Former Israeli-American spy Jonathan Pollard Tuesday overnight joined scores of settlers in storming Joseph’s Tomb in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to Israeli media.
Pollard, who served a 30-year sentence for spying for Israel, joined a convoy of buses packed with scores of fanatic Jewish settlers who broke into the site, located in the Palestinian-controlled area, where they performed religious rituals as Israeli forces secured the road and location for them.
The site of Joseph’s Tomb is contentious. Palestinians believe the site to be the funerary monument to Sheikh Yousef Dweikat, a local religious figure, while Israeli settlers believe it belongs to the Biblical Patriarch Joseph.
Israel uses the Jewish nationalist name “Judea and Samaria” to refer to the occupied West Bank to reinforce its bogus claims to the territory and to give them a veneer of historical and religious legitimacy.
There are over 700,000 Israeli settlers living in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Pollard, now 66, sold military secrets to Israel while working as a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy in the 1980s. He was arrested in 1985 after trying unsuccessfully to gain asylum at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and pleaded guilty. The espionage affair embarrassed Israel and tarnished its relations with the United States for years.