Joshua's tomb on fire last night (video snippet)

In a brazen and contemptible act of cultural desecration, Palestinians have again sought to obliterate the sacred site of the Biblical Jewish leader, Joshua's tomb. This recent attempt to set the tomb ablaze during a peaceful pilgrimage is a stark reminder of the persistent attempts to erase Jewish history from the land.

Late on Wednesday, as the Israel Defense Force was ensuring safe entry into Kifl Hares—a village within Palestinian Authority's control—vandals launched a malicious attack by hurling a burning tire into the tomb while devotees were engrossed in prayer. Israeli military forces intervened swiftly, extinguishing the fire and securing the site, allowing the pilgrimage to continue, but not before damage to the site was inflicted.

This location, significant not only as the resting place of Joshua but as a symbol of Jewish endurance, witnesses thousands of Jews annually who gather to honor Joshua's memory on the Hebrew calendar date of 26 Nisan. Regrettably, this is neither the first nor an isolated incident. Palestinian attackers have recurrently targeted this site and others, such as Joseph's Tomb, with acts ranging from arson to the destruction of religious artifacts, and even overlaying the area with hateful graffiti glorifying past massacres and terrorist acts.

The history of aggression extends back decades, marked by notable episodes of violence and neglect. The Tomb of Joseph in Nablus has seen similar vicious attacks, including the tragic event in 2000 when rioters denied medical help to a dying Israeli policeman—a stark depiction of the hatred and disregard for life and heritage. In 2022, Palestinians broke into Joseph's tomb and smashed the tomb stone and surrounding artifacts that commemorate the biblical Jacob's dear son. Under the Oslo accords, Jews have a right to visit these holy sites but Palestinians often use their pilgrimages to rally anti-Jewish hatred.

Moreover, the recent illicit construction through Sebastia by Palestinian workers underscores a broader, systematic campaign to obliterate the Jewish historical and cultural footprint from these ancient lands. The Western-backed Palestinian Authority’s efforts are nothing short of historical revisionism, aimed at denying and destroying the Jewish connection to this land, which is vividly documented and celebrated throughout our history.  Sebastia was the seat of the Kingdom of Israel and there is a trove of artifacts and archaeological structures within it. Palestinians have long tried to destroy signs of ancient Israel as part of their narrative that Jews have no connection to the Land of Israel.

The disrespect for Jewish shrines also shows a blatant disregard for other religions. Islamists believe that only Islam is relevant and all signs and shrines of other religions do not deserve respect, however considering that Joseph and Joshua are considered prophets in Islam, it is puzzling as to why they will seek to damage these shrines. This lack of respect also is on display in Al Aqsa mosque when Palestinians riot. In 2021, Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the mosque with fireworks, molotov cocktails and other weapons. They played soccer inside the shrine that they claim is the third holiest in Islam, and launched fireworks and tossed molotov cocktails from the windows. 

The international community and those committed to historical truth and cultural preservation must stand in resolute condemnation against these barbaric acts. It is imperative that we all, regardless of creed or nationality, rally to protect these sacred sites, ensuring that they are preserved for future generations and continue to serve as a beacon of the rich, diverse history that forms the fabric of this region.

Sign Up For The Judean Newsletter

I agree with the Terms and conditions and the Privacy policy