Haaretz (Editorial)
April 26, 2011 - 12:00am

The tragic death of Ben-Yosef Livnat in Nablus could have been prevented. The preliminary investigation shows that Livnat and his companions decided to visit Joseph's tomb without coordinating their trip into the Palestinian Authority with the Israel Defense Forces. They apparently broke through a Palestinian roadblock, and Palestinian police officers shot them in response.

People who wish to visit Joseph's Tomb, including Jewish worshipers, must coordinate with the army, which in turn coordinates with the Palestinian Authority. This is part of the security cooperation between the two bodies, which has been maintained to the IDF's satisfaction. There was no reason to violate it.

The IDF sees the incident as "an extremely grave mishap" but not as a terror attack, and this is how it must be handled for the time being. Such mishaps have happened before - IDF soldiers have mistakenly fired at Palestinians. Israeli police officers have also mistakenly fired at Israeli citizens.

This does not mean such blunders must be accepted as predestined, as part of the complexity of Jewish sacred sites in places beyond IDF control. A swift, meticulous investigation is needed to find out not only who is responsible for the shooting and the uncoordinated entry, but also to examine the coordination between Israel and the Palestinians, and to prevent another fatal incident.

As long as the inquiry is going on, it is improper and harmful to make inflammatory declarations, call the Palestinian officers terrorists and murderers, and treat the shooting as a terror attack that must be avenged.

The security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is an essential asset. Its importance is born out daily, as not only IDF officers would testify but also the many visitors to Joseph's Tomb.

Both sides must be allowed to complete their investigation without threats of revenge or political pressure, and without getting carried away with acts deemed "an appropriate Zionist response."


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