Palestinians Attempt to Bomb 1,000 Jewish Pilgrims Visiting Joseph's Tomb, Judaism's Third Holiest Site
By: AARON KLEIN
TEL AVIV - On Tuesday, Palestinians apparently attempted to bomb Joseph's Tomb, considered Judaism's third holiest site, during a visit there earlier today by about 1,000 Jewish pilgrims.
The Times of Israel reports:
Army sappers detonated a cellphone-operated explosive device that was apparently planted by Palestinians at the entrance to the Joseph's Tomb holy site in the city of Nablus early Tuesday morning, ahead of a visit by approximately 1,000 Jewish worshipers, the army said.
There were no injuries or significant damage caused by the controlled blast, and the pilgrimage to the shrine continued as planned, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said.
The 1,000 or so worshipers were escorted to Joseph's Tomb - believed to be the burial site of the biblical patriarch - by IDF soldiers, border guards and Israel Police officers, the army said. According to the military, as the group was leaving the area, local residents began to throw rocks at the troops and the buses, causing no injuries, but some light damage to the vehicles.
Joseph's Tomb is believed to be the burial place of the biblical patriarch Joseph. It's considered the third holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron.
Israel vacated Joseph's Tomb in 2000 and the Palestinian Authority quickly took over the area. The Israel Defense Forces helps to arrange and protect several visits per month for Jewish pilgrims to visit the site.
This reporter previously documented how the Palestinians desecrated the site within less than an hour of Israel's unilateral evacuation from the tomb:
Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, which granted nearby strategic territory to the Palestinians, Joseph's Tomb was supposed to be accessible to Jews and Christians. But following repeated attacks against Jewish worshippers at the holy site by gunmen associated with then-Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat's militias, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak in October 2000 ordered an Israeli unilateral retreat from the area.
Within less than an hour of the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph's Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb's interior.
Palestinians hoisted a Muslim flag over the tomb. Amin Maqbul, an official from Arafat's office, visited the tomb to deliver a speech declaring, "Today was the first step to liberate (Jerusalem)."
One BBC reporter described the scene: "The site was reduced to smoldering rubble - festooned with Palestinian and Islamic flags - cheering Arab crowd."
Palestinians also constructed a mosque on the rubble of the tomb's adjacent yeshiva compound. Workers painted the dome of the compound green, the Islamic color.
Since Israel's retreat from the tomb in 2000, Palestinians have repeatedly desecrated the site, committing numerous arsons and other attacks.Jews, Militant Islam, Terrorists, Palestinian Terrorists, Israeli Military, U.S. Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel