Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned on Friday the torching of the compound housing Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus overnight Thursday-Friday by Palestinian rioters throwing Molotov cocktails.
In a statement published on the Wafa news agency, Abbas called the act “irresponsible”and said a committee was being formed to investigate.
The PA president “decided to immediately form an investigative commission to probe this irresponsible act committed this morning, and [to] repair the damage to the site caused by these deplorable actions,” according to AFP.
The site sustained some damage early Friday morning, after some 100 Palestinians attacked the shrine.
Palestinian Authority security forces dispersed the crowd and managed to douse the fire at the tomb, believed to contain the remains of the biblical patriarch Joseph. Israel Defense Forces troops arrived at the scene once the confrontation was over and the fire was out, Channel 2 reported.
There were no reports of injuries in the incident.
According to Channel 10, Palestinian officials reportedly told their Israeli counterparts — in a phone conversation this morning — that the Palestinians will repair the damage caused to the shrine.
The Israel Defense Forces has also announced that it will make the necessary repairs in order to allow worshipers to continue visiting the holy site.
Israel on Friday morning slammed the attack, with Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold charging that the incident showed that only Israeli could protect religious sites.
“Only Israel can protect the holy places of all religions in Jerusalem,” Gold said in a statement, adding that “the Palestinian attack on Joseph’s Tomb recalls the actions of extremist Muslim groups from Afghanistan to Libya.
“Israel condemns in no uncertain terms the harm to Joseph’s Tomb committed for the sole reason that it is a place where Jews pray. The torching of Joseph’s Tomb clearly demonstrates what would happen to the holy places in Jerusalem if they were placed in the hands of the Palestinian leadership,” he said.
Earlier, a right-wing minister and the head of a settlement council group called for Israel to retake control of the shrine.
The incident came after several weeks of deadly unrest including a wave of near-daily terror attacks that have claimed the lives of eight Israelis since the beginning of this month. In addition, several dozen Israelis have been wounded in the attacks.