Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the recent torching of a religious site Jews have particularly associated with Prophet Joseph in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus after several media accounts claimed that a group of Palestinian youth set afire the site, signaling that the inflamed conflict could keep escalating in the Holy Land.
Israeli and Arab media outlets have reported that a group of Palestinians stormed the site on Friday morning, throwing molotov cocktails at the complex. Palestinian security forces have reached the scene of the incident and cleared the rioters off the site often called as Joseph’s Tomb by Israelis.
The firefighters put out the fire at the site, but the tomb has been severely damaged.
Some Jewish communities believe that Joseph’s Tomb is located on the hill of Mount Gerizim, in Al Balata neighbourhood, where a Palestinian refugee camp with the same name also is situated.
At least eight Israelis and 33 Palestinians have died during the recent unrest since the start of the infighting. The unrest started on the eve of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, when provocative visitations of some Israelis to Islam’s holy Al Aqsa Mosque peaked mid September, and agitated Palestinian mosque goers.
While Israeli security forces continue to use excessive force and ammunition against unarmed Palestinians, sealing off Arab districts in occupied East Jerusalem, and setting up checkpoints, Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour described the situation as "collective punishment."