This morning an IDF soldier shot and killed an Israeli Jew from the West Bank settlement of Otniel when the man did not stop his car on route 60 near Hebron after being prompted. Apparently he did not hear them or pay attention, and for that, he lost his life. It is unclear whether the soldiers tried to shoot at the tires first and how exactly they instructed him to stop, and why the man did not in fact stop.
If it were to have been a Palestinian in the car, it would have been considered an unfortunate but necessary casualty due to security concerns at best, or simply another casualty in the war on terror. Since it was a Jew, it is tagged under friendly fire and the family of the victim Rabbi Dan Mertzbach will now be considered the relations of a victim of “hostile acts,” and receive the subsequent benefits provided by the National Insurance Institute.
In this tragic irony, a settler is being recognized as a victim of an act of terror committed by the very establishment that he pays taxes to in order to protect him. Can anyone fathom the State of Israel ever recognizing a Palestinian resident of the West Bank as a victim of “hostile action” when he is accidentally shot? Does this mean that the 4-year old Palestinian girl, Aseel Ara’ra, who was shot in the neck last month and is now paralyzed as a result of a military training accident will also be recognized as a victim of “hostile action”?
The incident today is a sad reminder of what it means to live in a country ruled by a military, where constant death and violence are the norm, and where two peoples are divided by an institution that determines the value of their lives.