Revealed: An Arab prince’s secret proposal to sell the Western Wall to the Jews

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Revealed: An Arab prince’s secret proposal to sell the Western Wall to the Jews

A quixotic overture by a courageous prince lay hidden in files at the UK Colonial Office for 90 years, where this author discovered it. Now it can proudly take its place in history

On August 29, 1929, Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha, the uncle and future regent to King Farouk of Egypt, walked into the British Embassy in Istanbul and hand-delivered a letter to British Ambassador Sir George Clerk. The letter was addressed to the British High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir John Chancellor. The prince asked Ambassador Clerk to forward the letter to Chancellor in Jerusalem.

The prince had written and signed the letter less than one week after the shocking August 24, 1929, massacres in Hebron, following months of rising tensions at the Western (Wailing) Wall. The letter began by deploring the violence, with the prince expressing hope the Arabs and Jews could settle their differences peacefully. The prince then offered a stunning suggestion:

My proposal for a solution is that, instead of fighting or dealing unjustly by one party or the other, it would be infinitely better to come to an understanding. The Mohametans may be willing to accept a sum of money which would help them to do good for the community and as the Jews are rich, if this thing [the Wailing Wall] is so much desired by them, there seems no reason why they should not pay for it. If this could be done, it would avoid coercion and possibly injustice to one or other of the parties. Certainly I am sure the Mohametans and Arabs will not accept a small sum such as £10,000 or even £20,000 for a matter in which their honour is so far involved… Let them give £100,000 and I feel sure this would settle the difference.

This is the story of Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha’s surprise proposal to sell the Western Wall to the Jews, revealed here for the first time.

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The Temple Mount and the Western Wall today represent the defining religious symbols of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The same was true during the 1920’s, following the British conquest of Palestine. Muslims and Jews clashed repeatedly over the Wall throughout the 1920’s.

The Jews claimed rights of prayer at the Wall, the only surviving remnant of the ancient Temples and the holiest and most sacred site for Jews to pray. Jews had been praying at or near the Wall nearly continuously since the Roman conquest.

‘The Mohametans may be willing to accept a sum of money which would help them to do good for the community and as the Jews are rich, if this thing [the Wailing Wall] is so much desired by them, there seems no reason why they should not pay for it’

The Muslims, for their part, also regarded the Wall (or the Buraq, named for Mohammed’s steed whom the Angel Gabriel, according to Muslim legend, tethered to the Wall at the end of Mohammed’s celestial journey from Mecca) as an Islamic Holy site that had been dedicated as Wakf property nearly a millennium ago. The Muslims asserted absolute ownership of both the Wall and the narrow strip of pavement facing the Wall. Prior to 1967, as shown in the following photograph, the pavement was sandwiched between the Wall on one side and an area of small dwellings, known as the “Moghrabi Quarter,” on the other side:

The Western Wall and narrow strip of pavement, late 19th Century (Library of Congress).

The Muslims refused to accord the Jews any rights to pray at the Wall, for fear the Jews would use that as a wedge to encroach further on Muslim property and eventually seize control of the entire Temple Mount area. During Ottoman times the Jews would pay small bribes to bring chairs and benches to the Wall, even as the Ottoman authorities issued formal rulings banning such practices as late as 1911.

After the British captured Jerusalem in December 1917, General Allenby immediately pledged to honor the so-called Status Quo prevailing at the Holy Sites. Allenby’s pledge became embedded as a legal concept five years later in Article 13 of the Mandate for Palestine, requiring the British to “preserve existing rights” at the Holy Sites.

The British soon found themselves caught in the middle between conflicting Jewish and Muslim assertions of rights and claims to the Western Wall and the pavement facing the Wall. The Mandatory authorities struggled to enforce the shaky Status Quo that had prevailed during Ottoman times, when Jews were allowed to utter individual prayers at the Wall, but not allowed to take any steps which could be viewed as asserting symbolic ownership of the Wall. Thus, the British enforced the Turkish ban on the Jews bringing chairs and benches to the Wall, as well as most other accoutrements of congregational prayer.

Jewish Legion soldiers at the Western Wall after British conquest of Jerusalem, 1917 (Public Domain)

The tensions led to controversy at the Wall during Passover 1922, Yom Kippur 1923 and Yom Kippur 1925. The most notable confrontation occurred on Yom Kippur 1928, when the British Deputy District Commissioner for Jerusalem, E. Keith-Roach, ordered the forcible removal of a screen (mehitza) the Jews had placed on the pavement in front of the Wall to divide men from women, causing the Jews to file an angry protest with the League of Nations. Tensions continued escalating during 1929 as the Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, launched the so-called Buraq Campaign to galvanize Muslim and Arab Nationalist sentiment around the Wall dispute. The Jews likewise formed groups to “defend” their asserted rights to the Wall.

The tensions reached boiling point and exploded into violence in August 1929. On Tisha b’Av (August 15) 1929, a group of Jewish youth marched to the Wall, where they raised the blue and white flag, listened to a brief speech from one of their leaders, and sang the Hatikvah. The Muslims held a counter-demonstration the following day, the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. The Muslim demonstration quickly turned violent, resulting in the murders of several Jews outside the Old City. The violence continued throughout the following week, culminating in the Hebron massacre of August 24, 1929, where approximately 60 Jews were butchered.

Jews flee the Old City of Jerusalem, August 1929. (US Library of Congress / Public Domain)

While the history of the violent clashes at the Wall during the 1920s has been told many times, less-known were various attempts by the Jews and British to strike a deal with the Muslims to buy the area in front of the Wall and the Wall itself.

Sir Ronald Storrs (Library of Congress / Public Domain)

In the spring of 1918, for example, Chaim Weizmann approached the British military government about buying the Wall and pavement area, along with the Moghrabi dwellings. The Military Governor, Sir Ronald Storrs, floated the idea with the Muslim community. Storrs reported the Muslims were offended, and “it would be a grave error of policy for the Military Government to raise the question at all.”

In August 1918, another British Official, Brigadier General Sir Gilbert Clayton, told the Muslims they might be able to secure “a large sum of money for a property which is to-day of little value.” The Muslims, however, opposed any such initiative, fearing it would be the first step toward Jewish encroachment on the Temple Mount.

In October 1918, Clayton notified London of an unauthorized Jewish attempt to buy the Wall, interfering with Clayton’s ongoing, quiet efforts to persuade the Arabs to consider selling the Wall:

“Up to quite recently signs were not wanting that the Moslem Dignitaries and notables were beginning to be impressed with the arguments explained to them at great length in favour of the scheme [for the Jews to buy the Wall]. The hopelessness … of obtaining the funds to put into effect … the restoration of the Haram es Sharif, the possibility of replenishing the Wakf coffers and so promoting Moslem education of a liberal scale, the comparative unimportance and squalor of the buildings and their [Moroccan] inhabitants in the precinct, the lurking fear that they might have one day to yield for nothing (as a City improvement scheme or otherwise) that for which they would now receive a very large sum of money – these and a variety of other considerations appeared to be modifying a ‘non possumus’ attitude into one of critical apprehension and fear of the effect on the local and general Islamic world. From the moment, however, that an attempt was apparently made by a Jerusalem Jew (doubtless without the knowledge of the Zionist Commission) to get into direct pecuniary contact with the Moslems concerned something approaching a panic set in, and from that day things have gone from bad to worse in so far as concerns the Zionist hopes in this respect.”

In 1926, a Jewish effort was launched to buy properties in front of the Wall as a first step toward acquiring the entire Moghrabi area and eventually the Wall itself. In early October 1928, Frederick Kisch, a Jerusalem-based Zionist official proposed, in a confidential letter to the Zionist Executive in London, that the Muslims be compelled to sell the pavement and the Moghrabi area to the Jews for £100,000, “in exchange for another suitable area in the Old City, with the inevitable addition of a cash payment for the benefit of the Wakf authorities.”

But these efforts, like those preceding them, went nowhere.

Three unique initiatives

Suddenly, however, in the days immediately following the Hebron massacre, three new initiatives appeared. While none of these new initiatives succeeded, their close proximity to each other and the dramatic nature of their presentation make them, especially Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha’s proposal, unique in the history of Mandate Palestine.

The first initiative came from a prominent Egyptian Jew, the Baron Felix de Menasce, the President of the Israelite Community in Alexandria. On August 26, 1929, only two days after the Hebron Massacre, Menasce walked into the British Embassy in Paris and met with Adrian Holman, the Second Secretary at the Embassy. Later that day Holman cabled the Foreign Office in London and reported as follows:

“[Menasce] explained to me at some length that the frequent cases of rioting at the Wailing Wall were due to the fact that the buildings surrounding the Wall were in the hands of the Moslems and had always been looked upon by the British Government as bearing a religious character. It had consequently always proved impossible for the Jews to buy the buildings in question and thus prevent troubles in the future. He maintained that the buildings were purely civil as opposed to religious and that the present moment might be an opportune one for the British Government to reconsider the possibility of arranging for the Jewish community to buy the buildings for demolition or other purposes. He was sure that if this were done, the Jewish community throughout the world would easily be able to find the necessary sum of money.”

George W. Rendell of the Foreign Office’s Eastern Division responded to Holman’s cable on September 7, noting the Muslims viewed the Wall as a religious site and would not be willing to sell the nearby dwellings to the Jews. Rendell poured more cold water on the idea, adding, “[t]he Colonial Office are, I think, familiar with the advantages and difficulties of a solution on the lines of the Baron de Menasce’s proposal, and seeing how overworked they are at the moment with a variety of Middle Eastern crises, I am not adding to their correspondence by passing the suggestion on to them.”

Dr. Chaim Weizmann. (AP Photo 1938)

Menasce sent a handwritten letter in French to Weizmann reporting on his meeting with Holman at the British Embassy in Paris. Menasce wrote, “J’ai la conviction c’est le moment psychologique de transfer tout l’argent necessaire, si jamais les Juifs deraint acheter ce Wakf …” (“I am convinced that if the Jews are ever going to buy this Wakf, this is, psychologically, the right time to find all the necessary money …”) No record has been found indicating whether Menasce had been acting on Weizmann’s behalf, or whether Weizmann ever responded to Menasce.

The second initiative came from Pinchas Rutenberg, the Managing Director of the Palestine Electric Corporation. On August 29, 1929, three days after Menasce’s meeting at the British Embassy in Paris, Rutenberg sent a letter to Lord Reading (previously known as Rufus Isaacs, a Jew and Chairman of the Palestine Electric Corporation), urging the British government to expropriate the entire area in front of the Wailing Wall to create “a suitable and dignified Jewish praying place.”

This was not the first time expropriation had been floated, but never at such a high level. Rutenberg was the preeminent Jewish businessman in Palestine and the future Chair of the Va’ad Leumi. Lord Reading took matters to the very highest level of the British Government, forwarding Rutenberg’s letter to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald the next day, with a cover letter of endorsement:

“I would therefore earnestly represent that the necessary measures should be adopted as soon as practicable to make a complete end of this cause of dispute by expropriating the more extended area, as suggested by Mr. Rutenberg in his letter to me. I understand that this could be accomplished without interfering with any part of Moslem ‘Holy Ground.’”

But nothing came of Rutenberg’s expropriation proposal. The Colonial Office reacted negatively, noting “the present time is not opportune for considering the question of compulsory expropriation… Quite apart from the legal aspect, such action would be intensely resented by the Moslems and we have taken the line hitherto that expropriation is out of the question.”

In addition, High Commissioner Chancellor had already told the Permanent Mandates Commission (PMC) of the League of Nations in July 1929 that the first conclusion he came to after arriving in Palestine as High Commissioner and studying the Western Wall issue was that “there must not … be any attempt to expropriate, in favour of the Jews, the area of the pavement in front of the Wall.”

Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini (Library of Congress / Public Domain)

However, at that same PMC meeting, Chancellor disclosed he personally had asked the Mufti to consider selling the Moghrabi dwellings (“mean hovels,” as he described them) to the Jews, assuming the Jews would pay to relocate the Moghrabi inhabitants to superior accommodations elsewhere. Chancellor explained the Jews would be able “to make there a courtyard surrounded by a loggia where they could say their prayers in peace and in dignified surroundings.”

Weizmann embraced the idea and had £70,000 at the ready. But the Mufti rejected the plan, even after Chancellor suggested the Mufti consider an indirect sale, whereby the Mufti would transfer the property to the Mandatory Government as middleman, which would then complete the sale to the Jews, thereby allowing the Mufti to avoid looking as if he had sold Muslim property to the Jews.

An unprecedented proposal

The third initiative involved Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha of Egypt. Ali Pasha had built the famous Manial Palace on Rhoda Island on the Nile River in Cairo. The prince was the uncle of and future Regent to Farouk, the future King of Egypt. Those who knew Ali Pasha regarded him as a “very liberal-minded man,” with a “courtly bearing.” Storrs described Ali Pasha in his memoirs as “Prince Muhammad, afterwards Regent, with his great “lucky” emerald ring, the revived Oriental splendours of his Manial Palace, his courtly bearing and graceful entertainment; his fine devotion to his mother.” The Jewish, Alexandria-based lawyer Alec Alexander once described Ali Pasha as “the one person who could use his good offices to bring about peace between Muslims and Jews.”

Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha (Public Domain)

In an amazing coincidence of history, Ali Pasha entered the stage on August 29, 1929, the same day Rutenberg had sent his letter to Lord Reading, and only three days after Menasce’s meeting with Holman at the British Embassy in Paris.
On that fateful day of August 29, 1929, Ali Pasha, while on a visit to Istanbul, hand-delivered to the British Ambassador to Turkey, Sir George Clerk, a letter addressed to High Commissioner Chancellor in Jerusalem. The letter contained a stunning proposal from Ali Pasha for settling the Muslim-Jewish dispute over the Western Wall:

“Having heard about the troubles going on in Palestine between Jews and Mohametans, and having a certain knowledge of the Arab and Mohametan aspirations, I thought I might be of service outlining a proposal by which this quarrel might perhaps be ended peacefully.

The Mohametans and Arabs having been masters in Palestine for over one thousand years, they are fighting for their honour and do not want to lose anything which they have acquired as a possession. They fear that either through administrative channels or by force they will be compelled ultimately to relinquish rights they have held for so long.

Every one knows that in every country in law after the lapse of a certain period proprietary rights are established. In this case the rights of the Mohametans go back one thousand years.

My proposal for a solution is that, instead of fighting or dealing unjustly by one party or the other, it would be infinitely better to come to an understanding. The Mohametans may be willing to accept a sum of money which would help them to do good for the community and as the Jews are rich, if this thing is so much desired by them, there seems no reason why they should not pay for it. If this could be done, it would avoid coercion and possibly injustice to one or other of the parties.

Certainly I am sure the Mohametans and Arabs will not accept a small sum such as £10,000 or even £20,000 for a matter in which their honour is so far involved. In Zurich the Zionists have collected £240,000 for Palestine. Let them give £100,000 and I feel sure this would settle the difference.”

Although the letter does not specifically mention a “sale” of the Wall, Ali Pasha made clear in his meeting with Ambassador Clerk that selling the Wall was precisely his intention. According to Clerk’s contemporaneous recollection of their conversation, Ali Pasha “submit a suggestion which would, he thought, provide a solution to the question of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem;” specifically, “the idea of the Jews buying the Wall.”

Ali Pasha’s letter was extraordinary. No one in the Muslim world had previously – or ever since – proposed to sell the Western Wall to the Jews. Surely Ali Pasha never spoke a word of this to anyone in the Muslim world, as he lived peacefully for nearly three more decades

But Ambassador Clerk never forwarded Ali Pasha’s letter to High Commissioner Chancellor in Jerusalem. Instead, Clerk sent Ali Pasha’s letter directly to the Foreign Office in London, along with a cover note adding his own observation that “the idea of the Jews buying the Wall has long been considered and rejected, and recent events seem scarcely favorable to the idea of the Muslims accepting even as fancy a price as £100,000, supposing the Jews were prepared to offer that sum.”

The Foreign Office kept Clerk’s original cover letter in its files, together with a copy of Ali Pasha’s letter. The Foreign Office made the following file notation regarding the prince’s letter:

Foreign Office File entry, E 4557/204/65 (September 3, 1929; photo by the author).

W. L. Knight of the Foreign Office made a sarcastic handwritten file entry several days later:

“It would appear from the last para. of the prince’s letter that while the Jerusalem Arabs would scorn to sell their honour cheap, they would probably be prepared to do so for £100,000!”

Foreign Office File entry, E 4557/204/65 (September 10, 1929; photo by the author).

The Foreign Office later recorded the prince’s letter in its official index for 1929 as, “Suggested sale of wall to Jews by Moslems: proposal of Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha:”

Foreign Office Index, 1929 (photo by the author).

The Foreign Office sent the original of Ali Pasha’s letter, along with the calling card Ali Pasha had given to Ambassador Clerk, to the Colonial Office, where both items were tucked inside an envelope and filed away for the next 90 years.

The prince’s calling card, given to the British Ambassador to Turkey, Sir George Clerk, on August 29, 1929 (CO 733/163/5, British National Archives, London; photo by the author).

Ali Pasha’s letter was extraordinary. No one in the Muslim world had previously – or ever since – proposed to sell the Western Wall to the Jews. Surely Ali Pasha never spoke a word of this to anyone in the Muslim world, as he lived peacefully for nearly three more decades. Nor is there any evidence he had any authority from the Muslim authorities in Jerusalem to make the offer. But his letter nevertheless represents an extraordinary and courageous – if not somewhat Quixotic – step for a highly prominent Arab and future Regent to the King of Egypt to have taken so soon after the August 1929 violence.

The letter also seriously undermines Muslim claims regarding the holiness of the Buraq. Surely Ali Pasha would never have dreamed of proposing to sell any truly sacred Muslim shrines, such as the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque, to the Jews. Clearly he did not regard the Western Wall as even a minor Muslim religious site. Indeed, no evidence exists of any Muslim prayer or veneration at the Buraq since the 7th Century Muslim conquest of Jerusalem.

Moreover, during a 1930 courtroom trial presided over by three League of Nations-approved judges, pitting Muslims against Jews regarding their respective rights and claims to the Wall, the Jewish side offered evidence that the Muslims had repeatedly defiled the Wall and the pavement. Dr. Mordechai Eliash, the Jerusalem-based lawyer representing the Jewish side, said the following in his opening statement (pages 53-54 of the transcript, the only surviving copy of which is located at King’s College, London):

“Evidence will be brought before you that time and again the Wall was desecrated by actually smearing human excreta on its stones. Filth and rubbish were always allowed by the Mughrabis to accumulate there, while time and again have Jewish individuals and organized communities paid for the sweeping and cleaning of the area in front of the Wall, and it will be shown to you that it was through Jewish intervention that a sewage drain was not laid close to the Wall …”

In any event, no record was found of any further action by Ali Pasha or the British Government regarding Ali Pasha’s proposal, nor is there any evidence in Chancellor’s files or his diary proving or even hinting he ever learned of the letter’s existence.

The original Ali Pasha letter, containing the only Arab offer ever to sell the Wall to the Jews, remained buried in the Colonial Office files for the next 90 years.

Prince Ali Pasha’s letter, August 29, 1929 (CO 733/163/5, British National Archives, London; photo by the author).

Prince Ali Pasha’s letter, August 29, 1929 (CO 733/163/5, British National Archives, London; photo by the author).

Two of Israel’s leading historians of the Mandate era, Professor Motti Golani of Tel Aviv University and Professor Hillel Cohen of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, examined Ali Pasha’s letter and the related documents at the author’s request last year. Both professors said they were unaware of Ali Pasha’s letter or of any prior publication mentioning it. Golani called it a “major discovery.” Cohen initially noted the absence of any specific reference to “selling” the Wall in the text of Ali Pasha’s letter, but after reading Clerk’s cover letter to the Foreign Office, Cohen acknowledged Ali Pasha’s letter indeed conveyed an implicit offer to sell the Wall.

One lingering question remains: is it possible Ali Pasha and Menasce knew of each other’s initiatives? Two very prominent Egyptians, one Muslim and one Jewish, within three days of each other separately approached the British Embassies in Istanbul and Paris to float the idea of the Jews buying the Western Wall and the surrounding area. Perhaps they had coordinated their efforts and stage-managed them as carefully as possible to avoid detection. Or perhaps neither had any idea of the other’s activity, and their visits to the British Embassies in Paris (Monday) and Istanbul (Thursday) of the same week were purely coincidental. We will leave that mystery for others to solve.

In any event, Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha’s letter stands as a remarkable testament to the bravery and creativity of this urbane and worldly Egyptian prince, who at great personal risk launched an initiative to bring peace to the Muslims and Jews of Mandate Palestine.

Law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Steven E. Zipperstein

The prince’s letter, concealed in the files of the Colonial Office for the past 90 years, can now proudly take its rightful place in history.

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Steven E. Zipperstein is the author of the forthcoming book “Law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Trials of Palestine” (Routledge, March 2020), from which this article is derived. Zipperstein, a former United States federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Development at UCLA. He also teaches in UCLA’s Global Studies program and School of Public Affairs, and as a visiting professor at the Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University.

(Copyright Steven E. Zipperstein, 2020)

Tens of thousands pray at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem in Selichot (forgiveness) prayers, early on September 27, 2019. (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)
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Egypt: Why archaeologists were ‘terrified by lifelike discovery’ hidden in Pyramid

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE UK EXPRESS NEWS)

 

Egypt exposed: Why archaeologists were ‘terrified by lifelike discovery’ hidden in Pyramid

ARCHAEOLOGISTS were left “terrified” after making a “lifelike” discovery in the Pyramid of Meidum, that is helping to piece together one region of this astonishing ancient civilization.

Egypt: Archaeologists ‘terrified’ by pyramid discovery says expert

The find was made in Meidum, an archaeological site in Lower Egypt, consisting of a large pyramid and several mud-brick mastabas. This pyramid was Egypt’s first straight-sided one, but it partially collapsed due to its structure, exposing an inner core. Here, archaeologist made discoveries that helped them understand more about this ancient civilization developed their pyramid-building techniques.

But, it was revealed during Amazon Prime’s “Secrets of Archaeology” how they also got quite a scare.

The 2014 series explained: “South of Saqqara, near the oasis of Fayoum, archaeologists discovered a pyramid of historical importance because of its unique features.

“The Pyramid of Meidum was built for the Pharaoh Sneferu, founder of the Fourth Dynasty, but this pyramid is different from all the others.

“The monument was originally a step pyramid like the one in Saqqara, but here in Meidum, the architects working for Pharaoh Sneferu, believed they had found the secret of the perfect form.

The lifelike statue was found in the pyrmaid

The lifelike statue was found in the pyramid (Image: AMAZON/GETTY)

The Pyramid of Meidum

The Pyramid of Meidum (Image: WIKI)

They were terrified by their intense expression, which they believed was too lifelike

Secrets of Archaeology

“They would abandon the previous step structure, fill in the platforms and make the line of the pyramid smooth and sloping.”

The documentary went on to detail how statues of the ancient pharaoh and his wife were found in the rubble.

It added: “It was a revolutionary concept, but something went wrong.

“The bases of the four external supporting walls fell in, and the blocks of limestone slipped downwards revealing the internal part that we see today.

“Like the pyramid in Saqqara, the Meidum pyramid was also surrounded by tombs of princes and dignitaries.

READ MORE: Egypt shock: Why 4,500-year-old tomb inscription sparked end of the world prediction

The design of the pyramid

The design of the pyramid (Image: WIKI)

“Statues of Prince Rahotep and his wife on display at the Cairo Museum.”

But, the archaeologists had an eerie experience.

The series explained: “When archaeologists found here and when archaeologists discovered the statues, they were terrified by their intense expression, which they believed was too lifelike to be that of mere statue.

“Pharaoh Sneferu had another pyramid built, the pyramid Dahshur, universally known as the Bent Pyramid.

“Dahshur is the modern name of this area south of Saqqara, another monumental construction, it was worked on by thousands of builders and dozens of architects.

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Two statues were found inside

Two statues were found inside (Image: WIKI)

Their expressions terrified archaeologists

Their expressions terrified archaeologists (Image: WIKI)

“While a step pyramid may have provided a stair by which the king ascended to heaven after his death, the true pyramids probably reflect a change to a solar cult, symbolising the Sun’s rays radiating down.”

The pyramid at Meidum is thought to be just the second pyramid built after Djoser’s and may have been originally built for Huni, the last pharaoh of the Third Dynasty, and continued by Sneferu.

The architect was a successor to the famous Imhotep, the inventor of the stone-built pyramid.

The collapse of the pyramid is likely due to the modifications made to Imhotep’s pyramid design as well as the decisions taken twice during construction to extend the pyramid.

Egypt Govt Pledges Not to Dismiss Public Sector Employees

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt Govt Pledges Not to Dismiss Public Sector Employees

Saturday, 14 December, 2019 – 12:30
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi (Reuters)
Cairo- Waleed Abdurrahman
The Egyptian government stressed on Friday that it has no intention to dismiss any state employees after moving to the new administrative capital.

It affirmed seeking to maintain all employees’ rights along with developing and raising the efficiency of the state’s administrative apparatus and staff.

The government said it has “monitored reports on some websites and social media pages about its intention to forcibly dismiss three million employees of the state’s administrative apparatus in line with moving to the new capital.”

Notably, the government plans to relocate its ministries and employees to the new capital, where they will start operating by mid-2020. While investors have started building residential and educational neighborhoods.

This step aims at improving and upgrading the quality of services provided to citizens.

In January 2018, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi inaugurated the largest mosque and church in the administrative capital.

According to the cabinet’s Media Center, the government seeks to improve the performance of the state’s administrative apparatus, while paying special attention to the human component by designing training programs for workers in this sector.

Its step targets preparing cadres capable of managing the process of institutional change in order to build an efficient and effective administrative apparatus that applies the standards of governance and corresponds with Egypt’s Vision 2030.”

Egyptian government spokesman Nader Saad noted in November that there are several ways for employees to reach the new administrative capital, as the cabinet has been studying options for bringing employees to the capital, either by contracting with transportation companies or by paying cash for transportation costs.

During a meeting with Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly in June, Sisi called for “commitment to the decided plans for construction work in the new administrative capital and the speedy completion of the main and internal road hubs and site coordination work.”

Meanwhile, the government denied Friday news circulated on its intention to privatize the “Real Estate Registration and Documentation Authority” due to its inability to automate its services.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed that the Authority will remain an official government agency that serves all citizens.

It added that the authority offices’ automation is carried successfully, with the aim of improving the level of services provided in a way that contributes to facilitating procedures for citizens.

5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

More from

5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

There are 570 coastal cities that could be impacted by rising sea levels by the 2050’s, affecting some 800 million people, according to C40 Cities. Cities along the Atlantic coast in the U.S. and various parts of Asia are under the greatest threat. Here’s a look at the cities most at risk if sea levels rise significantly.

Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

Credit: BackyardProduction/iStock

Located on the southeastern tip of Florida, this low-lying city will be completely inundated with flood waters if sea levels rise as some predict. With a population of over 2.7 million, the entire Miami-Dade county is only an average of six feet above sea level, making it an easy target for flooding.

The city is trying to address the problem with $500 million worth of infrastructure changes and the installation of pumps and floodgates, according to NPR.

Alexandria, Egypt

Credit: efesenko/iStock

Located on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, the city of Alexandria is already feeling the effects of climate change. If sea levels continue to rise at the current rate, an estimated 3 million people would be directly affected, and millions more would eventually be displaced, according to The Guardian.

The drastic impact from rising sea levels is worsened by the Nile, the longest river in the world, which empties into the Mediterranean Sea near Alexandria. The low-lying river delta in this area continues to flood, causing the loss of much-needed crops in this heavily populated city, according to NPR. Climate change is also causing hotter temperatures and beach erosion. This is hampering tourism in the area, which is a very important aspect of the city’s economic livelihood, according to NPR. Making matters worse, the average elevation of the area is only 16 feet above sea level.

Osaka, Japan

Credit: pat138241/iStock

This large port city on the Japanese island of Honshu has been aware of the threat of climate change for a while. There has been massive coastal flooding in areas of the city, including its airport. According to The Guardian, an estimated 5 million people will be directly impacted by the rising sea levels, and an additional 6 million could be displaced in the city’s surrounding region.

Like other major coastal cities, Osaka has been updating its infrastructure in an attempt to combat the rising waters. Unfortunately, in a study by the Institute for Global Change Adaptation Science in Japan, it was found that the current designs for these walls may be insufficient against a prospective higher sea level.

Hong Kong, China

Credit: efired/iStock

The fate of this global financial hub depends on how high temperatures rise. A rise of just 2 degrees Celsius puts Hong Kong’s entire population of 7.4 million people at risk, along with many more in the surrounding coastal areas, according to The Guardian. A warm-up of more than 2 degrees could be catastrophic. The average elevation of Hong Kong varies, but it is typically only about 4 feet above sea level, worsening the situation.

Shanghai, China

Credit: chuyu/iStock

All of China’s coastal cities are at risk, according to GBTIMES. Its largest city, Shanghai, with a population of 24.2 million, is unfortunately at the forefront. Scientists have been warning the city for many years that it is already a major flood risk due to its dense population on the low-lying coast and its abundance of rivers, canals and other waterways, according to The New York Times.

According to The Guardian, 17.5 million people will be affected if sea levels rise to the current expectation. At just 13 feet above sea level, the city has been installing massive flood prevention walls in an attempt to prevent future problems. Only time will tell if these efforts help.

Pharaohs Mastered Linen Cultivation, Weaving Million Years ago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-SWAT)

 

Pharaohs Mastered Linen Cultivation, Weaving Million Years ago

Wednesday, 27 November, 2019 – 10:30
Luxor- Asharq Al-Awsat
Weaving and knitting were among the most important industries in ancient Egypt. The kenaf was the only material used by the pharaohs to make their clothes. Leather and woven fibers were rarely used in their clothing.

Ancient Egyptian left inscriptions and drawings on their tombs explaining how they grew and harvest linseed and grains, said Dr. Mansour al-Nubi, former dean of the Faculty of Antiquities in the historic city of Luxor, in Upper Egypt.

The oldest types of loom were made to weave linen in a simple way that developed later in the era of the New Kingdom. Pharaohs excelled in weaving, and mastered the use of natural dyes to color fabric and yarns. “The people of Ancient Egypt weaved textiles and clothing with simple tools. Archeologists found spinners and pieces of textiles from the Neolithic era in Egypt,” Nubi told German News Agency dpa.

Pharaohs used linen to make clothes, bedding, medical laces, and even shrouds. In 550 BC, King Ahmose II introduced a collection of ornamented and colorful clothing, decorated with cotton to Greek temples. It was the first use of cotton in history.

The “Petri Museum” of Egyptian antiquities in London displays the oldest garment found among the remains of ancient Egyptian clothes. According to Egyptologists, this dress is the oldest surviving garment in the world. It is made of linen and features some pleats. The garment, which was discovered in Faiyum in 1977, is made for a big child, and dates back to 2800 BC.

Among the collectibles of the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK, a baby blanket belonging to King Tutankhamun, featuring the date of the seventh year of King Akhenaten’s reign. It is made of fine linen yarns, and its texture is uniform, colored in pure white, and archaeologists say it took nine months.

Since the emergence of the so-called Egyptology, clothing in ancient Egypt, and the associated industries and crafts have been of great interest to archaeologists and Egyptologists.

Egypt unveils discovery of 30 ancient coffins with mummies inside

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Egypt unveils discovery of 30 ancient coffins with mummies inside

Egyptian authorities have unveiled 30 ancient wooden coffins recently discovered in Luxor.

(CNN)Egyptian authorities on Saturday revealed the contents of 30 ancient wooden coffins discovered in Luxor and yes, they include mummies.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters the discovery was the country’s largest in more than a century.
It is the first cache of coffins to be discovered by an Egyptian mission, after years of foreign-led archaeological digs.
Egyptian archeologist open a coffin belonging to a man in front Hatshepsut Temple in Luxor on October 19, 2019.

“The last one was in 1891, [led by] foreigners. 1881, [also] foreigners. But … 2019 is an Egyptian discovery,” Waziri said. “This is an indescribable feeling, I swear to God.”
The discovery was unveiled in front of Hatshepsut Temple at Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany described the 3,000-year-old coffins, which were buried in Al-Asasif Cemetery, as “exceptionally well-preserved, exceptionally well-colored.”
They contained the mummified remains of men and women, as well as two children, who are believed to be from the middle class, Waziri said.
Tourists view the newly discovered coffins at Hatshepsut Temple on October 19, 2019.

According to archaeologist Zahi Hawass, finding coffins belonging to a child is a rare occurrence. The discovery of two have caused tremendous interest “worldwide,” he said.
The coffins were sealed, stacked on top of each other and arranged in two rows about three feet below the sand, he said.
They are adorned with intricate carvings and designs, including Egyptian deities, hieroglyphics and scenes from the Book of the Dead, a series of spells that enabled the soul to navigate the afterlife.
Officials said the first coffin was discovered because it was partially exposed. When they continued to dig, 17 more coffins were found. After those coffins were excavated, the archeologists discovered an additional 12.
An open coffin displayed in Luxor reveals a mummy.

Hawass told reporters during a press event that the discovery reveals important details about ancient Egyptian burial rights, such as how they respected the dead regardless of gender or age.
“This will enrich our knowledge as Egyptologists about the belief of the afterlife,” Hawass said.
The mummies will be restored before being moved to a museum of ancient Egyptian artifacts near the Giza pyramids. The coffins will be given their own exhibit.
“They will be moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum, which will be opening at the end of 2020, as a new surprise for our visitors,” said El-Enany.

6 surprising things invented by ancient Egyptians

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

6 surprising things invented by ancient Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians were one of the most intriguing and mysterious civilizations in history. They erected enormous stone pyramids without the use of any of the heavy machinery we have today, they had a culture rich in mythology and unique ideas about death and the afterlife, and they were one of the first groups of people to translate their spoken language into a written one. You don’t have to be an Egyptologist to know that we owe the Egyptians big time for many of the ideas we still use today, but it may surprise you to learn that these six things we use on a regular basis were invented by the ancient Egyptians as well.

Paper

Credit: JoseIgnacioSoto / iStock

Okay, so this first one isn’t so surprising. Egyptians invented writing, so it makes sense that they invented paper, too. Before the Egyptians started using papyrus to write on, everyone else was using clay tablets, stones, animal hides, or wood. Once papyrus was created (by pressing together pieces of the stalk of a papyrus plant to make a smooth surface), it changed the way people wrote all over the world. Papyrus was exported to places all over the Mediterranean, and the idea was eventually refined into the paper we use today.

Toothpaste

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Speaking of papyrus, the oldest formula for toothpaste ever written was found on a piece of papyrus that is said to be more than 1,700 years old. The writer of the recipe called it “a powder for white and perfect teeth,” which, when mixed with saliva, forms a “tooth paste” that cleans teeth. Ingredients included rock salt, mint, dried iris flower, and crushed pepper. One dentist who tried it said that it made his gums bleed, but that it was much more effective than some other toothpastes that were created in the last century.

Prosthetic limbs

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Scientists knew that the ancient Egyptian civilization was advanced, but they didn’t know just how advanced it was until they discovered a prosthetic toe on the foot of a female mummy that dates back to sometime between 950 to 710 B.C. While false body parts were often attached to mummies for burial purposes, experts are in agreement that this toe was in fact used while the person was still alive. The wear and tear on the papier-mâché-type appendage (which was thought to be tied onto the foot or a sandal with string) proved that it was used to help the person walk, which means that we may have to thank the Egyptians for passing down their knowledge of prosthetics to modern-day doctors.

The modern calendar

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While Egyptians weren’t the first to invent a calendar, they were the ones who invented the calendar we use today. Since farming was very important to the Egyptians, they made up a schedule of when the different seasons were (the flooding season, the sowing season, and the harvesting season) to make their farming practices more efficient. After doing extensive research on the movements of the stars and the solar cycle, they broke each season into four months, each with 30 days (with a couple extra at the end of the season), which gave us the 365 day calendar we have been using ever since.

Scissors

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For some reason, many scholars credit Leonardo da Vinci with inventing scissors (maybe because he invented so darn many other things). There is proof, though, that the Ancient Egyptians were using scissors long before da Vinci was even born—way back in 1500 B.C., to be precise. These scissors were composed of a single piece of bronze formed into two blades and held together by a strip of metal. The strip of metal kept the blades apart until they were squeezed together to cut things.

Locks

Credit: altmodern / iStock

The oldest lock known to man was extracted from the remains of an Egyptian palace, and it was surprisingly complex. The lock consisted of “a wooden bolt securing a door, with a slot with several holes on its upper surface. A device attached to the door contained wooden pins which would drop into the holes and secure the bolt.” A wooden key with matching pins would be inserted into the lock to open it, giving later civilizations some great ideas to work with when they started coming up with their own security systems.

Egypt Calls for Holding Erdogan Accountable over Terrorism, Targeting of Kurds

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

(It is past time that this mass murderer (Erdogan) is removed from breathing free air and replaced with a real Leader who will allow the people of Turkey to live in freedom and peace with their neighbors like the Kurdish people.)(oped: oldpoet56))

Egypt Calls for Holding Erdogan Accountable over Terrorism, Targeting of Kurds

Thursday, 26 September, 2019 – 11:45
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Cairo – Mohamed Nabil Helmy
In a sharp statement, Cairo made several accusations against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging the international community to “hold him accountable” for what the Egyptian Foreign Ministry called “all of his crimes”.

The statement, released on Wednesday by Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ahmed Hafez, said that Erdogan was supporting terrorism, arming extremists and deliberately targeting the Kurds.

It also listed human rights violations in Turkey under Erdogan’s leadership, including thousands held as political prisoners, the suspicious deaths of dozens of detainees due to torture or inhuman prison conditions, and the closure of thousands of universities and educational institutions.

Hafez said that Erdogan “claimed to defend the values of justice in his speech, but at the core showed feelings of hatred and spite toward Egypt and its people who have nothing but appreciation for the people of Turkey.”

His remarks came in response to Erdogan’s speech during the UN General Assembly meetings, in which he raised doubts on Mohammed Morsi’s death in court last June.

Cairo and Ankara have reduced their diplomatic relations since 2013 because of the Turkish president’s position against the June 30 Revolution that toppled the rule of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, after widespread public protests against his continued rule. In the wake of a number of statements that Egypt considered “hostile”, Cairo decided to withdraw its ambassador from Ankara and expel the Turkish ambassador.

Hafez emphasized that Erdogan’s statements were a “desperate attempt to steer attention away from his deteriorating regime and the successive losses he is suffering.

8 of the Largest Man-Made Lakes in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

8 of the Largest Man-Made Lakes in the World

Humans (and beavers) have been manipulating water flow for millennia, but it wasn’t until recently that we developed the materials we’d need to create enormous bodies of water. Once we did, we created some of the largest lakes and inland seas the Earth’s ever held. Here are eight of the largest man-made lakes in the world.

Williston Lake | British Columbia, Canada

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70 Billion Cubic Meters

Williston Lake was formed in 1968 with the completion of W.A.C. Bennet Dam, blocking the Peace River and creating the largest body of freshwater in British Columbia. Besides being a huge source of electricity, the lake’s nice to look at. It’s bordered by the Cassiar Mountains to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east, both being striking natural features. In fact, Williston Lake comes close to a fjord in some respects.

