For almost a hundred years, the conflict over the Holy Land has raged between the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs, who claim it as their own, despite the fact that it never belonged to them, as there has never been an independent Palestinian Arab state in history, nor has any evidence been found that however they proved the truth of the Palestinian claim, while on the other hand the whole Land of Israel speaks of a thousand years of Jewish history, it is littered with Jewish monuments from antiquity, which is confirmed by archaeological findings, and therefore the so-called Palestinians are trying to destroy all the archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria, which above all doubt the truth of their argument, and in order to deny the Jewish historical rights relating to Israel, they therefore resort to the barbaric destruction of everything that proves the legitimate Jewish claims to the Land of Israel. As frightening examples of Palestinian vandalism related to sacred Jewish objects, I will cite the cases of Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem, Joseph’s tomb in Shechem, and the Hurva synagogues in Jerusalem and Jericho.
Rachel’s Tomb, also known as Kever Rachel, lies south of Jerusalem, near Palestinian Authority (PA)-controlled Bethlehem. Bethlehem is located in Area A, which according to the Oslo “peace accords” is fully under Palestinian control. According to Jewish religious tradition, Kever Rachel is the place where Rachel, one of the foremothers of the Jewish people, was buried, and therefore the Jews hold it in due respect, although, on the other hand, the so-called Palestinians stubbornly reject this Jewish claim and claim it exclusively as a Muslim sanctuary.
The sad, glaring fact is the contrast between how this monument looked before the State of Israel handed over control of Bethlehem to the Palestinian Authority headed by Yasser Arafat.
Back then it was a strange, simple structure with a white dome and a large menorah on the roof. Entrance to the compound was possible through a gate flanked by two imposing Ottoman sebilas. Above the gate hung an inscription in Hebrew “Kever Rachel Imeinu”, which translates to Tomb of Rachel, our mother.
Today, this original historical structure resembles a fortress and is practically unrecognizable. Its security was necessary because of several violent attempts by Palestinian Arabs to destroy it and to harm Jewish pilgrims visiting this shrine. The Palestinian desire to destroy Rachel’s tomb is somewhat ironic given their claim that it is a Muslim holy site.
In 1995, the Israelis handed over control of Bethlehem to Palestinian officials in the mistaken belief that they were dealing with reasonable people. However, they kept Rachel’s grave, which is located on the outskirts of Bethlehem. At the same time as this transfer, Israel also relinquished control over the city of Shechem (Nabulus). On the territory of Shechem is another Jewish holy site known as Kever Josef, or Joseph’s Tomb, which some believe is Joseph’s final resting place. Palestinians claim that this site is also sacred to them, but evidence of this remains fragmentary.
Kever Josef, where the synagogue also stood, was also kept by Israel and a small garrison of Israeli soldiers was stationed there to protect the place and ensure the safety of the worshippers. However, in October 2000, after an outbreak of extreme Palestinian violence, Israel ceded Kever Yosef to the Palestinian Authority in a misguided attempt to appease the rioters.
As expected, Palestinian thugs soon after broke into the tomb, destroyed its equipment and set fire to the prayer books there. They then painted its white roof green, symbolizing the completion of the Islamic takeover.
Kever Josef returned to Israeli control two years later after Operation Defensive Shield, and sporadic Jewish services were subsequently resumed there, albeit under heavy armed guard and usually at night.
Unlike Kever Rachel, Kever Joseph lies in a more strategically precarious position because it is located in Shechem, while Kever Rachel is on the outskirts of Bethlehem and was separated from the city by a wall.
At the beginning of April this year, enraged Palestinian hooligans once again demolished Joseph’s tomb, shattered the tombstone, ripped out electrical equipment and burned prayer books.
The whole event took place in front of the Palestinian policemen, who did nothing to trigger thisth they stopped, and perhaps even supported her. Israeli repairmen, under the protection of the Israeli Defense Forces, renovated Joseph’s tomb a few days later.
This is the Palestinian modus operandi, a pernicious pattern that is evidence of utter contempt for antiquity and religious monuments.
On 12 October 2000, Palestinian rioters stormed the ancient Byzantine-era Shalom Al-Yisrael Synagogue in Jericho with the intention of smashing its well-preserved central medallion inscribed with the inscription “Shalom Al-Yisrael”. Although they failed to destroy the rare mosaic floor, this does not negate their criminal intent.
When Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter fell to Jordanian-Palestinian forces in 1948, all Jewish institutions – including the impressive Hurva synagogue – were either razed to the ground with explosives or turned into garbage dumps or animal enclosures.
In this regard, the methods of the Palestinian Arabs are no different from those of the Taliban and ISIS. In 2001, the Taliban destroyed the unique Buddha statues in Bamiyan. In 2015, ISIS destroyed ancient and irreplaceable antiquities in Palmyra. The Palestinian rampage at Joseph’s Tomb and their efforts to damage other culturally and religiously significant Jewish monuments reveal their true face.
Pro-Palestinian propagandists did not condemn the Palestinian barbarism towards Joseph’s tomb.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, organizations all too willing to spread anti-Semitic slurs against the Jewish state, did not protest this Palestinian vandalism.
Joseph’s grave, Rachel’s grave, the synagogues in Hurva and Jericho are not symbols of the so-called “Israeli occupation”, but they are supreme symbols of Judaism, and this is enough to arouse the anger of those who sought and still seek to genocide the Jews.
There is no doubt that Palestinians who feel a raging hatred and intolerance for other religions and cultures and act on that hatred in violent and destructive ways do not deserve statehood.