Digging up the past releases curses, reveals truths but time for Israelis and Palestinians to maturely move on.

By David E. Kaplan

If times today are troubling and the suggestion is that we may have displeased the Almighty, then a recent reading of a 3,200-year-old folded-lead tablet reveals little has changed over the millennia.

The ancient tablet found on Mount Ebal that was recently subjected to special x-ray investigation to reveal what is believed could be the oldest known HEBREW writing ever found in Israel, reads disturbingly:

You are cursed by the God

Digging up the Past. The 3,200-year-old “curse tablet” found on Mount Ebal could prove Israelites were literate when they entered the land. (Photo by Jaroslav Valach)

If over three millennia later we are still upsetting the Almighty by our wayward ways – hardly a challenging task – then look how this ancient finding may have upset the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. It’s not the message that Jews are cursed by God that would rattle him – in this he far outshines the Almighty – but the language in which it is written – HEBREW – the  spoken language of the ancient Jewish Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. 

If what experts suggest is correct, this would make the tablet the first use of the name of God in the Land of Israel and would prove that Israelites were literate hundreds of years earlier than previously supposed. In other words, Israelites in the Land of Israel speaking Hebrew – albeit an earlier version – as we are doing today. This completely refutes Abbas’ false protestations recently at the United Nations where he challenged historic Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

Can’t the PA leader get over that Jews have been living in this neck of the proverbial woods for thousands of years. But no, in customary theatrics he has to again stand up in the UN as he did on that Israel/Jewish hate-fest, the 75th anniversary of Nakba Day and dismissed with gusto, any Jewish ties to Jerusalem. And this display in folly was happening all the while ancient tablets are unveiled to the world affirming Jewish life here over three thousand years ago. An article in Heritage Science states that the finding:

 “…is the oldest Hebrew text found within the borders of ancient Israel … by at least two centuries.”

No wonder Abbas does not approve of any digging around in Jerusalem – the ‘truth’ is the last thing he wants to unearth.

No Ties. A gesticulating Mahmoud Abbas (centre), President of the State of Palestine denies any Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in his address at the event to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Nakba.

‘God’ forbid that  anything is revealed that disputes the increasingly popular PA narrative that Jews are a colonial European implant.

Abbas’ unabashed antisemitic protestations are consistent with personal past conduct and of his political peers. In Qatar on Feb. 26, 2012, at an Arab League conference, Abbas refuted any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem, a diplomatic strategy that began with his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, who questioned whether the Temple even ever existed.

There is nothing there,” Arafat said at the at the Camp David summit in July 2000. He amplified this two years later in the leading pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat, Arafat with:

They found not a single stone proving the Temple was there …”

It goes on and on.

No Attempt at Outreach. Denying Jewish historic connection to Jerusalem during his speech at UN Headquarter in New York, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas compared Israeli rhetoric to Nazi propaganda and demanded Israel be suspended from the UN if it does not grant Palestinians a “right of return” for millions of refugees.

A month after Camp David, Abbas himself continued with Arafat’s ideological position on the Temple in an Israeli-Arab weekly, adding:

“… they claim that 2,000 years ago they had a temple. I challenge the claim that this is so.”

Others in the PA “Chorus Line” stuck to this nefarious narrative :

  •  Interviewed in al-Ayyam, the late Nabil Shaath spoke of Jerusalem’s  “fictitious temple
  •   The late Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat asserted  that “…. there never was a Temple at al-Quds, “only  a “mosque.”
  • Palestinian politician and a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee,  Yasser Abd Rabbo, told Le Monde in September 2000 that “There was no archaeological evidence that the Temple ever existed on the Temple Mount.”
Shock and Outrage. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas causes shock and outrage when he accuses Israel of perpetrating “50 holocausts” at a press conference alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a joint press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on August 16, 2022. (Jens Schlueter/AFP)

This can go on and on. No-one benefits and people on all sides die violently. Israelis too have to seriously come to the table and recognise that Palestinians are here to stay and help create a climate that can eventually lead to the elusive “Two-State Solution” that is losing traction but that Netanyahu himself has endorsed. Did the Prime Minister not at Bar Ilan University in 2009 say:

If we get a guarantee of demilitarization, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, we are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state.”

On German Soil. A headline on the website of Germany’s BILD newspaper expresses shock at PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s use of the term ‘Holocaust’ to describe past Israeli actions. Instead of apologizing for the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics 1972, Abbas, on German soil, accuses Israel of genocide. (Screenshot)

Even if this was not a fully-throated enthusiastic commitment, Netanyahu did follow it up with “I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historical peace,” and later in his speech to the United States Congress:

 “I recognize that in a genuine peace we will be required to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland.”

These days few identify Netanyahu with these words but he said them.


Israelis and Palestinians need to find a way to engage beyond bullets, rockets and false narratives! We owe it ourselves and future generations. If we want safe roads to travel free of terrorism we have to find that road to peace.

Stating Two States. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a keynote speech on June 14, 2009, in which he laid out his peace policy at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, where he endorsed for the first time the creation of a Palestinian state but said it must be demilitarized. ( photo by pool Michael Kramer flash90)

Palestinians would be right to hold Israelis to past promises and  Abbas needs to shift his cerebral address from an alternate universe to a reality that Jews have an enriching historical link to the land of Israel and are here to stay. Before being truthful to one’s enemies, all sides need to be truthful to themselves. Palestinians and Israelis need to be prepared for the harsh realities of deep compromises.

In this way, we can fulfill the prophecy of the late Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban that:

Israel’s future will be longer than its past

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

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