Israel: PA fire on settlers at Joseph’s Tomb ‘unwarranted’

Published today (updated) 29/05/2011 22:24

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — An Israeli military investigation in the the death of a settler found by Palestinian Authority police sneaking into a local shrine was labeled “unwarranted” on Sunday, Israeli military chief of staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said in a statement.

The settler, along with nearly 30 others had illegally entered the Palestinian municipality of Nablus, and snuck into a residential area where a shrine, which Jews believe holds the grave of the Biblical patriarch Joseph, stands amidst homes.

Settler violence against Palestinians and mutual tensions saw Israel’s military institute an escort-only policy for settlers entering Palestinian residential areas in the occupied West Bank. The military must be notified, and a full closure imposed on the area before the settlers enter for worship.

Having failed to organize an escort the settler group entered, allegedly threatened police, prompting shots to be fired. The settler cars then blew past a PA police checkpoint, apparently after one of the settlers had been hit by the fire and critically injured.

According to Gantz, “Palestinian officers whom opened fire did so in an unwarranted manner as there was no imminent and impending danger to their lives.”

The investigation, which apparently investigated whether the shooting was intentional, found that it was not, but investigators said they believed “the officers fired deliberately and with intention to harm the worshipers who arrived at Joseph’s Tomb.”

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