For the First Time, Remains of a Crusader Encampment Found in Israel

The most significant impact of the Crusades on Jewish history likely came in the form of the orgies of violence they unleashed on Jewish communities in France, England, and Germany. But in the 12th and 13th centuries these attempts to reclaim Christian holy sites from Muslim rule led to the establishment of European kingdoms in the Land of Israel, at a time when the Jewish community there was at its nadir. Near the Tzippori Springs, in the Galilee region, archaeologists have for the first time discovered the remnants of a Crusader camp. Rossella Tercatin writes:

For a certain period, [the Crusaders] placed Jerusalem under Christian rule, a period documented by a vast corpus of historical sources as well as massive structures such as castles and fortresses left by the Crusaders in the region. However, very little remains to testify moments of transitions, such as battles and encampments. In recent years, while workers were expanding Route 79 that connects the coast with Nazareth, the Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists Nimrod Getzov and Ianir Milevski . . . conducted the required salvage excavation [and discovered the encampment].

According to chronicles from the time, the Christian army was stationed in the area of the Tzippori Springs for around two months before the crucial battle that allowed the troops led by Sultan Saladin to reconquer much of the region, including Jerusalem.

The archaeologists unearthed hundreds of metal artifacts, and were able to study their relations to the landscape. . . . The majority of artifacts the archaeologists uncovered were horseshoe nails, both of a local type and of a more sophisticated European type, which were prevalent closer to the springs.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Archaeology, Crusades, Middle Ages

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion