Gunman Attacks Saudi Security Forces At Gate Of Jeddah Royal Palace – Two Guards Shot Dead

Two Saudi guards were shot dead and three others injured on Saturday morning when a man drove up to the gate of the royal palace in Jeddah and began shooting, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by state news.

Royal Guards killed the gunman, who was identified in the statement as Mansour al-Amri, a 28-year-old Saudi national.

The attack occurred at a checkpoint outside the western gate to the Peace Palace in Jeddah, where the royal family conducts official business during the summer months.

Saudi King Salman is currently outside the kingdom on a state visit to Russia.

The statement did not elaborate on the whereabouts of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, although recent state news reports have placed him in Jeddah.

Security forces seized Kalashnikov rifles and petrol bombs that had been in Amri’s possession.

Amri did not have a criminal record or any known connection to extremist groups, said Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki, speaking by phone to al-Arabiya television.  DailyMail

Saudi Arabia Agrees To Allow Women To Drive For The First Time

It is about the economy.

Vision 2030 to reform the economy, spearheaded by deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a key part of the reform effort is to increase women’s participation in the workforce to 30% from 22%.

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it would allow women to drive, overturning a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the repression of women in the ultraconservative kingdom.

The change, which will not happen immediately, was announced on state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington. It highlights the damage that the policy has done to the kingdom’s international reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is a Muslim monarchy ruled according to Shariah law. Saudi officials and clerics have provided numerous explanations for the ban over the years.

Some said that it was inappropriate in Saudi culture for women to drive, or that male drivers would not know how to handle women in cars next to them. Others argued that allowing women to drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family. One cleric claimed — with no evidence — that driving harmed women’s ovaries. NYTimes

Saudi cleric suspended for saying women can’t drive due to brain shrinkage

A Saudi cleric who said women should not drive because their brains shrink to a quarter the size of a man’s when they go shopping has been banned from preaching, state television said.

Saad al-Hijri was suspended from all religious activity after advising against allowing women to drive in a speech that contained comments “diminishing human value,” the broadcaster quoted a spokesman for the governor of Asir province as saying. JPost

US Establishes Permanent Military Base In Israel

A first.

For the first time in history, the United States on Monday established an official, permanent military base in Israel: an air defense base in the heart of the Negev desert.

Dozens of US Air Force soldiers will call home the new base, located inside the Israeli Air Force’s Mashabim Air Base, west of the towns of Dimona and Yerucham.

Brig. Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch, head of the IAF’s Aerial Defense Command, announced the establishment of the installation on Monday evening.

“It’s nothing short of historic,” he said. It demonstrates the “years-old alliance between the United States and the State of Israel.” …

It is located not far from a US military radar installation east of Dimona that tracks ballistic missiles once they are launched and provides details on their flight paths to defense systems.

US military forces are routinely based in Israel, both for joint exercises and for routine cooperation with the IDF, but Haimovitch described the new base as a meaningful change.

“We established an American base in the State of Israel, in the Israel Defense Forces, for the first time, with an American flag,” he said. TimesOfIsrael

Video:  The US establishes first official military base in Israel

Has France Been Bought By Qatar?

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy sold out France!

On August 4, the English press — not the French press — revealed that French prosecutors are actively investigating two events: the awarding the 2022 World Cup of football (soccer) to Qatar, and the purchase by “Qatari Diar”, a state-owned investment company, of a stake in the French utility firm Veolia.

At the center of the investigation is former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. To be sure, Sarkozy has not been formally indicted (and he may never be), but the evidence is overwhelming.

First, the World Cup. That the State of Qatar, known for decades for its active support of Islamic terror organizations, and with a temperature among the highest in the world — in addition to zero tradition in the world of football — was awarded the 2022 World Cup is, of course, a source of wonder ever since the award was announced by FIFA, the international governing body of football….

It is doubtful if the French investigators will ever get to the bottom of these two cases. The judiciary in France has a long tradition of submitting to the government. Since 1789, the French judiciary has not even been an independent power — as are the Legislative and the Executive — but a mere authority with a more limited scope.

It is revealing that these two investigations were exposed, not by the French press, but by the English press.

What we already know for sure is the following:

  1. A state sponsor of terrorism, Qatar, was allowed to buy France’s leading soccer team, Paris-Saint-Germain, with the help of then-president Nicolas Sarkozy. The former owner of the PSG was a private fund controlled in Europe by one of Sarkozy’s close friends. There would have been no deal without the direct consent of Sarkozy — that is the way France functions.
  2. A state sponsor of terrorism, Qatar, was not only allowed, but actively courted, by French officials to invest in some of France’s largest companies, including defense companies, such as Veolia, as well as the Airbus parent company, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS); the energy group EDF; the construction firm, Vinci; and the media and defense group Lagardère.
  3. A state sponsor of terrorism, Qatar, was actively supported in its 2022 bid for the World Cup by the government of France and Nicolas Sarkozy, who declared after the FIFA vote in 2010: “Sport does not belong to a few countries. It belongs to the world… I don’t understand those who say that events should always be held in the same countries and the same continents.”
  4. There is a significant part of the French political class that seems to consider the Embassy of Qatar in Paris some sort of automatic teller machine (ATM), as has been showed by renowned journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot in their book, Nos très chers émirs (Our Very Dear Emirs) and deplored by the new ambassador of Qatar in France, Meshaal al-Thani.
  5. Since 2008, a state sponsor of terrorism, Qatar, has benefited from a huge tax break in France: the exemption of profits on property sales. In France, profits on property sales are not only taxed at 19%, they are subject to a further CSG/CRDS and social tax (15.5%), resulting in a combined total minimum tax rate of 34.5%. The rule is the same for everyone, whether a person or a corporation. Everyone, that is, but the State of Qatar, when the administration of Nicolas Sarkozy decided to exempt it from the tax. As a result, Qatar’s royal family and sovereign fund have since built up a huge portfolio of assets in France, one that dwarfs the portfolio of a state such as Saudi Arabia. Qatar’s portfolio ranges from a Champs-Élysées mall to the Lido Cabaret. “Our deficit has destroyed our freedom,” said Nathalie Goulet, a centrist senator from Lower Normandy, in 2013. “The Qataris are here to buy, while we are selling our family jewels.” Which they did. [1]

Qatar and other Gulf states try to benefit from tax exemptions everywhere in the world, but this convergence of facts — the selling of assets, sports clubs, defense companies and governmental representatives — is unique to France. It is through these tax breaks — this is only one of them — that the Qataris are buying the “jewels” of France.  GateStoneIntitute

Russia Seeks To Repatriate Russian Speaking Children in Iraq Whose Parents Joined ISIS

Iraq and Russian authorities to bring Russian speaking orphans to Russian.  The children’s pictures were shown on RT, some of the children were recognized by their relatives in Russia.   These children are traumatized, very young, and have no official papers.

According to Samih Beno, a Jordanian politician of Chechen origin, 48 minors, presumably children of Russian citizens, are now being held in different Iraqi shelters. Beno, also the head of the Chechen Republic’s Friends Association in Jordan, helped begin the evacuation and serves as a mediator during talks between representatives of different countries and international public organizations. No concrete date as to when minors could be brought back home can be set at the moment, as the process of their return is full of legal complications. T

o bring the children back, it must be confirmed they are all Russian citizens, which is not easy as the minors lack documents proving their identity and can hardly tell the authorities anything about themselves or their family aside from a name.  According to Beno, the kids will have to undergo a DNA test to prove they are relatives with people who claim so.  RT

Just this week, two more children, whose parents are believed to be Russian-speaking, were brought into the orphanage in Baghdad. However, getting the new arrivals to open up and talk has proved to be a difficult process.

Mouhamed allegedly speaks a mixture of Russian and Arabic, but says nothing to reveal his identity. He has an injury on one of his knees. Haddja says nothing at all. She is suffering from a wound to her ankle, in what appears to be a severe burn.

One of their mates said both children were brought into the orphanage at night, and she has not heard either of them speak Russian since. The team working on the ground is now trying to establish if the children are of Russian descent.  RT

Arriving In Russia

A four-year-old Chechen boy has been brought back to Russia after living with his jihadist father, who was fighting alongside ISIS in Mosul. Russian authorities are now seeking the return of several dozen such children from Iraqi orphanages.

Bilal Tagirov’s mother hadn’t seen him for two years. In October 2015, the child was kidnapped from his native Chechnya by his father, Khasan Tagirov, who went to fight alongside Islamic State jihadists, first in Syria and then in Iraq.

Two sisters – Hadija and Fatima

RT correspondent Murad Gazdiev traveled to the Russian republic of Dagestan, after grandparents of two sisters – Hadija and Fatima came forward. Both said they hadn’t slept for three days since they saw the video with the girls.

The girls were taken by their parents to Mosul some two years ago, then both parents were killed in a drone strike, leaving the children orphans, Gazdiev said, citing the girls’ grandparents.

“Our children secretly left us. How could they take away their own helpless kids? If you are leaving why do you need to traumatize the kids? I still don’t understand it,” the grandfather of the girls said passionately.

“We are waiting for our girls,” their grandmother added.  RT

 

Mariam can hardly pronounce her name. At first she stayed silent, but then managed to speak of her injuries and the ordeal she suffered when the house she lived in with her family came under fire one day.

“Someone began shooting at the house. After that they threw grenades. And this is when the fire started,” she says. “Then I was hit by shrapnel. And this is how blood spilled from my head. Lots of blood,” she said, touching scars on her face, apparently left by shrapnel.

Mariam says that her mother was shot dead and she doesn’t know where her father is.

“There were snipers across the river. The snipers shot at my mother right here,” Mariam says. “They shot her in the arm. The head and the arm. And then she died.”

Hours after RT aired the report about Mariam, a woman from the Russian Republic of Dagestan contacted the channel, claiming that the girl in the video was her granddaughter.

“It’s my granddaughter!” the woman identified as Patimatzagra said through tears, adding that her daughter’s name was Madina. She was in shock to hear the girl say that her mother had died…

Mariam’s parents took the girl and left Dagestan in 2014, the woman said. From time to time Madina sent her photos and videos of Mariam and two boys, presumably, Mariam’s siblings. However, she stopped answering calls in January this year.RT

Mariam

Mariam had problems even pronouncing her own name when she was discovered by RT in an Iraqi orphanage earlier in August.

The girl suffered immense psychological and physical trauma after her mother was killed by a sniper in front of her eyes and she herself was hit by shrapnel.

However, she was seen smiling for the first time in a long while as she was surrounded by the caring family in Grozny.

Earlier in August, a four-year-old Chechen boy, Bilal Tagirov, returned to Russia after living with his jihadist father, who was fighting for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Mosul.

Around 50 children of Russian citizens currently remain in various shelters, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, told RIA Novosti.

Their return home is a complicated affair due to the kids lacking passports, bureaucratic hurdles and the difficult security situation in Iraq.  RT

PA Chairman Abbas – He Won’t Stop Giving American Money to Terrorists Untill His Dying Day

Congress needs to turn the money off.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has rejected American demands that he stop using foreign financial aid to pay stipends and salaries to the families of jailed Palestinian terrorists.

Abbas met last week with US envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt as part of President Donald Trump’s efforts to restart Middle East peace talks.

According to Israeli journalists present at the meeting, Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law, reiterated the long-standing demand that the Palestinian Authority not reward terrorism with financial gain.

Congress has repeatedly threatened to halt all foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority over the payments to jailed terrorists, nearly all of whom are incarcerated in Israel for carrying out attacks on Jewish men, women and children.

The Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds reported that Abbas’ response was to “inform Kushner that he would never stop paying these salaries until his dying day, even if this cost him the presidency.”

“Article courtesy of Israel Today magazine, Israel Today.

Gatestone Institute has an explanation of what is taking place:

For the record, this is not a defense of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas or of funding terrorists. It is simply an explanation of what is taking place. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the idea of ending payments to Palestinian terrorists and their families is a challenging one, to say the least. Old habits, especially of hate, are hard to break.

The practice of paying salaries to terrorists and the families of “martyrs” is as old as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was founded in 1964. It did not start after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. Nor did this practice start after Abbas was elected as president of the PA in January 2005.

Prior to the establishment of the PA, the PLO relied solely on Arab and Islamic financial aid to pay salaries to imprisoned terrorists and the families of those killed in terror attacks against Israel.

But after most of the Arab countries turned their backs on the PLO, following its support for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent establishment of the PA, the Europeans and Americans became the major donors to the Palestinians — including payments to the terrorists and their families.

Is a massive shift in attitude possible?

A plan to dry up the funds that support terrorists and their families, is doomed from the start unless these leaders reverse their behavior and embark on a process of de-radicalizing their people…

Under Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, countless institutions have been established to support terrorists and their families. At one point, they even set up a special ministry called the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs. Its main goal: “to ensure a decent life for prisoners and care for their children and their families.” Why should any Palestinian go to university and search for a job when he can make a “decent living” murdering Jews?

Full article at GatestoneInstitte

Turkey Starts Building ‘Security Wall’ On Iran Border

Turkey has begun building a Turkey-Iran border wall similar to the one on the Turkey-Syria border.   Ankara said the step is necessary to increase security measures at the border.

Tehran welcomed the move. “We welcome all kinds of actions that will increase security and stability at the border. We are in favour of deeper bilateral dialogue to increase coordination in this regard. Border security is important for both Iran and Turkey and the necessary efforts should be made by both countries,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi was quoted as saying by a local daily shortly after Turkey’s announcement in May 2017. IBT

Iran Border

Turkey has begun building a “security wall” along part of its border with Iran, regional officials said Tuesday, in a move aimed at stopping Kurdish separatists.

Pictures showing huge concrete blocks being moved into place were published on the governor’s website for the eastern Agri province.

Turkish authorities announced construction of a 144-kilometer (80-mile) long barrier in May as a means of blocking cross-border movements by members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The entire Turkish-Iranian frontier is around 500 kilometers long.

Syrian Border

To beef up security on its Syrian border, Turkey began constructing a similar wall two years ago to prevent Islamic State group fighters moving easily between the two countries and to clamp down on illegal crossings.

In June, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said 690 kilometers out of a planned 828 kilometers of the wall had been completed along the frontier with Syria.

He added that further border security measures would be put in place once the construction had been completed. TimesOfIsrael

Ancient Stone Workshop Uncovered Near Site Where Jesus Turned Water Into Wine

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. John 2:1-2

Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. John 2: 6-7

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a rare 2,000-year-old stone quarry and workshop located near the ancient Galilean town of Cana, which is recorded in the Christian Gospels as the place where Jesus turned water into wine.JNS

The quarry for producing chalkstone containers dating back to the Roman era is currently being excavated at Reina in Lower Galilee, by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). In this small cave archaeologists have uncovered thousands of chalkstone vessels such as mugs and bowls in varying stages of production.

The IAA director of the excavations, Dr Yonatan Adler, said: ‘In ancient times, most tableware, cooking pots and storage jars were made of pottery. In the first century of the Common Era, however, Jews throughout Judea and Galilee also used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone’.  ChristianToday

Archaeological excavations inside the ancient workshop at Reina in Lower Galilee. (Samuel Magal/IAA)

Cave – Quarry Workshop

What is rare, however, is to find a production center for such vessels. The four locations uncovered to date in Israel — two near Jerusalem, this one in Reina, and a fourth site found recently in its vicinity which is currently under excavation — highlight “the pivotal role of ritual purity observance not only in Jerusalem but in far-off Galilee as well,” said Adler.

The small cave in Reina was uncovered during the construction of a municipal sports center. So far archaeologists have unearthed thousands of pieces of chalkstone that were scooped out from the inside of cups and bowls as they were formed, and other types of production waste, including fragments of stone mugs and bowls in various stages of production, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. TimesofIsrael

Stone vessels unearthed inside the ancient Galilee workshop. Images Source IAA

Stone Vessels Quarry Workshop

The quarry for producing chalkstone containers dating back to the Roman era is currently being excavated at Reina in Lower Galilee, by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). In this small cave archaeologists have uncovered thousands of chalkstone vessels such as mugs and bowls in varying stages of production.

The IAA director of the excavations, Dr Yonatan Adler, said: ‘In ancient times, most tableware, cooking pots and storage jars were made of pottery. In the first century of the Common Era, however, Jews throughout Judea and Galilee also used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone’.

The choice of chalkstone was apparently a religious one, centered on the idea of Jewish ritual purity. Adler said: ‘According to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken. Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material which can never become ritually impure, and as a result ancient Jews began to produce some of their everyday tableware from stone.

‘Although chalkstone vessels are well known at many Jewish sites throughout the country, it is extremely unusual to uncover a site where such vessels where actually produced.’

He added: ‘Our excavations are highlighting the pivotal role of ritual purity observance not only in Jerusalem but in far-off Galilee as well’.

The use of stone vessels is noted across historical sources from the era, not least the Gospel of John. In the story of the wedding at Cana, where Christ famously turned water into wine, John writes: ‘Now there were six stone water jars set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing 20 or 20 gallons each’ (John 2:6).  ChristianToday

Video:  Excavations in Galilee Reveal a 2,000 Year-Old Stone Vessel Production Center

Roman City That Was Home To Jesus’s Apostles Has Been Found In Israel, Archaeologists Say

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.   John 1:44

They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”   John 12:21

Archaeologists say they have discovered a lost Roman city that was home to three of Jesus’s apostles—Peter, Andrew and Philip—on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.

The Israeli researchers’ claim centers on the discovery of remains from a Roman-style bathhouse in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve, which is said to be the former location of the lost Roman city of Julias.  JNSMap Source:  Daily Mail UK

A team found a Roman-style bathhouse on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel that could be a remnant of Julias, the city that Peter, Andrew and Philip called home, Haaretz reported.

The bathhouse, uncovered at a site called el-Araj in the Bethsaida nature reserve, suggests that there was once a city in that location, as opposed to just a fishing village, which backs up information from the first-century Jewish historian Josephus Flavius — he wrote that the Jewish monarch King Philip Herod, son of Herod the Great, turned the Bethsaida fishing village into a Roman city.  IBTimes

The lost Roman city of Julias, home of three apostles of Jesus. Zachary Wong

Josephus Flavius – Bethsaida

None other than the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius – in fact the only source describing this city’s existence – wrote that the Jewish monarch King Philip Herod, son of the great vassal King Herod, transformed Bethsaida, which had been a Jewish fishing village, into a real Roman polis (Ant. 18:28. Though whether it was built on Bethsaida, or by it, remains unknown.)

Philip flatteringly renamed the city “Julias” after Livia Drusilla, who after marriage would become known as Julia Augusta, the mother of the Roman Emperor Tiberius.

“Josephus reported that the king had upgraded Bethsaida from a village into a polis, a proper city,” Aviam says meticulously. “He didn’t say it had been built on or beside or underneath it. And indeed, all this time, we have not known where it was. But the bathhouse attests to the existence of urban culture.”

Josephus himself would take over fortifying Bethsaida’s defenses (as reported by himself) ahead of the Great Jewish Revolt against Rome that began in 67 C.E., and would end in disaster for the Jews in 70 C.E.  Josephus himself claims to have been hurt in battle in the swamp near Julias (Life 399-403). Haaretz

Pottery shards and a mosaic were also found at the site.  The Roman layer was discovered is 211 meters (about 700 feet) below sea level.

A Roman bathhouse with mosaic fragments.Zachary Wong

What the archaeologists found at el-Araj is an older layer dating from the late Roman period, the 1st to 3rd centuries C.E., two meters below the Byzantine level. That Roman layer contained pottery sherds from the 1st to the 3rd centuries B.C.E., a mosaic, and the remains of the bathhouse. Two coins were found, a bronze coin from the late 2nd century and a silver denarius featuring the Emperor Nero from the year 65-66 C.E.

And has a major missing church been found too? The excavators found walls with gilded glass tesserae for a mosaic, an indication of a wealthy and important church. Willibald, the bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria, visited the Holy Land in 725 C.E., and in his itinerary, he describes his visit to a church at Bethsaida that was built over the house of Peter and Andrew. It may well be that the current excavations have unearthed evidence for that church, say the archaeologists. Haaretz

Online:  Haaretz – The Lost Home of Jesus’ Apostles Has Just Been Found, Archaeologists Say

Russia Military In Southern Syria Near Israel’s Border

Russia is deploying troops to southern Syria, near the Israeli border, Ynet reports citing reports in Arabic-language media.

According to the Lebanese-based Al Mayadeen news channel, Russia is building a military base in the area of Quneitra and Dara’a, on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. TimesOfIsrael

Russian military forces have replaced the Syrian regime’s military presence in Daraa and Quneitra in southern Syria, and have built a base in the area, Syrian opposition sources reported this week.

The move indicates that Russia intends to create a more permanent military presence near Israel’s northern border, and comes after the implementation of a Syrian cease-fire agreement brokered by the U.S. and Russia in July.

The Lebanon-based and Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen media network corroborated the reports, stating that Russian forces have been deployed in the region and are stationed in military posts shared with Syrian army units.

The Syrian army’s 4th division auxiliary force is the only regime unit due for complete withdrawal from southern Syria, while other Syrian military units will remain there, Al Mayadeen reported. Further, the Lebanese media outlet said Russia has built a military base between the city of Damascus and the suburb of Daraa.

