Sunday, April 24, 2011

Topsy-Turvy World

Make sure you read this headline carefully: Israeli civilians shot by Palestinian security forces after trying to break through checkpoint. I didn't even realize the PA had security checkpoints, but apparently they do. This one is outside Joseph's Tomb, a Jewish holy site under PA control.

In order to insure the security of worshipers, the IDF and PA run coordinated pilgrimages to the site on a regular basis. However, apparently some Hasidic Jews regularly attempt to visit at irregular intervals, often late at night. This shooting -- which the IDF is not characterizing as a terrorist attack, though they have condemned it -- occurred during one such instance. The PA forces saw "suspicious movement" and fired warning shots at an approaching vehicle. Unfortunately, their fire hit the car, killing one and wounding four (the dead man is a nephew of an Israeli governmental minister). The PA has detained the officers for questioning.

It is a story I've read a million times, but the roles reversed. The lesson being? Security is hard. Innocent people try to get around checkpoints, but people manning checkpoints don't know they're innocent. Tragedies happen, civilian lives are lost. It's a terrible thing.


Rebecca said...

Were they totally innocent? I would call them stupid - they were trying to get around the restrictions put in place by the IDF and the PA that were intended to protect them from Palestinian attacks. If they had followed the rules they would have been able to get to the holy place and none of them would have been killed. They were not prohibited from going to the tomb. Instead, they thought the rules didn't apply to them.

It reminds me of some of the ISM volunteers - going deliberately into a dangerous situation and then protesting when they get injured and killed.

PG said...

It reminds me of some of the ISM volunteers - going deliberately into a dangerous situation and then protesting when they get injured and killed.

Exactly. It's one thing if you're not following rules because the rules are massively unjust. But restrictions that are merely a matter of visiting hours rarely are unjust; they're just annoying. Nor is there any emergency situation here that would excuse rule-breaking, as there might be if someone in a medical emergency refused to wait through a checkpoint. God doesn't want you to get killed visiting holy sites.

David Schraub said...

I agree with all y'all -- I don't think that these guys were in the right. I think they were morons. But it wasn't like they were plotting a terrorist strike (though the PA security forces had no way of knowing that, which is why idiots and security checkpoints don't mesh well). But generally, to lose one's "innocence" one has to have a moral failing of some sort, which being a fool doesn't count as.

Rebecca said...

Probably right David, I guess being stupid doesn't make one guilty of anything. But the people who did this should have known better.