Palestinian Authority to build new settlement on ruins of Joshua’s Altar

The purpose of the construction is two-fold, says the group: to erase a site of huge biblical and Jewish importance, and to make a land grab.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Jewish group trying to prevent the Palestinian seizure of Israeli land has proof that the Palestinian Authority (PA) plans to build an Arab neighborhood on the biblical site of Joshua’s altar on Mount Ebal in Samaria, Channel 14 reported Thursday.

The Fight for Every Dunam forum received official PA documents proving its intent to construct dozens of homes on the eastern and western sides of the ancient altar that Israeli archaeologists believe was used by the Jewish people when they entered the land for the first time after their exodus from Egypt.

The purpose of the construction is two-fold, says the group: to erase a site of huge biblical and Jewish importance, and to make a land grab.

“Most of the site, with all its archeological findings, is going to be crushed into gravel,” said the forum’s Samaria coordinator, Benayahu Mellet.

“The altar itself is going to be swallowed up among all their buildings,” he added, with the plans displayed in the report showing it as a green area in the midst of the neighborhood.

Read  Rewarding terror? Israel considers more work permits for Palestinians

Already in 2019 the PA denied that the archaeological treasure was tied to the Jewish people in any way, calling it the “Burnat site” and planting olive trees nearby as part of a campaign to preserve what it called a “Palestinian heritage site.”

About a year and a half ago, Channel 14 noted, the Palestinians illegally constructed, in broad daylight, a major road along the Ebal ridge that passed right next to the altar, connecting the nearby city of Nablus (Shechem) to surrounding villages. Part of the ancient fence that borders the site was dismantled and its stones were crushed to serve as a substrate for the paving of the road, which runs partly through Area C land that is under total Israeli civilian and military control.

All this occurred after the IDF expelled a family that had set up a farm in the area with the specific aim of keeping the land under Jewish control, said the forum’s publicity director, Elisha Yered.

“Due to Arab pressure,” Yered said, Itamar Meshulami’s farm was “forcibly evacuated again and again and again. Unfortunately, the defense authorities made Meshulami’s life intolerable until he was forced to leave the ridge.”

The IDF then put a huge iron gate across the access road specifically to block Jews from getting to the area, he added.

Read  PA building neighborhood on Joshua’s Altar site

“This is one of one of the most important historical sites we have in the country,” Yered pointed out. “The site is our answer to anyone who tries to undermine the Jewish people’s connection to Israel. If God forbid this site is destroyed, it will be an eternal tragedy.”

The construction, which is set to begin in the coming months, is part of a Palestinian effort to gain control of the entire ridge. The plan includes setting up many agricultural plots and laying down electricity infrastructure.

Fight for Every Dunam demanded that the new coalition take action.

“The Israeli government must come to its senses, take immediate preventive measures, place a permanent guard at the site and restore the Jewish presence to the ridge, which is the only thing that will prevent the destruction of the site and the takeover of the strategic ridge,” the forum said. “We call on the government ministers to wake up, before, God forbid, we are too late.”