One Israeli worshiper was killed and five were wounded in Nablus early Sunday morning after their vehicle was shot at by Palestinian security forces as they were exiting the city from prayer services held at Joseph's Tomb.
According to Nablus Governor Jabril al Bahri, the shooting attack was a "security incident" and not a terror attack. Bahri said the group of Breslev hassidim raised suspicions since they entered the city without prior coordination with the proper authorities. At first shots were fired in the air as a warning and then at the
vehicle, he said. Bahri said the incident was being investigated and
refused to say if the shooters were Palestinian Authority police.
Think Again: The irrelevance of the settlements to peace
Rattling the Cage: Kids are innocent, settlements aren’t
According to initial investigations, the Israelis were traveling in the area without coordinating their visit to Joseph's Tomb and were reportedly shot at by Palestinian police.
Three vehicles with 15 Breslev hasidim entered the city in the early morning hours for prayer services. On the way back, around 6 a.m. they encountered a surprise checkpoint and were met with a hail of gunfire from a Palestinian jeep. The fire continued even after the vehicles turned back in an attempt to escape. Two of the three vehicles were hit.
The worshipers were able to evacuate themselves to the IDF Samaria district brigade base and the Har Bracha settlement which were near by and received initial emergency medical care.
The death of a 30-year-old male was pronounced at the scene. A 20-year-old man was injured in serious condition, suffering of an abdominal wound. He was airlifted to Bellinson Hospital in Petah Tikva where he underwent surgery. A 17-year-old youth was evacuated by a Magen David Adom Yarkon crew in moderate condition, suffering a wound to his shoulder. Another youth was injured and evacuated for medical treatment after he was questioned by authorities. Another two were in light condition and were treated on scene.
When asked about the possibility that Palestinian Police shot at the car, Gershon Mesika, head of the Samaria regional council, told Army Radio that Breslov hassids attempt to illegally enter Joseph's Tomb almost every month. He added that Palestinian Police are familiar with the regular occurrence, and would have no reason to shoot at visitors.
In February, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak
to increase access to Joseph’s Tomb, located on the southern edge of Nablus, which has a waiting list of thousands of Jews wanting to make the pilgrimage.
At present, access to the tomb is limited to one nightly trip a month.
In 2009, Palestinians vandalized Joseph's tomb, drawing a Star of David with a boot stamping it on one wall.
In October 2000, at the start of the Second Intifada, Palestinians attacked a small Border Police contingent stationed next to the grave site. One of the policemen was killed after the IDF relied on the PA to evacuate him, in keeping with the Oslo Accords. A nearby yeshiva was ransacked, and holy books were burned.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin