Israeli Knesset (Parliament) Members and and illegal settlers have received approval from Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack to invade an area near Nablus known as ‘Joseph’s Tomb’ on Tuesday, accompanied by a garrison of Israeli troops.According to the Palestine News Network, the invasion is scheduled for 11 am Tuesday. This marks the first time that Israeli settlers, with the approval of the Israeli military, will enter the site in the daytime. Previous incursions have been under the cover of night.
Joseph’s tomb has been a flash point for clashes between local Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the area due to its religious significance for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. It lies in Palestinian Authority controlled zones and any visits by Israelis are to be coordinated with Palestinian forces, according to prior agreements.
The invasion Tuesday is said to be a response to last month’s incident in which an Israeli was shot and killed by a Palestinian policeman during an uncoordinated visit to the area, according to PNN’s sources.
Protests are being called via a Facebook page, to gather at Josephs Tomb tomorrow at 11 to prevent the visit through non violent demonstrations. The group is said to be concerned that settlers will occupy the area.
Contentious visits by Israeli officials to holy sites have often been the catalyst for protests by Palestinians. Most famously, the visit of prior Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, accompanied by a garrison of soldiers, to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s most sacred sites, ignited the second intifada in 2000.