US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (L) and White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt were on hand to tear down a wall to open the Pilgrimage Road, in the City of David, sparking controversy.
A new archaeological site was unveiled in Jerusalem on Sunday at the City of David, an ancient passageway dubbed “Pilgrims’ Road” because archeologists believe that millions of Jews ascended this path three times a year during the pilgrimage feasts to bring sacrifices to the temple.
A strong testament to the ancient Jewish connection to the land of Israel and city of Jerusalem, the 350-meter section of road begins at the pool of Shiloah and extends to the Western Wall. It had been under excavation for six years.
Palestinians have opposed the project saying that the digging in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan has disturbed and displaced some residents, but the presence of two American officials at the grand opening further escalated the controversy.
“There is a new image of American hostility, which emerges through the decision of David Friedman, the American ambassador to Israel, and Jason Greenblatt, the American envoy to the Middle East, to participate in a ceremony… to open the homes of Palestinian citizens in the town of Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The ministry said it “views the American attendance at and celebration of the Judaization activities in occupied East Jerusalem as hostile acts against the Palestinians.”
“The administration of President Donald Trump proves day by day its … unlimited affiliation to the colonial settlement project led by the extremist right in the state of the occupation (Israel),” it said.
Of course, the Judaization of the area did not take place this week, but more than 3,000 years ago when King David drove out the Jebusites from Jerusalem and made is the capital of Israel.
David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus). The Jebusites who lived there 5 said to David, “You will not get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David. (1 Chr. 11:4)
American ambassadors here have traditionally avoided public appearances in East Jerusalem, which most of the world considers illegally occupied by Israel and the Palestinians want as the capital of a future state.
Friedman addressed the criticism which was brewing even before the ceremony began.
“Some people, not necessarily friends of ours, are obsessing about my being here,” Friedman said. He said the project uncovered “the truth, whether you believe or not … the truth is the only foundation upon which peace will come to this area.”
“It is our unique privilege as Americans to walk together with our Israeli counterparts on the just unveiled Pilgrimage Road, where our shared ancestors ascended the flagstone steps in prayer and blessing,” he said.
Palestinians called the site a “falsification of history” and “reversal of the facts.” If you want to see the new Pilgrimage Road, come with us to Israel in December. (go to: www.uptozion.net)