Location: Scarsdale Library, 54 Olmsted Road, Scarsdale
Sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America, Westchester Society
Egypt, Libya, Syria, Arabia, Yemen. These lands have been occupied for millennia and interacted with Israel in ancient times. The past is part of the political debate in the present not just for the Crusades but for thousands of years earlier when Israel and the Arabs first emerged in the archaeological record. References to those times are part of the debate today as Israeli archaeologists excavate with Bible in one hand and spade in the other and Palestinians make the following assertions:
“Our forefathers, the Canaanites and Jebusites, built the cities and planted the land; they built the monumental city of Bir Salim [Jerusalem]…”
Yasser Arafat, Land Day speech, March 30, 2000, in Al-Quds
“I am a Palestinian. I am a descendant of the Jebusites, the ones who came before King David. This [Jerusalem] was one of the most important Jebusite cities in the area…. Yes, it’s true. We are the descendants of Jebusites,”
Faisal Husseini, an advisor to Arafat and minister for Jerusalem affairs, interview New York Times Magazine, October 3, 1999
What do we know of these terms “Jebusite,” “Canaanite,” and “Palestinian” of the speakers who are “Arab” and of the audience in “Israel”? Let us examine what light archaeology can shed on these terms in ancient times so we can understand the use and misuse of them in the present.