What’s Copper from the Negev Doing in 3,000-Year-Old Egyptian Statues?

Using cutting-edge metallurgical techniques, a group of Israeli archaeologists have analyzed four figurines from an ancient Egyptian city, and determined that they were made with copper from the mines of Timna, located near what is now Israel’s southern tip. The statuettes date to about 1,000 BCE, or around the time of Kings David and Solomon. Rosella Tercatin writes:

The findings . . . shed new light on the relations between Egypt and the populations of the Levant. And according to Erez Ben Yosef, [one of the coordinators of the study], they offer an additional [piece of evidence] to support his view that a nomadic kingdom at the time could constitute a wealthy and sophisticated society capable of entertaining complex commercial relations with foreign entities, offering important insights not only on what was happening in Timna—which he believes at the time was part of the biblical kingdom of Edom—but also in the Jerusalem of King David and King Solomon.

While the archaeologist believes that Timna was part of the Edomite kingdom, which is prominently featured in the Bible, he has also suggested that what was happening at Timna was still very connected to the vicissitudes of contemporary Jerusalem. Jerusalem could have indirectly controlled the mines—as the biblical text itself suggests when it narrates how David conquered Edom.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Edomites, King David, King Solomon

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations