Palestinian Authority Arabs set fire to Joseph's Tomb in Shechem (Nablus) on Tuesday. The burial site of the Biblical Joseph is supposed to be protected, according to all agreements with the PA.
The attack was first reported by World Net Daily's Aaron Klein, who spoke with a Fatah official who confirmed the attack.
The Arab official said PA forces were alerted Tuesday that 16 burning tires had been thrown inside the tomb, which has been vandalized several times before - beginning with its takeover and sacking in late 2000. The official said there was fire damage to the holy site and reported that the PA, fearful of embarrassment, has set up a team to learn who was behind the attack.
The arson comes shortly after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would instruct the security establishment to coordinate the reconstruction of the site with the PA.
When Israel handed Shechem over to PA control following the 1993 Oslo Accords, a stipulation was freedom of access to the site for Jews. Buses would transport visitors and the yeshiva at the site would be allowed to remain, though it was declared that Jews could not stay in the city overnight. The compound and structure surrounding the tomb were very heavily damaged after the IDF abandoned the site in 2000, with the outbreak of the Oslo War. PA Arabs proceeded to paint its dome green and declare it a mosque in the days following the initial abandonment.
A follow-up report by WND's Klein Thursday elicited a statement from Fatah referring to the tomb as the “burial site of the holy Muslim Joseph” and promising to guard “this holy Muslim site."