Palestinian youth (shabaab) have set fire to the Joseph's Tomb shrine in Nablus on the night of 15 October, as Islamist group and Gaza ruler Hamas called for a day of rage against Israel. About 100 people attacked the tomb of the biblical patriarch, a holy site for Jews, Samaritans and Christians, throwing Molotov cocktails at the compound.
Palestinian security forces managed to push them back by firing rounds into the air but not before part of the shrine was set ablaze. "We view this incident with gravity and strongly condemn any attack on holy sites. We will find and arrest those who set the fire," the IDF said in a statement. Local firemen put out the fire.
The tomb is situated on the slope of Mount Gerizim in Nablus, near the Balata refugee camp, and was not included in the list of holy sites which were transferred to the Palestinians as result of the Oslo agreement. After the second intifada, in 2000, Israel withdrew from the grave and in recent years worshippers' visits were coordinated with the Israeli military forces and Palestinian security.
Two weeks of unrest in the region have resulted in the deaths of 32 Palestinians and seven Israelis. The latest incident comes after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas promised to US secretary John Kerry that he will calm the situation in the West Bank.
Kerry said he plans to travel to to region soon. "A suggestion was raised that John Kerry and I and King Abdullah (of Jordan) and others would meet," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday. "I have no problem with that, we did that a year ago, it was actually fruitful. It could happen again," he said, adding that he was willing to meet Abbas.