Israeli military prosecutors on Sunday charged a Palestinian security officer with the killing of an Israeli man and injuring of three others in 2011, when he and two other officers opened fire at the Israelis’ car after they visited a Jewish pilgrimage site in the West Bank without proper approval.
In April 2011, Ben-Yosef Livnat and some 15 other people visited the Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, without having coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces in advance.
As the group of Israelis was visiting the holy site, the suspect — Saleh Hammad — and a number of other Palestinian security officers fired their guns into the air in order to scare them away.
“When the car left the area, the commander of the patrol, [Hammad], and another patrolman fired many bullets at the car,” the IDF said in a statement.
Livnat, the nephew of former Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat, was shot dead and three other people in the car were injured.
Hammad was charged in an IDF court with the crime of intentionally causing death — the military’s equivalent to murder — as part of a group, as well as attempted intentionally causing death as part of a group, and obstruction of justice.
Despite the charge, Hammad is not believed to have fired the bullet that killed Livnat, according to the indictments.
The commander of the patrol and the other patrolman have already been found guilty and sentenced to prison terms. The other patrolman, Nuaf Bani Auda, was found guilty of lesser crimes but cleared of murder charges.
Hammad was imprisoned by the PA immediately following the incident. He was arrested by the IDF on May 9, shortly after his release from PA custody.
The Joseph’s Tomb site, believed to be the burial place of the biblical patriarch, is popular with some Jewish worshipers, who make monthly pilgrimages under IDF protection.