The parents of the soldier seriously injured on Wednesday near Bethlehem sharply criticized the IDF official who said the hit-and-run incident was a traffic accident and not a terror attack.
The soldier's father, Roni Yehonatan, told Israel Radio his son was deliberately run over and that the attack was not accidental in any way.
"I'm still making a personal appeal: Come look at my son, imagine that he is your child and then tell me that this was an accident," he said in a different interview with Army Radio. "It hurts me so much."
Yehonatan's son was injured late Wednesday evening, when a Palestinian van plowed into three IDF soldiers near al-Arub (south of Bethlehem), sending all of them to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
As for the other two soldiers run over in the incident, one is in moderate condition while the other sustained light injuries.
On Thursday, the van’s driver turned himself in to Israeli custody, while a second man linked by the security forces to the incident was arrested. Both men are from the Hebron area.
“One of the directions being examined is that the suspects did not intend to strike the soldiers,” an army source said. “This direction is based on the possibility that the suspects may not fit the profile of terrorists,” even ones who could act on their own separate from an organization.
“We are continuing to investigate all directions.”
Whether or not the incident was nationalistically motivated, the IDF continues to view the West Bank as being cut off from Jerusalem, and sources believe it would be premature to conclude a new trend of terrorism is descending on the West Bank region. Additionally, the West Bank continues to see a decrease in the number of rock-throwing attacks, a source said.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.