Thursday, February 14, 2008

Joseph's Tomb Burned, Then Claimed, By Muslims

from WND:

Biblical hero Joseph 'was really a Muslim

Palestinians make astonishing claim, deny they'll help restore burned tomb

by Aaron Klein

In the wake of an attempt by Palestinians to burn down Joseph's Tomb – Judaism's third holiest site – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction issued a statement denying it will help restore the shrine, referring to both the shrine and the biblical patriarch as "Muslim."

"Pay no attention to the rumors that we will work with Israel to restore the burial site of the holy Muslim Joseph," said the statement, issued from Nablus, the biblical city of Shechem. "We are going to guard this holy Muslim site."

Joseph's Tomb is the believed burial place of the son of Jacob who was sold by his brothers into slavery and later became viceroy of Egypt.

Palestinian security officials in Nablus said Monday they were called to the tomb to find 16 burning tires inside the sacred structure. A Palestinian police official who inspected the site told WND there was some fire damage to the tomb.

He said the Palestinian Authority, fearing embarrassment, immediately formed a joint committee from the PA's Force 17, Preventative Security Services and Palestinian intelligence, to find out who was behind the fire.

The move comes after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced last week he would ask Israel's Defense Ministry to work with the PA to reconstruct and restore the tomb, parts of which were destroyed in 2000 by Palestinians, including known PA security officers.

Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, which granted nearby strategic territory to the Palestinians, Joseph's Tomb was supposed to be accessible to Jews and Christians. But following repeated attacks against Jewish worshippers at the holy site by gunmen associated with then-Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat's militias, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak in October 2000 ordered an Israeli unilateral retreat from the area.

Within less than an hour of the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph's Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb's interior. A Muslim flag was hoisted over the tomb...

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