PA police officer
PA police officerIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Palestinian Authority soldiers last month woke up from a slumber and shot wildly at Jews who had been praying at Joseph’s Tomb, killing Ben Yosef Livnat, according to the private Israel Defense website, which is not associated with the IDF.

The report states that an internal PA investigation totally contradicts original accounts that the armed forces shot at the worshippers after they allegedly broke through a roadblock on their return from prayers at the holy site.

The internal investigation, as reported by Israel Defense, discloses a string of failures by the PA. Three soldiers, who had been trained by American army officers, were sleeping in their jeep several hundred yards from Joseph’s Tomb on April 24, the morning of the last day of Passover.

Nineteen Jews, including  Livnat (pictured), a nephew of Likud minister Limor Livnat, passed the PA checkpoint where the soldiers were sleeping. When the worshippers began returning home in their three vehicles, two other PA officers at Joseph’s Tomb also were asleep next to a bonfire they had lit to keep warm.

The report states that they woke up from a slumber, saw vehicles they did not recognize, and started shooting wildly at close range without asking superiors for permission to fire.

The shooting woke up the two officers in the jeep, and one of them also fired without knowing who he was shooting at, but he did not hit anyone. The other officer did not fire because he was guarding without a weapon, in violation of standard procedures. The worshippers later said that the PA forces knew them because they frequently prayed at Jospeh's Tomb.

The Palestinian Authority security forces also did not report the incident immediately, while the IDF, observing from nearby Mount Gerizim, observed the shooting and arrived at the scene before senior PA officers arrived, even though PA units are stationed in Shechem.

The Palestinian Authority probe maintains that the five soldiers involved in the shooting and killing of Livnat did not intend to murder anyone. They are being held in a PA prison and are awaiting a military trial.