Israeli officials remain concerned regarding the presence of the Syrian army as well as Hezbollah and Iranian forces in southern Syria. In July, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia perpetuates the presence of Iranian forces near Israel. America and Russia responded to Netanyahu’s criticism by saying Israel’s interests would be taken into account in Syria.  JNS

Half Of All Foreign Aid To The Palestinian Authority Is Used As Payments To Prisoners, ‘Martyr’ Families

Half of foreign aid to the PA is used to fund terrorism.

The 2017 Palestinian Authority budget for payments to inmates in Israeli prisons and the so-called “families of martyrs” is equal to half of the foreign aid Ramallah expects to receive this year, a recently published Israeli report shows.

According to the PA Ministry of Finance’s 2017 budget, published on its website earlier in July, salaries to incarcerated and released Palestinian prisoners, many of which are convicted terrorists, will amount in 2017 to NIS 552 million ($153.4 million).

This is an increase of 13 percent over the 2016 budget, according to a report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published July 24.

The new budget also allocates $190,869,166 for payments to the so-called “martyr’s families,” a 9% jump from the $174,630,296 allocated in 2016.

The “martyrs’ families” are defined as those with members “killed or wounded in the struggle against Zionism,” which includes those killed while committing terror attacks against Israelis, or those killed in any other context by an Israeli.

The total allocated to Palestinian prisoners and ex-prisoners, as well as martyrs’ families, in the 2017 budget is 1,239,528,424 shekels ($344,313,451), equal to 49.6% of foreign aid Ramallah expects to receive in 2017. TimesOfIsrael

Biblical Canaanites DNA Linked To Modern-Day Lebanese

Genome sequenced from 3,700-year-old remains is found in modern-say Lebanese.  Modern-day Lebanese share 93% of their DNA with the ancient Canaanites.

In the first test, the researchers aimed to assess the ancestry of the ancient Canaanites and what they found was that ancient Canaanites shared a common ancestry with other ancient Levant civilizations including Phoenicians, Israelites, and Moabites. In the second test which aimed to identify the ancestry of modern Lebanese people, the DNA analysis showed that despite being separated by more than 3,700 years, the Lebanese genome shared as much as 93% of its composition with the genome drawn from the ancient Canaanites. Another interesting finding from the genetic analysis was that the Lebanese people have been isolated from other communities for thousands of years. WorldAtlas

Researchers supported by The Wellcome Trust were able to sequence the Canaanite genome from the remains of five individuals buried in the ancient port city of Sidon (modern Saïda, Lebanon) around 3,700 years ago. The results were compared against the DNA of 99 modern-day Lebanese residents.  NationalGeographic

Canaanite Secrets Unraveled

According to the Los Angeles Times, in the last 19 years, a team of archaeologists have been unraveling Canaanite secrets hidden for thousands of years at the Sidon excavation site situated in the Lebanon’s third largest city, Sidon. Archeologists have excavated 160 burial sites from this single excavation site from which they obtained numerous skeletons from the Bronze Era. Tests conducted on the skeletons show that they were over 3,700 years old. The skeletons from the necropolis are believed to be those of ancient Canaanites and this helped archaeologist to get a glimpse of their burial rituals where young children were buried in clay jars while adults were buried in the sand.

Canaanite individuals had been buried in large clay jars.

The Canaanites DNA

The Canaanites lived at the crossroads of the ancient world. They experienced wars, conquests and occupations for millennia, and as a result evolutionary geneticists expected that their DNA would become substantially mixed with incoming populations.

Astonishingly, new genetic analysis shows that scientists were wrong. According to a new study in the American Journal of Human Genetics, today’s Lebanese share a whopping 93% of their DNA with the ancient Canaanites.

The study also found that the Bronze Age inhabitants of Sidon, a major Canaanite city-state in modern-day Lebanon, have the same genetic profile as people living 300 to 800 years earlier in present-day Jordan.

Later known as Phoenicians, the Canaanites have a murky past. Nearly all of their own records have been destroyed over the centuries, so their history has been mostly pieced together from archaeological records and the writings of other ancient peoples. LATimes

The buried remains of a Canaanite adult whose DNA was sequenced in the study. (Claude Doumet-Serhal / The Sidon Excavation)

DNA

First, they investigated the genetic ancestry of the Canaanites themselves. They found that these Bronze Age inhabitants of Sidon shared about half their DNA with local Neolithic peoples and the other half with Chalcolithic Iranians. Interestingly, this genetic profile is nearly identical to the one evolutionary geneticist IosifLazaridis and his team found last year in Bronze Age villagers near ‘Ain Ghazal in modern-day Jordan.

