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Israel’s ancient pools from time of Jesus to be restored

Solomon’s Pools near Bethlehem in the West Bank. Wikimedia Commons

Ancient pools that provided water to Jerusalem around the time of Jesus are to be restored under a $750,000 renovation funded by the United States, AFP has reported.

The pools, 3, located in the south-central West Bank, immediately to the south of the Palestinian village of al-Khader, were built around the time of Jesus’s birth and named after the biblical King Solomon (around 950 BC), connecting them with the story described in the Book of Ecclesiastes 2.6: “I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.”

According to research from the Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS), the first aqueduct which fed the pools from the south was probably built by Herod the Great between 37 and 4 BC.

The pools have fallen into disrepair in the 2,000 years since and only two of the three are full with water, with the oldest one in poor condition.

Since 1993, at least six people have drowned in the pools, which are not monitored, according to the IPS.

AFP says that the US Consulate in Jerusalem has provided $750,000 for renovations and hopes to see the pools become part of a major tourism site in the West Bank.

“This project is about more than just protecting history. It is about protecting the lives and livelihoods of the people living here today.” US Consul General Donald Blome told AFP.

The media outlet further states that this grant comes as the administration of the US President Donald Trump is trying to convince Palestinian and Israeli leaders to restart stalled peace negotiations and economic support to the Palestinians has been a key pillar of such attempts.

George Bassous, general manager of the Solomon’s Pools, said the site had been neglected in the past. ‘The importance of this site stems from the fact that it has for centuries provided Jerusalem with water, so it is our duty to protect and restore it,’ he said.

By Paul Dennis.

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