Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Picture a Day -- Joseph's Tomb

Joseph's Tomb

Joseph's traditional burial site is in the city of Schem (Nablus).  Below are pictures taken in 1900. The originals are here and here on the Library of Congress collection.  View another picture here.

The Ottoman Empire ruled the land of Palestine in 1900.  Ostensibly, the guard at the tomb is an Ottoman policeman.

Note how the tomb was located in an empty field.  Indeed, Jewish visitors to the tomb after the 1967 war remember it as a solidarity structure in a large field.

Today, it is surrounded by Palestinian buildings. 

According to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is obligated to safeguard holy sites and ensure free access to them. (Annex III, Appendix I, Article 32 of the Oslo 2 accord, signed on September 28, 1995.) The Oslo 2 accord (Article V of Annex I) also spells out specific arrangements concerning particular sites such as the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus, the Shalom al Yisrael Synagogue in Jericho, and the Tomb of Rachel near Bethlehem.

During the 2000 Intifada, Palestinians razed the site.  It has subsequently been rebuilt, but Jewish visits to the tomb are irregular and must be conducted with IDF escort.

Joseph's tomb surrounded by Palestinian buildings today

The razing of the Tomb in the 2000 Intifada

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