The site of King Saul’s palace in Jerusalem, Givat Shaul, has been sitting abandoned for years and Chaim Silberstein, Founder and President of Im Eshkachech - Keep Jerusalem, is calling on the Israeli government to rehabilitate the area.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Silberstein explains that the site, also called Tel El Ful, has been abandoned by the Israeli government due to longtime pressure from the Jordanian government.
“It’s real name is Givat Shaul, the place where King Saul had his palace over 3,000 years ago. An amazing place with an amazing view, and historical and archeological importance,” Silberstein says.
“Unfortunately, the government of Israel has abandoned this place, probably because of the Jordanian pressure. King Hussein and his son afterwards King Abdullah claim this area belongs to them. How can that be if their whole occupation of Jerusalem between 1949 and 1967 was illegal?”
By law, the site belongs to the gov of Israel, he explains.
“The Jordanians say it’s theirs because they confiscated 50 acres of this area to build a summer palace for King Hussein. That’s simply not true according to International law. And this land belongs to the State of Israel. And it is so important that we have to come back here and revive it and rebuilt it up and at least to do archeological excavations here to uncover more of our amazing history here in Jerusalem.”
When asked why Israel has kept the status quo in the area even before the peace treaty with Jordan, Silberstein replies that even in 1994 when King Hussein signed the peace agreement with Rabin, Hussein “demanded that both the Temple Mount and Tel el-Ful which we know as Givat Shaul would be under the sovereignty of Jordan. Rabin refused. But the area was still abandoned by the government of Israel.”
The last archeological dig there was in 1964 when the Jordanian government conducted salvaging excavations, according to Silberstein.
Im Eshkachech - Keep Jerusalem tried to pressure the Israeli government to renew archeological excavations. But so far, the status quo remains.
However, over the previous hundred years, many amazing archeological finds were made at the site dating back 3,000 years.
“This is the place that King Saul established as his palace. Certainly that has great historic archeological and Biblical importance for the Jewish people,” he says.
What are Silberstein’s demands of the Israeli government?
He is calling for the site to be rehabilitated.
“Let’s bring tourists and visitors, both locally and internationally, in to see this amazing place that’s got incredible views, to connect to our amazing history of more than 3,000 years,” Silberstein says.