhere, Schmidt concludes that man’s first house was a house of worship: “First the temple, then the city,” he insists.

Some archeologists, like Hodder, the Neolithic specialist, wonder if Schmidt has simply missed evidence of a village or if his dating of the site is too precise. But the real reason the ruins at Göbekli remain almost unknown, not yet incorporated in textbooks, is that the evidence is too strong, not too weak. “The problem with this discovery,” as Schwartz of Johns Hopkins puts it, “is that it is unique.” No other monumental sites from the era have been found. Before Göbekli, humans drew stick figures on cave walls, shaped clay into tiny dolls, and perhaps piled up small stones for shelter or worship. Even after Göbekli, there is little evidence of sophisticated building. Dating of ancient sites is highly contested, but Çatalhöyük is probably about 1,500 years younger than Göbekli, and features no carvings or grand constructions. The walls of Jericho, thought until now to be the oldest monumental construction by man, were probably started more than a thousand years after Göbekli. Huge temples did emerge again—but the next unambiguous example dates from 5,000 years later, in southern Iraq.

The site is such an outlier that an American archeologist who stumbled on it in the 1960s simply walked away, unable to interpret what he saw. On a hunch, Schmidt followed the American’s notes to the hilltop 15 years ago, a day he still recalls with a huge grin. He saw carved flint everywhere, and recognized a Neolithic quarry on an adjacent hill, with unfinished slabs of limestone hinting at some monument buried nearby. “In one minute—in one second—it was clear,” the bearded, sun-browned archeologist recalls. He too considered walking away, he says, knowing that if he stayed, he would have to spend the rest of his life digging on the hill.

Now 55 and a staff member at the German Archaeological Institute, Schmidt has joined a long line of his countrymen here, reaching back to Heinrich Schliemann, the discoverer of Troy. He has settled in, marrying a Turkish woman and making a home in a modest “dig house” in the narrow streets of old Urfa. Decades of work lie ahead.

Disputes are normal at the site—the workers, Schmidt laments, are divided into three separate clans who feud constantly. (“Three groups,” the archeologist says, exasperated. “Not two. Three!”) So far Schmidt has uncovered less than 5 percent of the site, and he plans to leave some temples untouched so that future researchers can examine them with more sophisticated tools.

Whatever mysterious rituals were conducted in the temples, they ended abruptly before 8000 B.C., when the entire site was buried, deliberately and all at once, Schmidt believes. The temples had been in decline for a thousand years—later circles are less than half the size of the early ones, indicating a lack of resources or motivation among the worshipers. This “clear digression” followed by a sudden burial marks “the end of a very strange culture,” Schmidt says. But it was also the birth of a new, settled civilization, humanity having now exchanged the hilltops of hunters for the valleys of farmers and shepherds. New ways of life demand new religious practices, Schmidt suggests, and “when you have new gods, you have to get rid of the old ones.”

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Is this pagan temple actually the oldest constructed in human history? It could be. Take note in the Bible of the two different creations in Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:7 as it explains itself if you read further – Any questions? Please comment…  –  SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.newsweek.com/id/233844/page/3

Written by Steven John Hibbs

February 23, 2010 at 12:05 am

Israeli Dig Uncovers A 3000 Year Old Wall From Time Of Solomon

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February 23, 2010: Gwen Ackerman / Bloomberg – February 22, 2010

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) — An ancient stone wall uncovered just outside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City may be the first structural evidence of biblical King Solomon’s building in the city, an archaeologist said today.

“A comparison of this latest finding with city walls and gates from the period of the First Temple, as well as pottery found at the site, enable us to postulate with a great degree of assurance that the wall revealed was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the latter part of the 10th century B.C.E.,” dig director archaeologist Eilat Mazar said.

The six-meter-high wall and its surrounding complex of a gatehouse and a corner tower were excavated over the past three weeks in a dig conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the latest of finds linked to the reigns of David and Solomon.

In December 2008, archaeologists found the remains of a walled city over a plain where the Bible claims David killed Goliath, and Hebrew University professor Yosef Garfinkel said the find supported the biblical portrayal of David as a ruler of a kingdom strong enough to field an army.

Palestinian archaeologists have criticized their Israeli counterparts’ rush to link finds to the Bible. The Old City of Jerusalem houses sites holy to all three of the world’s monotheistic religions.

The section is in east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed in a move never internationally recognized. The Palestinians seek the area as the capital of their independent state.

Ruling Presence

The 3,000-year-old wall discovered this month in Jerusalem “testifies to a ruling presence. Its strength and form of construction indicate a high level of engineering,” Mazar said.

“The Bible tells us that Solomon built, with the assistance of the Phoenicians, who were outstanding builders, the Temple and his new palace and surrounded them with a city, most probably connected to the more ancient wall of the City of David,” she added.

Mazar’s biblical reference was the Bible’s First Book of Kings, chapter 3, verse one:

“And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord and the wall of Jerusalem around about.”

Discovered along with the wall were seal impressions on jar handles with the words “to the king,” and other bullae with Hebrew names that also testified to the royal nature of the structure, Mazar told journalists at the site.

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: And so the race continues to find the ancient artifacts of human origin in order to shape the future…SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601104&sid=ayIaI8YxoAa4

Written by Steven John Hibbs

February 23, 2010 at 12:01 am