Sign advertising the PA housing project on the site of Joshua's Altar
Sign advertising the PA housing project on the site of Joshua's AltarCourtesy

Two weeks ago, official documents from the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Local Authorities were obtained by the "Forum for the Struggle for Every Dunam," revealing construction plans for dozens of units on the area of the ancient Altar of Joshua on Mount Ebal in Samaria.

If the plans go ahead, Jewish access to the site will be blocked by Arab dwellings. The historical site dates back to the times of Joshua, the successor of Moses and leader of the Jewish People as they entered the Land of Israel after the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Demolishing historic relics that attest to ancient Jewish presence in the Land of Israel is common practice for the Palestinian Authority. The government, meanwhile, has yet to act.

Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan is now demanding that action be taken, following the revelation that the PA is actively marketing the lots at the site.

"This is the ultimate chutzpah. It's absolutely brazen. I call on the government to intervene to halt this disgrace immediately," Dagan said. "Joshua's Altar is a site with historical significance, one of the sole remains dating all the way back to the period when the Children of Israel first settled the Land. This crime is not to be blamed on the murderous Palestinian Authority, whose intentions are known, but rather on the Israeli government and every official who could be stopping it and isn't. History will judge severely those who abandoned Israel's historic sites," he added.

"The government must use its authority and responsibility according to international conventions to protect this historical site. It must order the cessation of construction and the closure of the site, and declare the entire area a national heritage site. The actions of previous governments led to a vacuum that was filled by the PA, which has one goal: erasing all evidence of the Jewish People's connection with the place," he stressed.

Joshua's Altar at Mount Ebal was discovered by Prof. Adam Zartal in the 1980s and is estimated to date back to the 13th century BCE. The findings at the site and its unique construction led to the archeologists' conclusion that it was the altar mentioned in the Books of Deuteronomy and Joshua.