In 2004, a team of archaeologists obtained thousands of tons of dirt that had been illegally removed from the Temple Mount and began sifting through it—with the help of amateur volunteers—to retrieve whatever ancient artifacts might be found. The Temple Mount Sifting project, as the endeavor is now known, has chosen twelve of these items by which to tell the history of the site. The first, discovered in 2011, is an amulet with Egyptian hieroglyphics on it, bearing an official epithet for Pharaoh Thutmose III and likely dating to his reign, centuries before the putative date of the Exodus. Daniel Shani writes:
How Did a 3,500-Year-Old Egyptian Amulet End Up in Jerusalem?
A Senior Saudi Political Figure Takes the Palestinian Leadership to Task
In an extended television interview with an Arab broadcaster, Prince Bandar bin Sultan—who served for twenty years as the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., for a decade as head of the Saudi National Security Council, and two years as intelligence chief—responded forcefully to the Palestinian claim that the Gulf states have, by normalizing relations with Israel, “stabbed the Palestinians in the back.” Defending Saudi devotion to the Palestinian cause, Prince Bandar delivered a lengthy history of his country’s role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which he bluntly upbraided Palestinian leaders, and Yasir Arafat above all, for squandering chances at statehood and for their lack of “ethics.” While Bandar’s sentiments can hardly be described as pro-Israel, he asserted that the Palestinian leaders are every bit as responsible as the Jewish state for the plight of their people: