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PA removes steel door settlers installed inside Joseph's Tomb

Nov. 5, 2015 11:34 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 5, 2015 11:35 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority removed a steel door, which a group of settlers installed inside the site of Joseph’s Tomb in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Wednesday evening, the governor of Nablus said.

Governor Akram Rajoub told Ma’an that the door, which was installed by “extremist” settlers was a violation of agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority over Joseph’s Tomb, which is under PA control.

The PA removed the door and sent a unique message back to Israeli authorities.

“The Israeli [liaison office] sent us a copy of the door’s key," Rajoub said. "We removed the door completely and sent them both the door and the key back.”

Rajoub highlighted that the PA has been refurbishing Joseph’s Tomb to repair damage caused by dozens of young Palestinians who hurled Molotov cocktails at the shrine last month.

“The PA is refurbishing the shrine at its own expense because it views this place as having religious and historic importance to the Palestinian society.”

After the arson, President Mahmoud Abbas called the attack "irresponsible," and said the actions of the perpetrators were an abuse of the culture, religion and ethics of Palestinians.

He ordered the immediate repair of the site, and said an investigation would be launched into the incident.

The tomb is the site of monthly visits by Israelis, who are escorted by Israeli military forces to the area, often leading to clashes with local Palestinians.

Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the site was to remain under Israeli control. But the Israeli army evacuated the premises in October 2000 shortly after the start of the Second Intifada, and it was immediately damaged and burnt by Palestinians.

Following security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli army allows Jewish worshipers to make monthly nocturnal pilgrimages to the site.


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