Five years ago, on October 7, 2000, the IDF withdrew from Joseph’s tomb after a joint assault was launched by palestinian police and terrorists. The PA agreed to protect the Tomb, but that promise quickly went up in smoke.
Palestinians armed with pick-axes and hammers attacked the tomb, smashing the stone structure and ripping it apart, brick by brick.
They burned Jewish prayer books and other religious articles and subsequently began transforming the site into a mosque.
It was then and there, at Joseph’s Tomb, just days after the start of the second intifada, that the palestinians learned two lessons.
First, they learned that violence pays. Israel’s retreat from Joseph’s Tomb was the first time Israel had fled under fire, abandoning territory to palestinian control under threat of the gun.
Secondly, the palestinians also learned that they could deliberately assault Jewish sites of immense historical, religious or emotional significance without fear of retribution from Israel.
After all, if they got away with an attack on Joseph’s Tomb, why not take down a couple of abandoned synagogues in Gaza?
The same holds true of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where successive Israeli governments have failed to stand up to wanton palestinian acts of desecration.