Three killed in West Bank gun attack
TWO ISRAELI security guards and a policeman were killed when a Palestinian man opened fire at a West Bank checkpoint on Tuesday morning.
A fourth Israeli, reported to be a security coordinator, was seriously injured in the attack outside the settlement of Har Adar, northwest of Jerusalem.
The gunman was identified as Nimr Jamal, who held an Israeli work permit and lived in a neighbouring Palestinian village with his wife and four children. He was shot and killed. A statement by Israeli police said Jamal “aroused the suspicion of security personnel” at the checkpoint to enter the settlement.
He then “raised his shirt, pulled out a pistol and shot… from close range.”
Israeli authorities named the fallen police officer as 20-year-old Solomon Gabariya. Yussef Utman and Or Arish, both 25, were the security guards who died.
The attack put the spotlight on a policy that Israeli defence officials believe has kept violence at a relatively low level for the past two years. Crossings between the West Bank and Israel were kept open when a fresh intifada was declared in September 2015, allowing more than 50 thousand Palestinians to enter Israel and a further 20 thousand to enter West Bank settlements for work every day.
The policy provided a major source of income for the Palestinian economy and prevented violence from spreading to wider parts of society, causing it to ebb away within months.
Security chiefs have indicated they consider Tuesday’s incident an isolated case. Out of 400 attacks over the last two years, Jamal is only the second attacker who held an Israeli work permit.
Rather than a change in policy, the IDF and Shin Bet are in fact recommending the government authorise tens of thousands of more permits.
“We will have to examine why Jamal, who was motivated by personal issues and saw becoming a martyr a way out, managed to do what he did,” one security official said.
“But our strategy, of giving the Palestinians somewthing to lose, has still proven itself.”
Mourners at border policeman Solomon Gabariya’s funeral on Tuesday