For what it's worth, I'm against the police shooting trespassers unless it's patently clear that they intend to hurt the officers; I believe this was an avoidable tragedy. That said, one would expect the Israeli authorities to be very happy with this outcome, since it perfectly fits into Israeli engagement rules. They should have noted that:
- The settlers were criminals seeking for trouble and they got it.
- This is war, and war is messy.
- The Palestinian policemen have the right to prioritize their own lives over those of the civilians they regrettably kill.
- The settlers made suspicious movements.
- The policemen had to make difficult decisions in a short instant of time, decisions you and I don't face.
Instead, the Israeli government displayed the crudest Jewish victimhood. Minister Livnat said:
I woke up this morning and received a phone call from Ben-Yosef's mother, who told me that he was murdered by a terrorist masked as a Palestinian police officer.
It was cold-blooded murder. Ben-Yosef went to pray with other Jews, and he was murdered simply for being a Jew.
Prime Minister Netanyahu concurred:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned on Sunday evening the shooting incident at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus that killed 24-year-old Ben-Yosef Livnat and injured two other Hasidim, calling it a "terrorist attack."
In his statement, Netanyahu urged the Palestinian Authority "to take harsh steps against the perpetrators who committed this heinous act against Jewish worshipers who were on their way to prayer."
Defense Minister Barak was also furious:
Barak's office said: "No coordination mishap justifies this kind of outcome or the shooting of innocent people." Barak ordered the IDF to investigate, as well as demanded "the PA take swift and full measures against the shooters."
I for one am unimpressed by these gentlemen's (and lady's) outrage. Of course, if Livnat hadn't been a fanatical Jew he wouldn't have been there in the first place, so that his death is, in a way, related to his Jewishness. But the reason he was shot is not that he was a Jew; it's that he broke the law, and while you can get away with it most of the time if you're a West Bank settler, there are times when your luck runs out and you get shot.
It's interesting to compare the killing of this Jew with that of an elderly Palestinian citizen earlier this year:
A Palestinian resident of the southern West Bank city of Hebron was killed early Friday during an Israel Defense Forces raid on the city to arrest Hamas members, security and medical sources said.
The IDF raided Hebron to re-arrest six Hamas members that the Palestinian Authority had released only the day before following an intervention from the emir of Qatar.
Medical sources said a 65-year-old Palestinian, who was reported to be an unarmed civilian, was brought dead to hospital with several bullet wounds to the upper part of his body. They said the man had been shot in a building the soldiers had raided to arrest one of the Hamas members.
The man who was killed, Amr Qawasme, was asleep when soldiers broke into his home before dawn. His wife, Sobheye, said IDF troops brushed past her into the bedroom, where she heard several shots fired. When she went in, she found her husband in a pool of blood.
There are several differences between both killings:
- The settlers were engaging in illegal activities. The Palestinian old man was asleep.
- The PA responded to a conflict initiated by the settlers. The IDF started a conflict by invading the Palestinian's house.
- The PA policemen were taken by surprise. The IDF action had been carefully planned.
Despite this, PM Netanyahu didn't find the "misshap" that ended in Qawasme's death outrageous at all. It was just a product of the messiness of war.
The fact that Israeli authorities are not even mentioning the illegality of the shot settler's actions is very telling, considering that even the victim's relatives blame him for his lunacy:
The 17-year-old brother of one of the wounded men arrived at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, where they have been hospitalized.
"They knew what they were getting into, and the level of risk involved. But they considered it as action," the brother told Ynet.
"They only wanted to pray; sometimes fate can be pretty bad and unpleasant," he said, adding "they have a rabbi that coordinates these entries. This time they came without a permit or authorization of the rabbi.
"When the visits are coordinated nothing happens – the rabbi looks after us. However this time the rabbi wasn’t there with them; it was a crime for them to enter the tomb without the rabbi or a permit," noted the brother.
But it's always easier to cry antisemitism than to reflect on how your crazy policies are encouraging young people to consider themselves above the law -- and meet their death as a consequence.