IRIS blog reminds us:
Arguably the most humiliating incident in the Palestinian/Israeli peace accords has been Joseph's Tomb and the yeshiva that was housed on the site. The Oslo Accords placed the site under Israeli control, but Ehud Barak unilaterally withdrew after securing a Palestinian agreement to defend the site and insure freedom of access and Jewish worship. Instead, as the IDF was withdrawing from the site, Palestinian forces opened fire and one Israeli border policemen bled to death as IDF commanders fruitlessly negotiated with Palestinian security for an extended period to permit Israel to return to gather its wounded.And how will the PA react?
Later a Palestinian mob engaged in an orgy of destruction of the site, accompanied by Palestinian security forces. Multiple desecrations of the site ensued, and finally the Palestinian Authority turned the site into a mosque, as is traditional in the Muslim World regarding captured holy sites.
Minister Natan Sharansky was aptly quoted at the time, fruitlessly attempting to lobby Israel's Foreign Ministry to simply publish the photos of the atrocity:If we would have razed the gravesite of one of the founders of Islam, billions of Muslims would have taken to the streets. It's inconceivable that the world should not know about this travesty.
So far, the only Palestinian Arab reaction is from the mayor of Nablus, but it foreshadows what we can expect from the PA: (autotranslated from Ma'an)
[Mayor] Mhasin [said] that the decision is aimed at straining the security situation between the two sides, stressing that it would affect the application of a security plan by the Palestinian security services in Nablus, as it does to the ongoing process of negotiations between the two sides.What could be a rare goodwill gesture on the part of the PA is going to turn into another snub, as they will ensure that they do not give in on even a tiny symbolic move like this. And what should be an uncompromising demand on the part of Israel is reduced to Olmert (reluctantly) begging the PA to act like human beings, and no doubt his easy acquiescence to the adamant refusal that is forthcoming.