Hundreds of Palestinians set fire to Joseph’s Tomb overnight, causing severe damage to the holy site in Nablus.
Amid calls for a “day of rage” Friday, the Palestinian mob targeted one of Judaism’s most holy sites in an arson attack that echoes the tactics employed by the Islamic State terror group, which has consistently targeted for destruction holy sites in Iraq and Syria.
Joseph’s Tomb is said to contain the remains of the biblical patriarch Joseph, the son of the Hebrew Bible’s Jacob and Rachel.
“The burning and desecration of Joseph’s tomb… is a blatant violation and contradiction of the basic value of freedom of worship,” said Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Peter Lerner. “The IDF will take all measures to bring the perpetrators of this despicable act to justice, restore the site to its previous condition and ensure that the freedom of worship returns to Joseph’s Tomb.”
In a rare condemnation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attacks, calling for an investigation into the matter. Abbas said the act was “irresponsible” and “decided immediately to form an investigative commission,” according to AFP.
However, Abbas has done plenty to incite Palestinians to violence and destruction. “Each drop of blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every martyr will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded by Allah’s will,” Abbas said in September, prior to the current onslaught of Palestinian attacks against innocent Israeli Jews.
Although Abbas has already condemned the arson attack, and it remains clear that Palestinians were responsible for the terroristic acts, CNN ran with the following headline related to the incident: “Joseph’s Tomb site catches fire in spate of Palestinian-Israeli violence.” The CNN article explains that “fire broke out at the compound” and did not report the fact that hundreds of Palestinians were involved in the arson attack.
Some Israeli leaders have called to retake authority over the area that surrounds the tomb, which is located in disputed territories.
“Torching one of the places holy to the Jewish people is a new low, and a result of Palestinian incitement. While the Palestinians brazenly lie about us harming the status quo on the Temple Mount, they go out and burn and desecrate the sacred places of Israel, and that won’t be forgiven,” added Uri Ariel, Israel’a Agriculture Minister.
“I call on the Prime Minister to return control of Joseph’s Tomb to Israel,” Ariel added.
“We saw, in great pain, the difficult pictures from Joseph’s Tomb and are shocked at the harm done to a place holy to the Jewish people,” said Avi Roeh, the chairman of the Yesha Council, an advocacy group for Israelis who live in the West Bank. “It turns out yet again that there is no alternative to Israeli sovereignty when it comes to protecting holy sites. We demand the return of Israeli control at the site, and opening it to Jewish worship on a permanent basis,” he concluded, according to the Times of Israel.