Matti Friedman in the Chicago Tribune:
Underneath the homes and ragged streets of the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan lie the remnants of a glorious Jewish past: coins, seals, a water tunnel hewn by a Judean king 2,700 years ago, a road that led to a biblical Temple.
But archaeology is hard-wired into the politics of modern-day Arab-Israeli strife, and new digs to unearth more of this past are cutting to the heart of the charged argument over who owns the holy city today.
Israel says it’s reconnecting with its ancient heritage. Palestinians contend the archaeology is a political weapon to undermine their own links to Jerusalem.
Lying on a densely populated slope outside the walled Old City, the area is known to Israelis as the City of David, named for the legendary monarch who ruled a Jewish kingdom from this spot 3,000 years ago. It is the kernel from which Jerusalem grew.
But Silwan is in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in 1967 and which Palestinians claim for the capital of a future state.
Palestinians and Israelis are trying again to negotiate a peace deal, one which must include an agreement to share Jerusalem. The collision in this neighborhood — between Silwan and the City of David — encapsulates the complexities ahead.
More here. [Thanks to Ruchira Paul.]