Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian Security Officer Who Fired at Them, Army Says

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Israeli security forces secure the scene of an incident at the Hawara checkpoint near the Palestinian city of Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 4, 2020
Israeli security forces secure the scene of an incident at the Hawara checkpoint near the Palestinian city of Nablus, November 4, 2020.Credit: Majdi Mohammed,AP

Israeli soldiers killed an officer of the Palestinian security forces Wednesday after the latter shot at the soldiers near the West Bank city of Nablus, according to an army statement,

According to a preliminary army investigation, the man drove by a military post on the road leading to the regional military headquarters and fired two shots at the soldiers, who returned fire and shot the man dead. No Israeli soldiers were injured. 

The man was identified as Captain Bilal Rawajiba, 29, a legal advisor to the Palestinian security forces in the region of Tubas, in the northeastern West Bank. 

The Palestinian Authority called the incident an "extrajudicial execution" and said the Israeli army prevented ambulances from reaching Rawajiba. It called on the international community to intervene and bring those responsible to justice. It also urged the International Criminal Court in The Hague to launch an investigation into Israel's alleged war crimes against the Palestinians.

Findings of the preliminary army investigation strengthen the assessments of Israeli security officials that the motive for the attempted attack is the officer’s financial distress.

Bilal Rawajiba with his newborn child, 2020.

For over a year, Palestinian security officers have received only half their salaries because of a dispute with Israel over tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of the PA. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to accept from Israel the tax monies as long as Israel continues to deduct the PA's spending on stipends to imprisoned Palestinians and their families.

According to Israeli assessments, senior Palestinian security officials view Abbas’ decision to end the PA's security cooperation with Israel in May as a step that has not proved itself, having harmed the Palestinian security apparatus more than it has provided leverage on Israel.

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