Monday, April 25, 2011

Palestinian Policeman Opens Fire On Jewish Worshipers Killing One

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded the Palestinian Authority take “harsh steps” against those responsible for today’s West Bank shooting death of the nephew of a minister of his Likud party.

Palestinian authorities told the Israeli military earlier in the day that a policeman opened fire at “suspicious movement” in the area of the Jewish shrine called Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus, an army spokesman said.

Netanyahu called the shooting a “criminal act against Jewish worshippers on their way to prayer.” The army said in an e-mail the Israelis had failed to inform soldiers of their intention to enter Palestinian-controlled territory as required by law. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that “a slip-up in security coordination can’t justify an incident like this.”

Tensions have been rising in the West Bank since the stabbing to death in March of an Israeli family in their Jewish settlement home. Two Palestinians were arrested in connection with that attack.

After the funeral, Jewish settlers and Palestinians threw stones at one another near the West Bank town of Hawara and a Palestinian car was torched, an army spokeswoman said, speaking anonymously according to regulations.

The casualty of today’s shooting was the nephew of Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat, said Or Doron, a ministry spokeswoman.

Livnat said a Palestinian gunman masquerading as a policeman killed her nephew, according to the daily Haaretz. An army spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a preliminary investigation found that the Israelis had refused to stop at a Palestinian checkpoint at an entrance to Joseph’s Tomb.

Investigation Begun

Barak called for the Palestinian Authority to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said by telephone they are investigating.

The West Bank is controlled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamas. Israel has conducted peace talks with Abbas, while Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S., and the European Union, refuses to recognize Israel or any agreements signed with it.

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