A Palestinian gunman in a car started shooting at an Israeli border guard checkpoint at the Tapuach checkpoint outside Nablus before dawn Tuesday, June 3. The soldiers returned fire and killed the gunman, after a soldier was hit in the leg. He was taken to hospital.
It was the second encounter at the same spot in four days between an Israeli security force and a terrorist. Last Friday, the force apprehended a suicider wearing a bomb vest, which was defused in time.
Tuesday’s incident was especially significant for two reasons:
1. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz was on operational duty in the vicinity. Hearing the shots, he arrived on the scene and was told what happened.
2. The attack took place just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was informed from Washington that, in the face of Israel’s concerns, the US proposed to work with the new Palestinian unity government that was installed in Ramallah Monday afternoon by the Fatah and Hamas factions.
Israeli officials voiced deep disappointment in the Obama administration’s decision “to accept a Palestinian government based on a partnership with an anti-Israel terrorist organization.”
The incident at the Nablus checkpoint illustrated the error of the US decision.
Israel’s Security Cabinet held an emergency meeting Monday night shortly after the new government was sworn in by Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. One of its decisions was to henceforth hold that government responsible for all terrorist actions, whether they emanated from the Gaza Strip or the West Bank.
Given Hamas’ long record of rocket and other terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip, the ministers scarcely expected to be confronted with their first challenge from the West Bank.
debkafile’s military sources report that the even the reconciliation talks between Abbas’ Fatah and Hamas in recent weeks were accompanied by an upsurge of Palestinian terrorist activity against Israeli targets. Israeli forces are now bracing to hold back the next wave of attacks on civilian locales, road traffic and towns, expected to reach into Israel’s heartland across the Green Line. Gen. Gantz’s overnight presence in Samaria attested to those preparations.