Clashes erupt as 1,200 Israelis pray at Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus
Oct. 10, 2016 3:24 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 10, 2016 3:24 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an – Palestinian news agency) — More than a thousand Israelis
escorted by Israeli forces visited Joseph’s Tomb in the northern occupied
West Bank district of Nablus on Sunday night, sparking clashes with local
Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that Israeli settlers from different
settlements across the West Bank traveled in 24 buses and arrived to the
religious site near the Balata refugee camp, where they performed religious
rituals until dawn.
Clashes broke out in the area, with Israeli soldiers reportedly firing tear
gas and sound bombs, and Palestinian youth throwing rocks and empty bottles.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces escorted 1,200
Israelis to Joseph’s Tomb when “violent riots” erupted, with dozens of
Palestinians throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.
She added that Israeli forces used “riot dispersal means,” including
rubber-coated steel bullets.
No injuries were reported on either side.
The visit by Israelis comes during the Jewish high holidays, a day before
the holiday of Yom Kippur.
Joseph’s Tomb — revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans — is
the site of regular visits by Israelis, who are escorted by Israeli military
forces to the area, often leading to clashes with local Palestinians.
Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, Joseph’s Tomb was to remain under Israeli
control, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) took over the site after the
Israeli army withdrew during the Second Intifada.
As part of security cooperation with the PA, the Israeli army allows Jewish
worshipers to make monthly pilgrimages to the site.