'PA police purposely fired on Joseph's Tomb worshipers'

Gantz accepts IDF probe findings concluding gunfire that killed Ben Yosef Livnat was intentional, aimed at killing group of Jews who infiltrated site.

By
May 29, 2011 17:13
2 minute read.
IDF chief of General Staff Benny Gantz [file]

Benny Gantz 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

Palestinian policemen deliberately opened fire on a group of Jews who infiltrated Nablus last month to pray at Joseph’s Tomb, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz concluded on Sunday, following the military’s probe of the incident.

Ben-Yosef Livnat, 25, was fatally wounded when Palestinian Authority policemen directed their fire on the group of Breslav hassidim. Four other worshipers were wounded.

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The group illegally entered Nablus without coordinating the visit with the IDF as required by Israeli law. Nablus is Area A territory, under Palestinian control, and therefore off limits to Israeli citizens. The four Palestinian policemen were immediately placed under arrest by the PA which is continuing to investigate the shooting.

Last week, the Defense Ministry official recognized Livnat as the victim of a terrorist attack, enabling his family to receive compensation from the state.

The results of the IDF probe, released on Sunday, found no evidence that the Palestinian policemen had planned the attack but did conclude that the gunfire was intentional and aimed at killing the group of Jews who had infiltrated the area near the tomb. The PA policemen opened fire without justification and when their lives were not in danger, Gantz said.

Gantz also weighed in on the terrorist attack in the Itamar settlement in March during which two Palestinians broke into a home and killed Udi and Ruth Fogel along with three of their children. Gantz called the attack “despicable and inhumane.”

Gantz concluded that Central Command’s preparations at the time of the incident were in accordance with the assessed threat level in the West Bank but that there had been a lack of concrete intelligence regarding the attack.

Gantz noted, however, that the security measures in place at the time failed and ordered Central Command to immediately implement necessary chances to improve security in appropriate settlements in order to prevent future attacks.

On late Sunday night, thousands of Jewish worshippers were expected to travel to Joseph’s Tomb in coordination with IDF and PA forces.


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