Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support.

Click here to help us keep going

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Jewish resident of West Bank accidentally killed by IDF

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.

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Mikesailor

      Oops, I did it again, only this time the ‘victims’ are considered by Israelis to be ‘legitimate’ victims while they see Palestinians to be somehow deserving of their similar fates. Not too long ago, Palestinians shot Israeli who ‘ran’ a checkpoint and am uproar was heard by the Israeli public and media denoting such shooting as an ‘act of terrorism’. I’m sure most remember the Joseph’s Tomb fiasco. Now, since a Jew was shot by the IDF can this legitimately be called an ‘act of terror’ promulgated by the IDF?
      Funny how racism enforced by a corrupt military occupation can come back and bite the ‘wrong’ people.

      Reply to Comment
    2. directrob

      It looks like an incident where soldiers misidentified the situation.
      “…Martzbach was driving with his lights off and apparently didn’t notice the soldiers who urged him to stop…”
      “… A force stationed in the junction noticed the vehicle which was speeding towards it and called the driver to stop. The driver failed to comply and one of the soldiers, who feared for his life, opened fire at the vehicle, apparently firing eight shots…”
      It also looks like even here the IDF went into instant coverup mode. The pictures of the car show the car was shot from behind and the lights were on…

      Reply to Comment
    3. Nicholas Rehl

      It is always unfortunate to hear about a civilian casualty. Israel commits crimes against humanity on a daily basis and even against their own people.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Piotr Berman

      Apparently, at 5:30 am the soldiers were setting a checkpoint and were not quite done yet. I guess it was still before dawn. My further guess is based on a personal mistake I once made: I forgot that I am almost invisible in dim light and I collided head on with a light truck (on bicycle, the truck started slowly from a stop sign, so I am here to tell the tale). So a soldiers was thinking that he is visible — as he presumably would be once the checkpoint would be illuminated, or once the sun would rise — and that he was willfully disobeyed which is indeed suspicious.

      OTOH I do not know what are normal infantry tactics at checkpoints.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Abtalyon

      “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” opines the author.

      How about publishing this article on a Syrian blog and see what comments it might draw?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ben Israel

      These things happen even without the military and “the occupation”. I am reminded of the case that ocurred in New York towards the end of Giulinian’s term as Mayor when an unarmed man was shot something like 40 times by the Police.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Piotr Berman

      The comparison with Guliani term is relevant: somehow with a new mayor police is less lethal. So leadership does matter.

      Upon reading the stories again, it appears that Marzburg was driving very slowly and thus a local IDF unit decided to put up a roadblock to stop the car and check what is going on. There was a story of a driver in Los Angeles county to was driving too slowly on a freeway — an offense — and refused to stop. Police was chasing him for 8 hours because they did not want to block a freeway, eventually the driver run out of gas.

      If you are willing to block the road, there are many ways of stopping slow car without shooting the driver, e.g. remotely controlled spike strip.

      Reply to Comment
    8. RichardNYC

      Let’s have a Palestinian state and get the IDF out of there right? Oh wait I forgot no deal until Abbas gets his house in Safed back.

      Reply to Comment
© 2010 - 2017 +972 Magazine
Follow Us

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website powered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel