Settlers barricade themselves in tomb compound
Photo: Gur Dotan

Coordinated Joseph Tomb visit ends in riots, stoning

Under heavy IDF escort relatives of Itamar massacre victims Ben Yosef Livnat visit Joseph's Tomb in Nablus but infiltration of settler youths, refusal to leave tomb lead to riots

Hundreds visited Joseph's Tomb in Nablus overnight under heavy IDF escort. Among those taking part in the coordinated visit –were members of the Fogel family whose relatives were murdered in Itamar.


The end of the visit was less organized, ending with dozens of visitors being forcibly removed by Border Guard Officers when they refused to leave the site and barricaded themselves within the building. One boy was lightly wounded during the evacuation and cared for at the scene.


The Livnat family – widow Shira, parents Noam and Rivkah and the five siblings made their visit after the end of the Shiva. They spent time at the Tomb alone without additional escort. Visitors saw evidence of desecration and vandalism including soot, dirt and a strong smell of urine.


The IDF cancelled plans for a visit of four buses from Yitzhar following intel that suggested the visitors planned on barricading themselves at the site and refusing to leave. Yet a group of settler youths led by Meir Brettler succeeded in surprising the forces, reaching the Tomb through the streets of Nablus which then led to riots breaking out at the site at around 4:00 am.


IDF and Border Guard forces managed to gather them within the compound and prepared for riots in Nablus. Meanwhile, police patrol cars were brought to the scene. Most of the youths left of their own free will but some had to be removed forcefully by Border Guard Officers.


'Here for Udi'

Brettler later said: "We came to show in the clearest way possible that the connection between Israel and Joseph's Tomb cannot be severed. We're here to stay and nothing will remove us."


As the incident came to an end and after security forces removed the last barricaders, the leaving convoy was stoned. IDF forces fired shock grenades at the rioters.


Shomron Regional Council Head Gershon Mesika said Tuesday that "the fact that the killers are Palestinian police officers who received their weapons from the State of Israel mean the government must carry out self examination and reach an understanding over who her partners are and who she is considering to give a state to."


Chaim Fogel, father of Itamar Massacre victim Udi Fogel explained why it was important for him to visit the tomb: "Udi, God avenge him, prayed at the tomb a few months ago and we had plans to come here together something we never got a chance to do. Today I'm here mainly for him.


The visit was organized by the Shomron Regional Council and the "One Shehem" organization and was protected by IDF forces.



פרסום ראשון: 05.03.11, 09:31
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