Archive for December 26th, 2008

Jews Return to Joseph’s Tomb

Friday, December 26th, 2008

JERUSALEM – Eight years after the site was heavily desecrated by Palestinians, Jews this week quietly returned to Joseph’s Tomb in the northern West Bank to rebuild the structure in hopes of a continued Jewish presence at the tomb – Judaism’s third holiest site.

Joseph’s Tomb is the believed burial place of the biblical patriarch Joseph, the son of Jacob who was sold by his brothers into slavery and later became viceroy of Egypt.

Following repeated Palestinian attacks, Israel in October 2000 unilaterally retreated from Joseph’s Tomb and, with very few exceptions, banned Jews from returning to the site purportedly for security reasons.

Within less than an hour of the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph’s Tomb and reportedly ransacked and then partially destroyed the structure. Local Arabs have since set the tomb on fire several times, including an incident last February in which WND first reported burning tires were found inside.

The past few months, the Israeli Defense Forces has been protecting small, monthly convoys of Jews who quietly pray at the tomb for about an hour under the cover of darkness. The visits were arranged by Israel’s Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika along with a local organization, Shchem Ehad.

On Monday night, Mesika led a group of Jewish students and professional contractors to the tomb, where the group repainted the exterior and interior of the structure and laid a new concrete stone covering on Joseph’s tombstone, which had been smashed by local Muslims.

Shromron Community Council liason David Haivri told WND the plan is to bring more professionals to the tomb in the near future to complete renovations. He said the ancient dome-shaped roof needs to be reinforced and a Jewish seminary attached to the tomb structure needs to be completely rebuilt. In 2000, television footage showed the dome being smashed by Palestinians after it was painted green – a color associated with Islam.

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Pakistan Moves Troops To Indian Border Amid Rising Tensions

Friday, December 26th, 2008

We need to continue to keep an eye on this situation. Things can get our of control very quickly.

ISLAMABAD (AFP)–Pakistan has redeployed thousands of troops to the border with India, officials said Friday, in a dramatic escalation of tensions with New Delhi in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh summoned his military chiefs to review New Delhi’s “defense preparedness” while his foreign ministry advised Indians not to travel to Pakistan, saying it was unsafe for them to be in the country.

The developments sent relations plummeting to their lowest point since late 2001, when Kashmiri militants staged a brazen attack on the Indian parliament – an attack New Delhi blamed on the Pakistan-based extremist group Lashkar-e- Taiba.

India has blamed the same group for the Mumbai attacks and has repeatedly said Islamabad isn’t doing enough to rein in militant groups – a claim Pakistan rejects.

Both sides have said they don’t want war but warn they would act if provoked.

In Islamabad, senior defense and security officials told AFP thousands of troops were being moved from the restive northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to the east of the country along the Indian border.

“We do not want to create any war hysteria but we have to take minimum security measures to ward off any threat,” a defense ministry official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said leave for “operational” armed forces personnel had been “cancelled as a defensive measure”.

A top security official, who also asked not to be named, explained that a ” limited number of troops have been pulled out from snowbound areas on the western border where they were not engaged in any operation”.

Pakistan’s army and air force have recently scaled back their operations against Taliban-linked militants in both the Swat valley and the Bajaur tribal area bordering Afghanistan. Both operations were launched in mid-2008.

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