10/17/2015, 00.00
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Latin Patriarchate condemns arson attack on Josephs Tomb in Nablus

On "Day of Rage" hundreds of people set fire to the place of worship revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims. The intervention of Palestinian security forces disperses crowd. Abbas condemns the attack and demands punishment of those responsible. Security forces kill a Palestinian who had stabbed an Israeli soldier.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - "The arson attack on the Tomb of the Patriarch Joseph, which took place this Friday, is a senseless act of extreme gravity, the Latin Patriarchate strongly condemns it. This attack constitutes an intolerable profanation. The holy places, whether they are Christian, Jewish or Muslim, must be respected, unconditionally", reads a statement sent to AsiaNews, by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, reacting to the arson attack on the place of worship on the night between 15 and 16 October.

"The cycle of violence and reprisals, that seems to have become the norm, has to stop, to avoid dire consequences. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, once again, calls on all parties for calm. A sincere and reasonable dialogue - the statement concludes - to find just and equitable solutions based on the principle of two states, is now more necessary than ever. "

Indeed, the escalation of violence and terror in Israel and Palestine continues, the scene of a new intifada and marked by armed attacks by "lone wolves", deadly clashes between the army and Palestinian youths, attacks on holy sites.

Since October, when two Israeli settlers were killed in the Occupied Territories, there have been assaults on passersby, soldiers, young people killed or stabbed on an almost daily basis. The latest incident took place yesterday - in conjunction with the "Day of Rage" invoked by Hamas that led to protests and riots - when a group of Palestinians torched Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, in the northern West Bank.

Hundreds of Palestinian youths armed with petrol bombs set fire to parts of the complex of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus in the West Bank. The intervention of the Palestinian security forces made it possible to disperse the crowd, and put out the flames.

According to Jewish traditionaNablus’ "Joseph’s Tomb" in the burial place of the biblical son of Jacob and Rachel, who became an influential adviser to the Pharaoh of Egypt. It is a place of worship revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims and is under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

The tomb had been assaulted in 2000 during the second intifada. Commenting on the incident, the director general of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dore Gold said that it recalls "the actions of the most extreme Islamist fringe, from Afghanistan to Libya." He added that it is an attack made "precisely because it's a sacred place, where Jews pray."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas strongly condemned the arson attack, announcing an investigation to shed light on the matter and punish those responsible, as well as repair the damage "caused by this deplorable act". He spoke of "an irresponsible act" and confirmed the "absolute rejection of these illegal acts, offenses against our culture, religion and morality."

Also yesterday, a Palestinian was killed just outside Hebron, in the West Bank, after having stabbed an Israeli soldier, injuring him. The attacker was wearing a journalists yellow vest and was "neutralized" by the Israeli security forces.

The spark that started this latest round of attacks was the series of visits by right-wing politicians and Jewish nationalists to the Temple Mount, demanding the right not only to visit, but also to pray there. According to the status quo - which Israel should respect –only Muslims can pray there.

However, the most radical Jewish nationalist fringes demand that the Israeli government also guarantee them the right to pray at the place that was once part of the temple of Jerusalem. The Muslim authorities fear that the Israeli prime minister is thinking about changing the status quo, opening a new wound among Palestinians and a new opportunity for conflict and violence.

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