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20 Palestinians injured as 1,000 settlers storm Nablus

Israeli soldiers keep watch as Ultra Orthodox Jews pray at the tomb of Joseph, a biblical figure from the book of Genesis, in the northern Palestinian West Bank city of Nablus, 10 December 2007 [Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images]

A thousand Israeli settlers raided the occupied West Bank city of Nablus last night to perform Jewish religious rituals in Joseph’s Tomb in the Balata neighbourhood, the Palestinian news agency Wafa Palestinian reported.

Israeli occupation forces prevented Palestinians from accessing the area while the settlers were there. Palestinians who attempted to block the roads to stop settlers trespassing were targeted by occupation forces who used live ammunition, rubber bullets and teargas canisters to disperse them, injuring 20. One of those who sustained injuries was hit with a live round.

READ: Settlers storm Nablus site, perform prayers

Joseph’s Tomb is located in Area A of the West Bank, which – under to the Oslo Accords – is under the full control of the Palestinian Authority. In spite of this, occupation forces regularly provide settler protection to storm the area and carry out prayers there, limiting Palestinian movement and targeting those who stand in the way of the Jewish visit.

Joseph’s Tomb is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans alike. The Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organised pilgrimages, despite the site being located in “Area A” where the PA has full control. Occupation forces prohibit Muslims from worshipping at the site.

Palestinians believe that Joseph’s Tomb is the funerary monument to Sheikh Yousif Dweikat, a local religious figure.

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