Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus in the West Bank, a Jewish holy site where some believe the biblical Joseph is buried, was in the news early in the Second Intifada when a Palestinian mob ransacked it after an Israeli troop withdrawal. These days Joseph’s Tomb is doing even worse, having been turned by the Nablus Palestinians into a garbage dump.
Such treatment should not surprise anyone who knows the fate of the Old City of Jerusalem while it was under Jordanian rule from 1948 to 1967: Israelis were denied access to the Western Wall and the Mount of Olives, gravestones on the Mount of Olives were used to make latrines in Jordanian army camps, and 58 Jerusalem synagogues were ruined or destroyed.
Like the present nominal Fatah leadership of the West Bank, the Jordanian regime in those years was not considered Islamist or fundamentalist: it simply followed a basic Muslim-supremacist agenda that often transcends facile Western distinctions between religious and “secular” Muslims.
Yet Jerusalem, united under Israeli rule since 1967 with free access for Muslims, Christians, and Jews to all their holy sites (except the Wakf-dominated Temple Mount itself, where access for Christians and Jews is limited), is now again on the chopping block as part of the latest peace push leading up to the Annapolis conference in November.
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