Dozens arrested trying to reach Joseph's Tomb in Nablus

Security forces chase right-wing activists, settler hilltop youth through city who entered without prior approval; dozens detained, later released.

April 28, 2011 00:58
1 minute read.
PA police guard Joseph's Tomb in Nablu

PA police guard Joseph's Tomb in Nablus 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)


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Dozens of right-wing activists and settler hilltop youth were arrested by security forces after they attempted to enter the Joseph's Tomb holy site in the West Bank city of Nablus late Wednesday night.

IDF, Border Patrol and Police forces chased activists through the city as they tried to reach the site without the approval of either the IDF or the Palestinian Authority, which controls Joseph's Tomb. IDF soldiers fired illumination flares in the city which helped them locate activists. In addition, PA police were deployed near Joseph's Tomb but the activists were detained by the various forces operating in the area before they were able to reach their destination.

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Some of the activists belonged to a group called the "Hebrew Youth."

The march comes just days after Ben Yosef Livnat, 24, was killed in Nablus early Sunday morning by Palestinian policemen as he led a group of Breslev worshippers out of the city after they had prayed at the tomb.

Activist Itamar Ben-Gvir said his understanding was that Palestinian police were waiting at the tomb for Wednesday’s group, who at press time were on their way into Nablus, located at the site of the biblical city of Shechem.

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said that he had tried to persuade the army to escort the worshipers, as is done once a month late at night.

“It would have been very easy for them to arrange this, but they turned their back on us,” said Ben-Ari, who stood at the entrance way to Nablus late on Wednesday night, but did not join the march.

Activists and right-wing politicians have called on the government to take control of the tomb, as outlined under the Oslo Accords.

They have also asked the IDF to increase the number of organized trips for worshipers to the tomb.

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