The destruction of Joseph's Tomb
Joseph's tomb as it was before the Palestinian at
Palestinian enjoying the fire
The buildings around Joseph's tomb, set in fire b
Joseph's Tomb is a shrine near the city of Nablus in the West Bank. It is traditionally considered by some religious branches to be the burial place of the Biblical patriarch Joseph, and is located in the Samaritan city of Shechem
Israel first gained control of the tomb in 1967, following the Six-Day War and a small settlement grew inside the site compound.
In the mid-1980s a Jewish yeshiva, Od Yosef Chai, was built at the site along with an Israeli Defence Forces military outpost.
In 1995, the settlement was transferred to Palestinian National Authority jurisdiction however Israeli troops continued to control the site to ensure free access to students and pilgrims per the Oslo accords. During the Western Wall Tunnel riots in 1996, the tomb was attacked and six Israeli soldiers were killed.
Near the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in October 2000, the shrine became a target of armed militant demonstrators. Seventeen Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed in fighting around the tomb. On October 7, 2000 the Israeli army withdrew from the site leaving it in the hands of the Palestinians. Soon afterward, the abandoned tomb and army post were ransacked (the outpost and yeshiva were destroyed in the attack); the Palestinian police allegedly allowed the ransacking to go ahead without intervention.
Nablus mayor Ghassan Shakaa promised to repair the site to its pre-1967 state, and repairs were carried out; however, workers painted the exterior of the shrine's dome green (the color of Islam), fuelling speculation that the Palestinians intended to build a mosque on the site. After some world outcry, the dome was repainted a neutral colour.
Since 2000, Israelis are no longer allowed to visit the site, although some pilgrims are at times allowed to enter under armed escort. Despite the ban some Breslov hasidim still visit the site under the cover of darkness evading army and police checkpoints. There had been an incident where some of these pilgrims were attacked and wounded.
With this ban and the fears that Palestinian authorities are not sufficiently protecting Jewish and Christian religious sites the shrine has become the source of ongoing frustration and anger amongst Jews.
On February 23, 2003 the carved stone covering the grave was destroyed.
On May, 2007, the Breslov hasidim visited the site for the first time in two years. A gunman attacked his gathering, and Israeli gunmen returned fire.
In 2007, it was discovered that the tomb had been vandalised, and filled with burning garbage.
In February 2008, vandals set burning tires inside the tomb. As a response, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas declared the tomb a Muslim holy site, and downplayed reports of joint Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on restoring the tomb.