In Spain, an Archaeologist Discovers Traces of King Solomon’s Commercial Success

While there is ample archaeological and documentary evidence corroborating the Davidic monarchy described in the Hebrew Bible, none of it confirms the reign of David himself, or of his son Solomon—who would have lived in the 10th century BCE. But the marine archaeologist Sean Kingsley, by focusing on the biblical account of Israelite prosperity and flourishing international trade under Solomon’s rule, may have changed that. Dalya Alberge writes:

Over ten years, Kingsley has carried out a maritime audit of “the Solomon question.” By extending the search beyond the Holy Land, across the Mediterranean to Spain and Sardinia, he found that archaeological evidence supports biblical descriptions of a partnership between Solomon, who “excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom,” and the Phoenician king Hiram, who “supplied Solomon with cedar timber and gold, as much as he desired.”

[Kingsley] explored Andalusian port towns from Mezquitilla to Málaga and found that the archaeological evidence reveals “a Phoenician coast.” He visited the site of the great mine of the ancient world, Rio Tinto—43 miles inland from Huelva—which produced gold, silver, lead, copper, and zinc. . . . Kingsley said that lead isotope analysis has shown that silver hoards excavated in Israel originally came from Iberia. Recent digs in nearby Huelva have found evidence of the Israelites and Phoenicians, including elephant tusks, merchants’ shekel weights, and pottery. The Near Eastern link can be dated as far back as 930 BCE, the end of Solomon’s reign.

Kingsley has concluded that Huelva is “the best fit for the capital of the biblical Tarshish,” the ancient source of imported metals, which archaeologists have “signposted wildly” everywhere from southern Israel to the Red Sea, Ethiopia to Tunisia. . . . “Neither Israel nor Lebanon could tap into local gold and silver resources,” [said Kingsley]. “The biblical entrepreneurs were forced to look to the horizon. The land of Tarshish was a vital source for Solomon’s silver. As the book of Ezekiel recorded: ‘Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of goods.’”

Read more at Guardian

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Hebrew Bible, King Solomon

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority