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March 29, 2015 / 9 Nisan, 5775
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Joseph’s Tomb Attack A Harbinger Of What Palestinian State Will Bring

Masked Palestinian youth burn tires and throw stones in Joseph's Tomb.

Masked Palestinian youth burn tires and throw stones in Joseph's Tomb.
Photo Credit: Archives

Sunday’s attack on Jewish worshippers at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus needs to be understood as something more significant than just another unfortunate instance of violence between Jews and Arabs. It is nothing less than a warning of what will happen once Palestinians achieve full sovereignty, as the Obama administration appears to be demanding, over all of the West Bank.

The incident occurred when a group of religious Jews, members of the Breslov chassidic sect, visited the Jewish holy site unaccompanied by Israeli soldiers. The tomb is located in the city of Nablus, a place that is completely under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Twice a month Israel coordinates a visit by those Israelis who wish to pray there but religious Jews believe, not without reason, that restricting Jewish worship at the site in this manner is wrong and often attempt to go on their own. Rather than merely accommodate the presence of a few Jews in an Arab city, the Palestinian Authority police attacked the group that arrived on Sunday, killing one and wounding two others.

That this crime was committed by a member of the Palestinian Authority’s own security forces – which have been trained and vouched for by the PA’s foreign donors such as the United States – is telling. Rather than keep the peace and root out the terrorists who are a threat to the safety of both Jews and Arabs, the PA police have yet again proven themselves to be a group that is willing to commit acts of terrorism themselves. Advertisement

There is, after all, a precedent for the PA police to act in this manner around Joseph’s Tomb. In 1996, six Israeli soldiers were killed during a Palestinian attack on the site. Four years later, at the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000, PA policemen stormed the holy site that was at that time the home of a yeshiva. An Israeli soldier was killed in the assault after which a Palestinian mob sacked the Tomb, demolishing it and desecrating holy books and Torah scrolls.

Since then, the Tomb has been partially restored but Palestinian Authority leaders have continued to deny Judaism’s connection to the site despite the obviously Jewish nature of this historical site (for example, the Tomb is oriented north to south which is inconsistent with Muslim tombs that are located north of Mecca).

While foreign observers routinely refer to the PA and its security forces as being committed to peace, this incident illustrates the problem that Israel faces. With the PA itself continuing to allow its media to foment hatred of Jews and Israelis, it is little surprise that their policemen use the weapons they have been given to commit acts of violence rather than prevent them

The Jewish man who was murdered Sunday happened to be the nephew of Limor Livnat, a minister in Israel’s current government. At his funeral she spoke the truth when she said that “He was murdered simply because he was Jewish.”

But his death is a tragedy that should remind us that future atrocities await Israel if the PA is allowed to become fully sovereign. It should be remembered that if the Obama administration has its way and Israel is forced to retreat to the 1949 armistice lines, even more Jewish holy places would be placed under their control.

The PA’s clear policy is to deny the Jewish nature of virtually every sacred place in the country including the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Those who believe that the PA can be trusted to guarantee free access and the right to worship in those areas where their police have unfettered control are kidding themselves. After all, although the West Bank is routinely referred to as being under Israeli occupation, Sunday’s incident in Nablus highlights the fact that the PA police can murder Jews with impunity there with Israel being reduced to merely complaining about the crime after the fact.

Those who advocate the creation of more such no-go zones are setting Israel up not for a future of peace – but one in which the Jewish heritage of the land will be erased and where blood will be spilled with impunity.

Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of Commentary magazine and a contributor to its Contentions blog where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


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7 Responses to “Joseph’s Tomb Attack A Harbinger Of What Palestinian State Will Bring”

  1. Larry Snider says:

    There is no excuse for the murder of Jews or Palestinians at Joseph's Tomb or elsewhere. It is not acceptable and must be investigated with those found culpable charged, judged and sentenced whether it occurs there, in Hebron or Jerusalem or any place else in the West Bank or Israel. There are too many instances of bad behavior by Palestinians and Israelis as well as by security forces on both sides. Peace is not easy and the lesson learned by anyone who takes the law into there own hands is to enfore the law and for government officials to underline and reinforce it as what is necessary and right regardless of the nationality or ethnicity of the perpetrator or he victim.

  2. Ray Long says:

    This type of hate crime, terror attack, <insert your preferred label> is common and increasing in both frequency, and in severity.

  3. Anastasia Klein says:

    so, what is Ms. Livnat going to DO about this? nothing..because nothing is ever done, just wringing of hands..woe is us….instead of ridding Israel of the scum.

  4. Shut down the 'mosque' in Jerusalem. It's ours anyway.

  5. Anastasia Klein says:

    what bad behavior by Israelis? Do Jews fire rockets daily into fakestine? or only after fired upon? Jews give fakestine water, and other necessities/non-necessities….I don't give one _______ about the "fakestinians." let them go to Jordan…oh, right, even their brethren hate them..

  6. Gil Gilman says:

    This is action typical of those who care only about their own agenda. They don't care about History, because theirs is a lie anyway and they make it up as they go along.

    They care not for tradition since their only tradition is to lie and use their children as a shield.

    They do not mind hurting others, but when apprehended, put down their weapons and cry "don't shoot!"

    In other words they are typical criminals and gangsters known the world over for cowardice and stupidity. It is odd not only that the media and politicians amongst the nations refuse to see this

  7. Gil Gilman says:

    but that there are those among us who advocate acting just like them to alleviate the situation.

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