A father and his one-and-a-half-year-old-son were killed on Friday in a car crash in the West Bank that the Israeli Police believe was caused by a Palestinian stone-throwing incident, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. The ongoing police investigation so far has determined that the tragedy occurred when a sharp object, apparently a stone, struck the father in the head, causing the car to lose control. The investigation is ongoing.
The police know no Israelis were throwing stones or “involved in any disturbances” in the area of the road at the time, leading the police to believe it was a Palestinian attack.
At the moment, the incident is considered a nationalistic attack. Rosenfeld, speaking with The Mideast Update by phone, said that at the same time other stone-throwing incidents on a lot of the roads in the West Bank occur all year-round. “Unfortunately this one ended tragically,” he said.
Despite their presentation by some as a milder form of violence, stone-throwing still can have lethal effect, as it did here. “In the majority of cases, where our police officers arrive at the scene, stones are thrown at passing vehicles in order to attack and injure as many Israelis as possible,” said Rosenfeld. “And that’s exactly what happened, unfortunately, on last Friday.”
Rosenfeld said there was damage to the windshield of the car and that they have examined the blood on one of the stones, DNA evidence and forensics. He said they are still investigating with forensic units and coordinating with the IDF to try and find those responsible. “Obviously we are looking into the possibility that it was carried out by suspects that were in fact walking around the area at the time,” said Rosenfeld.
Despite the severity of the lethal rock-throwing incident and the potential for violence in and around the Palestinian statehood recognition bid at the United Nations last week, the weekend was calmer than it could have been. Israel was prepared just in case. Rosenfeld said that 22,000 police officers were mobilized for the weekend.
However, the IDF is still on alert regarding a potential terror attack along the Egyptian border. IDF spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said the alert, which was originally announced on the IDF Spokesperson’s blog on Friday, was still in effect as of Monday afternoon in Israel.
Speaking with The Mideast Update by phone, Leibovich said, “We have some information that causes us to believe either Hamas or other terror organizations are planning to execute some kind of a terror activity on the Israel-Egyptian border, and so this area is on alert right now.”
The alert surrounds the timing of the Palestinian UN effort and also ahead of the Jewish High Holy Days, which begin Wednesday night with Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Jewish New Year.
Rosenfeld said that approximately 10,000-12,000 police officers are expected to be mobilized for the holiday, although that is a standard number for the festival. He expressed the hope that the festival would pass peacefully.
“At the moment obviously the Israeli police are continuing to assess the security situation. We have the festivals coming up in the next few days, we will be heightening security [to help keep the quiet]… Our units obviously will be mobilized if necessary to respond, to react, but we’re hoping in general that the festival will be quiet,” said Rosenfeld.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 26, 2011)