JOSEPH'S TOMB in Sh'khem & The PA's Big Lie Method
Note: This is a reposting of an earlier post that was partly lost inadvertently.
The war ongoing against Israel for nearly five years has two preliminary purposes:
1 -- to slaughter as many Israeli Jews as possible and terrify the survivors in Israel into leaving.
2 -- to influence Western and world public opinion in general against Israel and the Jews.
These goals, if achieved, will ultimately leave Israel shorn of territory necessary for her defense [territory that is historically Jewish territory] and/or leave the surviving Jews in the Diaspora, which means fundamentally defenseless, meanwhile justifying the hatred and murder of Jews. Thus Diaspora Jews would be prey to genocidal attacks.
These two goals are Nazi in essence.
Hence, the immediate goals of the present war are not merely successfully perpetrating acts of mass murder. They are political/psychological. Psychological warfare and propaganda are prime components of the present war. Since Western govts [including the EU] and mass communications media and institutions [including "non-governmental organizations" = NGOs] take part in this war by funding Arab terrorism, by making propaganda and psy war for the Arabs, etc., by defending the Arab murderers in international political bodies [such as the UN], etc., then the Arabs are not the only enemies. Much of the West are silent partners (or not so silent) in this war.
Lies about history, modern, medieval, and ancient, are part of the psy war. Some of the big lies at the start of this war in 2000 were 1) failure to identify the Temple Mount as the site of the ancient Israelite/Jewish temples, calling it only by its Arab/Muslim name; 2) the alleged killing of young Muhammud al-Dura by Israeli soldiers [it is not even certain that he is dead]; and 3) claiming that the war began with Sharon going up onto the Temple Mount, whereas a few weeks before Jews were stabbed by Arabs in Jerusalem's Neveh Ya`aqov neighborhood and an Israeli soldier, David Biri, was killed by a bomb exploded before Sharon went up on the Mount and the second fatality of the war was another Israeli soldier killed on a "joint patrol" by his PA comrade and "partner in peace" on Friday morning; 4) falsely representing Joseph's Tomb in Sh'khem ("Nablus") as the tomb of a Muslim shaykh.
Since the al-Dura affair has already been clarified by several French and other journalists and Israeli researchers, and since the Temple Mount's history is fairly well known, we will focus on Joseph's Tomb. When and how the war began is an issue needing separate treatment.
The Book of Joshua (24:32) recounts that when the conquering Israelite tribes entered Canaan, they buried Joseph, whose bones had been dug up in Egypt (according to his request, Genesis 50:25), in Sh'khem on a plot of land purchased by Jacob. This city was destroyed in Second Temple Times and a new city was built near Sh'khem by Emperor Vespasian in the year 72 CE, called NeaPolis (New City in Greek). The Greek name is pronounced Nablus by Arabs. Archeologists have identified the site of ancient Sh’khem as east of the old city of Nablus. The Tomb of Joseph is located in that area today and is now surrounded by newer parts of the city which has spread around it. Of course, it is difficult to know whether Joseph son of Jacob is buried precisely there. However, there are written records of pilgrimage to Joseph’s Tomb in Sh’khem going back to the Bordeaux Pilgrim of 333 CE. This Christian Gaul wrote:
Civitas Neapoli . . . Inde ad pede montis ipsius locus est, cui nomen est Sechim . . . Ibi positum est monumentum, ubi positus est Ioseph . . . (Enchiridion Locorum Santorum, Donatus Baldi; Jerusalem: Franciscan Press, 1982).In other words, at NeaPolis, at the foot of the mountain is Sh’khem where a tombstone marks where Joseph is buried. Hence, the Bordeaux Pilgrim describes the geographic location of the tomb to the east of the Nablus Old City near the ruins of Sh’khem ( which have been located by archeologists). Hence, the site has been known as a focus of pilgrimage for Jews, Christians, and Samaritans since at least 333, three hundred years before the Arab-Muslim conquest of Israel. And the site eventually attracted Muslim pilgrims too since Joseph is a personage revered in the Qur’an.
The site came into prominence in the news after bloody incidents there in October 2000, during the period of the Jewish high holidays, when Arafat’s incited mobs attacked the tomb. Under the grotesque Oslo Accords, an Israeli army unit was to guard the tomb and a religious school located there. The mob did not merely throw stones. Many of the mob were armed with firearms, pistols and rifles, which they shot over the wall of the tomb compound while holding their weapons above their heads, not being able to see what or whom they were hitting inside. One soldier was hit but could have been easily healed by proper and timely medical treatment. However, PM Barak was still playing the “peace process” game with Arafat and his other partners in peace of the PLO/PA. He asked those who had incited the mob to allow medical care to reach the wounded man, who happened to be a Druze, not a Jew. Arafat’s men in Nablus did not cooperate. After a few hours, when it became clear that there would not be cooperation, the Israeli army sent a poorly conceived military mission to bring aid to the wounded Madhat Yusuf and other soldiers. Without proper instructions on defending themselves from the armed PA police and other attackers, several men in the rescue mission were killed. By the time a properly organized, equipped, and instructed mission arrived, it was too late for Madhat Yusuf (yes, the name is symbolic). After the losses suffered, Barak withdrew all troops from Joseph’s Tomb, a clear victory for Arafat’s terrorism. The retreat was followed not only by looting of the tomb and destruction of Jewish religious objects left behind, but by filmed and broadcast efforts to wreck the very building, using hammers and other tools to destroy the stone walls, separating stone from stone.
Hence, in order perhaps to mitigate the bad publicity from the acts of wrecking, looting, and desecration, and propound the usual PLO/Palestinian Authority propaganda themes, the PA’s psychological warfare apparatus chose to falsify the history of the site in order to make it seem as if any Jewish connection to the Tomb was not authentic, and by extension and innuendo, that the whole Jewish connection to the Land of Israel (called “Palestine” by them only in recent decades) is not authentic. And the PA’s lie of the tomb being that of a Muslim shaykh was taken up rather eagerly it seems by Western press agencies and media.
One might ask whether the Arab mob’s filmed efforts to physically wreck the Tomb did not prove that the site was not holy to the Arab-Muslims of Nablus. Apparently this question was not asked A French TV panel discussion not long after this incident was the scene of the PA’s claim (the site is "the tomb of a Muslim shaykh named Yusuf") being relayed by a young woman “researcher” for the program. Yoav Toker, a correspondent in France for Israeli TV was flabbergasted by the claim and did not know how to answer it. Although the Bordeaux Pilgrim came from France (while it was still called Gaul), the “researcher” seems not to have known of him. Indeed, there is a long series of Jewish and Christian testimonies about pilgrimage to Joseph’s Tomb since the Bordeaux Pilgrim in 333.
Writing in fact about twenty years before this pilgrim, Eusebios (Eusebius), the Church Father writing in Greek, had recorded:
Sikima . . . A city of Jacob, now a desert. The place is pointed out in the suburbs of Neapolis, where also Joseph’s grave remains and is shown… (Onomasticon, 150; translation – G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville)Now both Eusebios and his translator into Latin, Jerome, lived in the Land of Israel. Jerome wrote his version of Eusebios’ book about 380 CE:
Sychem . . . which in Latin and Greek is called Sicima, a city of Jacob, now deserted. The place is pointed out in the suburbs of Neapolis near Joseph’s Tomb (Onomasticon, 151; translation – Freeman-Grenville)Here is Jerome’s Latin version:
Sychem . . . quae Latine et Graece Sicima vocata est, civitas Iacob nunc deserta, ostenditur autem locus in suburbanis Neaspoleos iuxta sepulcrum Iosef (Onomasticon, 151)Eusebios and Jerome’s accounts indicate that the ruins of Sh’khem were still easily visible in the 4th century, and that they were shown to visitors.
Later, among the Jewish accounts of the site, is one by a French Jew named Eshtori haParhi, who was expelled from France about 1300 and went to live in Israel. His famous book, Kaftor uFerah also locates the site of Joseph’s Tomb to the east of Nablus.
Hence, there is fairly plentiful documentation of the site as a focus of pilgrimage--Jewish, Samaritan, Christian, and Muslim— for 1700 years. Yet, it was not found by the “researcher” for French TV in 2000, nor was it known by a correspondent for the French official press agency, Agence France Presse, early this year, 2005. An AFP dispatch of 3 March 2005 states about Joseph’s Tomb at Sh’khem (Nablus):
“It was a place of pilgrimage for some religious Jews who believe that the Patriarch Joseph is bured there, which is challenged by many historians, for whom it is the tomb of a Muslim religious figure.”
"C'était un lieu de pèlerinage pour nombre de juifs religieux qui croient que le patriarche Joseph y a été enterré, ce que contestent de nombreux historiens, pour qui il s'agit du tombeau d'un religieux musulman."Note that Jews are portrayed as delusional, insinuated to be falsely believing that today’s Joseph’s Tomb has any antiquity as a Jewish holy site. Further, neither the AFP correspondent nor the TV researcher cited the name of any reputable historian who agrees with that claim, most likely supplied to the journalists by PA spokesmen who are ordinarily deceitful and unreliable on any matter of ancient, medieval, or modern history, as well as on current events. The documents over a period of 1700 years do not support the "Shaykh Yusuf" claim. The known, existing accounts, even those by authors coming from France, were not cited by the AFP or by the TV researcher.
HaParhi came to live in Tiberias sometime around 1300 and wrote what we may call a travel guide for Jewish sites in the Land of Israel. He wrote about this holy place:
“. . . And Sh’khem is found between two mountains, Har Grizim and Har `Eibal. And it is in my opinion the Arab village called Balata, not the city to the west. . . called Nablus… because [the tomb of] Joseph the Righteous is to the north of Balata about fifty cubits, and it is in the field that Jacob bought . . . and it is facing Sh’khem – and Nablus is far away…” (Eshtori haParhi, Kaftor uFerah).By the way, Balata was named after a grove of plane trees once found in the area, platani in Latin.
To sum up, we have a holy place that has been documented as a place of pilgrimage for 1700 years, especially by Jews and Christians, although Muslims visited it too and it has been of particular importance to Samaritans, since they trace their lineage back to Joseph through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, and Sh’khem was in the tribal estate of Manasseh. An article in the Jerusalem Post stated that the structure over the tomb, partly wrecked after the Israeli withdrawal, was built by Samaritans about 400 years ago.Yet Western press agencies and TV media accept the lies supplied to them by the PLO/Palestinian Authority, whether out of malice or sheer ignorance. As in the case of the alleged “Jenin massacre.” Here, the local Arab mob's effort to wreck the tomb did not lead everyone to the logical conclusion. In either case, one must assume that many Western journalists, including editors in the home offices, are eager to receive and spread Arab (PLO/PA) lies that besmirch the Jews and Israel. Consequently, not only are Arab spokesmen unreliable but much of the Western press who are all too willing to be fed with the PLO/PA’s lies.
UPDATING -More Info on Joseph's Tomb & Its Destruction by the Arab Mob [both articles with Photos]
"Holy Targets: Joseph's Tomb Is Just the Latest," Biblical Archaeology Review (January-February 2001), pp 19-22.
Sharon Waxman, "They Knew Not Joseph," Jerusalem Post, 24 November 2000.
JTA Report on Arab-Muslim vandalism at Joseph's Tomb. Report dated 4-23-2009. The Arabs are demonstrating to whom the Tomb really belongs.