PA Criticized for Honoring Oslo Accords
The Palestinian Authority was criticized Thursday by a local Arab committee in Shechem for allowing Jews to visit Joseph's Tomb, the Maan News Agency reported.
Saying they "refuse and condemn" PA dialogue with "settler groups" who wish to visit Joseph's Tomb, the Factional Coordination Committee demanded a stop to coordinating any such visits.
The statement, signed by officials from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People's Party, the Palestinian Democratic Union, the Palestinian Liberation Front, and the Arab Liberation Front, was the latest reaction to changes in the way visits to the area are coordinated.
The statement was made after twelve right-wing MKs, many of whom do not reside in Judea and Samaria, made a pilgrimage to Joseph's Tomb earlier this week in a rare daylight visit coordinated by the IDF and PA officials.
The group, which terms all Jews in Israel as "settlers," described the MKs visit as a "dangerous trend," saying PA police should "protect our people from occupation forces and settler aggression instead of protecting the settler leaders."
The signatories questioned the motives of the PA leadership saying increased coordination with the IDF allowing Jews to visit the site was "collusion with the occupation" and served to "oppress Palestinians."
Joseph's Tomb was inaccessible to Jews during the seventeen year Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria from 1949-1967. After the Six Day War Jews were able to freely visit the site. Under the Oslo Accords in 1993 the tomb was initially in Area C, under Israeli jurisdiction, but Israel eventually handed control of the site over to the PA.
Since that time Israelis have only been able to vist the site with the express permission of the IDF and PA officials who coordinate visits to the site.
Most Jewish visits to the site occur at night, but the MKs recent visit was conducted in broad daylight, which is considered a step towards normalizing Jewish visits by PA Arabs who object to Jews visiting at all.
The MKs daylight visit was conducted seven weeks after Minister Limor Livnat's nephew, Ben Yosef Livnat, was brutally murdered by PA security forces at Joseph's tomb.
Israel has classified Ben Yosef Livnat as a terror victim.