Krasnoyarsk Reservoir | Divnogorsk, Russia

Credit: Evgeny Vorobyev/Shutterstock

73.3 Billion Cubic Meters

Besides its massive size (a size that’s earned it the informal name of the Krasnoyarsk Sea), the Krasnoyarsk Reservoir’s claim to fame is being the world’s largest power plant from 1971 to 1983. In 1983, it was unseated by the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State. The reservoir and the dam also appear on the 10 ruble bill, meaning most Russians have at least seen the thing in a picture, if not in person. A final note on the dam is the fact that a substantial section of the river below it doesn’t freeze over, even though it’s in frigid Siberia. This is because the water’s moving much too fast coming out of the dam and for miles downstream.

Manicouagan Reservoir | Quebec, Canada

Credit: Elena11/Shutterstock

138 Billion Cubic Meters

The Manicouagan Reservoir is a perfect intersection of human engineering and natural phenomena. Human engineering produced the reservoir when the Daniel-Johnson Dam was built in the 1960s. The natural aspect concerns the reservoir’s unique ring shape. The shape was created by an asteroid impact roughly 214 million years ago. That means Manicouagan Reservoir is actually a flooded crater, similar to Crater Lake (except Crater Lake is far younger and a volcano). There’s a theory that the Manicouagan crater is actually part of a multiple impact event spanning modern day North America and Europe.

Guri Reservoir | Bolivar, Venezuela

Credit: CarmeloGil/iStock

138 Billion Cubic Meters

It doesn’t look like the publicity around the Guri Reservoir is entirely good. For one, apparently the Guri Dam generates more carbon emissions than the fossil fuel alternative, which is about as hard to do as you’d think. There have also been some substantial blackouts in the 21st century, and the reservoir has a tendency to fall below optimum levels for electrical production. Still, it’s a big lake, right?

Lake Volta | Ajena, Ghana

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153 Billion Cubic Meters

Just like all the other lakes on this list, Lake Volta wouldn’t be around without a dam to fill it up. In this case, it’s Akosombo Dam, built between 1961 and 1965. Interesting to note about Lake Volta, before the dam was built, the Black Volta and White Volta rivers used to meet, but once the lake started filling in, that confluence was wiped away. It’s a navigable lake, which was probably part of the point of building the dam. With it, the trip from the savanna to the coast and vice versa got a lot easier.

Bratsk Reservoir | Bratsk, Russia

Credit: fibPhoto/Shutterstock

169 Billion Cubic Meters

As much as we hate to play into stereotypes, it seems like Russians really know how to handle the cold. The Bratsk Dam was built through Siberian winters, far away from the things needed to build it, including supplies, laborers and construction support. But they did it anyway and ended up with the Bratsk Reservoir to show for it. The reservoir is on the Angara River and just to show it’s not a one-off, there are four other power-producing facilities on the same river, with stations in Irkutsk, Ust-Ilim and Boguchany.

Lake Nasser | Egypt and Sudan

Credit: Shootdiem/Shutterstock

169 Billion Cubic Meters

The construction of the Aswan High Dam, and by extension the formation of Lake Nasser, came with some uniquely Egyptian challenges. Namely, the fact that a large number of historical sites would be submerged by the filling lake, with the tombs and temples of Philae and Abu Simbel at the greatest risk. Luckily, the Egyptian government didn’t plow ahead the way other countries have been known to. The Egyptians worked with UNESCO to move the sites to higher ground.

Lake Kariba | Zambia and Zimbabwe

Credit: Lynn Yeh/Shutterstock

180 Billion Cubic Meters

The impressive Lake Kariba is an excellent example of lake creation done right. The dam produces plenty of electricity for the surrounding area, and its existence has given rise to a thriving tourism industry and also increased biodiversity. There was a short five-year period when the rate of earthquakes increased, but that hasn’t stuck around. What has is the tiger fish, tilapia, catfish and vundu, all supporting a strong fishing industry. And the water. A truly awesome amount of water has stuck around. It’s closer to an inland sea than anything else.

Egyptian Judiciary Issues Sentences in al-Haram Violent Acts

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egyptian Judiciary Issues Sentences in al-Haram Violent Acts

Sunday, 25 August, 2019 – 11:15
File photo showing the Egyptian high court, Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
Cairo – Waleed Abdul Rahman
The Cairo Criminal Court issued a 5-year sentence against one defendant and released 3 others in the retrial of violent acts case at Al-Haram suburb in Giza.

The Public Prosecution charged the defendants with possessing firearms, attacking public and private properties, protesting without permission, holding the intention to kill and join a group that was established contrary to the law.

The same court decided on Saturday to postpone the trial of 47 defendants in the case of storming El Tebeen Police Department on Sep. 15. The Appellate court (the highest judicial authority in the country) abolished on July 5 the sentences against them and decided on a retrial.

On Nov. 5, 2016, the Court issued 15 years in prison sentence against 21 defendants, 10 years in prison to 15 defendants and 7 years to 11 others.

They were all fined to around EGP10 million and will be under the police supervision after concluding the sentence duration.

The Public Prosecution accused them of causing chaos, crowding and intending to kill several officers and members of El Tebeen Police Department as well as setting fire to the department, burning its possessions, attempting to smuggle prisoners, possessing fire and cold arms and joining a group contrary to the law.

Attorney General Nabil Ahmed Sadek ordered referring 11 suspects to the criminal court in the case of Mar-Mina Church attack in Halwan district on the outskirts of Cairo. They were accused of establishing and joining a takfiri group, funding its members, and killing 10 citizens including police officers.

Meanwhile, the trial of 9 suspects was delayed in the case of violence around buildings of the parliament, the cabinet, the Shura Council and the Egyptian Scientific Institute in Cairo.