This suggests that Canaanite-related ancestry was spread across a wide region during the Bronze Age and was shared between urban societies on the coast and farming societies further inland. This evidence supports the idea that different Levantine cultural groups such as the Moabites, Israelites, and Phoenicians may have had a common genetic background, the authors said.

The researchers were also able to determine that the genetic mixing of the Levantine and Iranian peoples happened between 6,600 and 3,550 years ago, a range they would be able to narrow down with more ancient DNA samples from the region…

As expected, they found some new additions to the modern Lebanese genome since the Bronze Age. About 7% of modern Lebanese DNA originates from eastern Steppe peoples found in what is now Russia, but wasn’t represented in the Bronze Age Canaanites or their ancestors. What surprised the team was what was missing from their genetic data.

“If you look at the history of Lebanon — after the Bronze Age, especially — it had a lot of conquests,” Haber said. He and Tyler-Smith expected to see greater genetic contributions from multiple conquering peoples, and were surprised that as much as 93% of the Lebanese genome is shared with their Canaanite predecessors.

Though a 7% genetic influx from the Steppe seems very small, that number might be covering some hidden complexities, said Lazaridis, who worked on the Bronze Age Jordanian samples but was not involved in the new study.

Not much is known about the migrations of these eastern Steppe populations, he said. If the genomes of the incoming people were only half Steppe, for example, 14% of the Lebanese genome could have come from the new migrants.  LATimes

Online:  LATimes – The DNA of ancient Canaanites lives on in modern-day Lebanese, genetic analysis shows

National Geographic – Living Descendants of Biblical Canaanites Identified Via DNA

Study:  Continuity and Admixture in the Last Five Millennia of Levantine History from Ancient Canaanite and Present-Day Lebanese Genome Sequences,” and published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Video:  The DNA Of Ancient Canaanites Lives On In Lebanese | Los Angeles Times

Media Trumpets That Bible Is Wrong
Oops, media wrong again.

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?” Judges 1:1

after a scientific study asserted that human remains dating to roughly 3,700 years ago from ancient Canaanites had DNA quite similar to Lebanese, many media outlets trumpeted that the Bible was wrong when it claimed the ancient Canaanites were completely destroyed.

David Klinghoffer, in Evolution Newslisted the plethora of media headlines emblazoned with the idea that the Bible was wrong:

  •  “Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out” (The Telegraph)

  • “Bible says Canaanites were wiped out by Israelites but scientists just found their descendants living in Lebanon” (The Independent)

  • “Bronze Age DNA disproves the Bible’s claim that the Canaanites were wiped out: Study says their genes live on in modern-day Lebanese people” (Daily Mail)

  • “Scientists Find Evidence That Ancient Canaanites Survive Today: Was The Bible Wrong?” (Tech Times)

  • “New DNA study casts doubt on Bible claim” (Mother Nature Network)

  • “The Bible was WRONG: Civilisation God ordered to be KILLED still live and kicking” (Express)

  • “Genetic evidence suggests the Canaanites weren’t destroyed after all” (Ars Technica)

  • “Canaanites Weren’t Annihilated by Ancient Israelites After All” (Newser)

  • “Study disproves the Bible’s claim that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out” (Click Lancashire)

  • “Canaanites survived Biblical ‘slaughter’, ancient DNA shows”(ABC Online)

  • “DNA vs the Bible: Israelites did not wipe out the Canaanites” (Cosmos)

  • “The Bible got it wrong: Ancient Canaanites survived and their DNA lives in modern-day Lebanese” (Pulse Headlines)

As Klinghoffer continues:

The first chapter in Judges lists all the places in Israel where the Canaanites persisted, “to this day,” “for they did not drive them out,” “he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land,” etc. God is not happy with this, for “they shall be as snares to you, and their gods shall be a trap to you” (2:3). From the Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1 (“Canaan”), “The persistence of Canaanites within Israelite territory was a theological problem variously addressed by biblical writers.”

Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. Judges 1:31

Klinghoffer notes:  The ancient DNA evidence comprises the “complete genomes of five Canaanite individuals who lived almost 4,000 years ago in what’s now the modern-day Lebanese city of Sidon” (Science Daily). Interestingly, the Canaanites in that ancient city are among those that the Bible specifically says lived on (Judges 1:31) to cause serious trouble for the Israelites. DailyWire