By Candace Kellner
A group of Palestinians set fire to a compound housing Joseph’s Tomb — a religious site honored by Jews — on Friday, Oct. 16, sparking condemnation from Palestinian and Israeli authorities. According to CNN, the tomb appeared to be unharmed, but the fire marks another decline in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fire follows a sequence of recent violence between the two countries.
A spokesman from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) promised that action will be taken in response to the fire.
“The burning and desecration of Joseph’s Tomb… is a blatant violation and contradiction of the basic value of freedom of worship,” IDF spokesman Peter Lerner told CNN. “The IDF will take all measures to bring the perpetrators of this despicable act to justice.”
In the past month, 30 attacks involving knives and other weapons took the lives of eight Israelis and wounded several others. One attack, where two Palestinian men entered a bus in Jerusalem and started shooting and stabbing passengers, killed three Israelis, reported CBS News.
Some of the worst violence has occurred in Jerusalem, though Israelis have been targeted elsewhere, according to CNN.
The IDF has confirmed that the Palestinian attackers have wielded knives against Israeli civilians and authorities, causing IDF to take up arms.
Israeli security forces have turned their guns on these attackers and have also fired during protests that have turned riotous.
Five Palestinians were killed Friday, Oct. 16, when the rivals clashed in the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health told CNN. That same day, 269 Palestinians were injured during confrontations with the IDF in the West Bank. Palestinian officials reported that more than 30 Palestinians have been killed in the past month while more than 1,100 have been injured.
The U.N. Security Council is holding a meeting to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian unrest.
Secretary of State John Kerry has reportedly spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the wave of violence, according to CBS News.
Many Israelis are changing the routes of their commutes, and many who have handgun permits are carrying weapons.
On Sunday, Oct. 18, hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians formed a peace rally in the streets in Jerusalem, CNN reported. The rally urged for the stop of attacks that has left Israelis fearful and panicked.
“It’s really something quite big for Jerusalem, especially in these days when fear rules the streets,” said Alon-Lee Green, one of the protest’s events and a left-wing activist, CNN reported.