Overnight, hundreds of Palestinian rioters attacked the tomb of the Biblical figure Joseph, a Jewish holy site, causing severe damage after parts of the compound were set on fire.
The incident came after a day of relative quiet, in which there were no significant attacks on Israelis. However, a 15-year-old Arab girl from Beersheva in southern Israel was arrested as she set out to perpetrate a stabbing in Jerusalem. During the last week, a spate of daily stabbings and other attacks across the country has left eight Israelis dead. The violence has been stoked by erroneous Palestinian allegations that Israel intends to alter the status quo at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Early this morning, around 150 Palestinians attacked the Joseph’s Tomb compound in Nablus and set fire to part of the building. Palestinian reports say that Molotov cocktails were thrown at the building and some rioters entered the compound igniting flammable materials. There were no reported injuries, but significant damage is said to have been caused. Although the tomb is located in territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), the IDF coordinates occasional visits by Israeli Jews wishing to pray there but does not maintain a presence at the site. The tomb had remained under Israeli control under the Oslo Accords of the 1990s, but has been the scene of severe Palestinian violence on several occasions since then.
Palestinian firefighters extinguished the blaze and Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces then dispersed the rioters. The IDF said that it views the incident with “utmost severity” and will repair the site to allow worshippers to once more enter the compound.
Senior Israeli officials, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the head of the Civil Administration Brig. Gen. David Menachem spoke with Palestinian counterparts about the incident. Ynet reports that the Palestinian officials condemned the attack and pledged to restore the status quo.