Saturday, January 29th | 27 Shevat 5782

September 13, 2016 2:47 pm

Full Details Emerge Surrounding Palestinian Police Rescue of Female IDF Soldiers From Lynch Mob, Following GPS Mishap

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Palestinian rioters. Photo: Wikipedia.

Palestinian rioters. Photo: Wikipedia.

Thanks to the swift action of an off-duty Palestinian Authority policeman, the IDF did not have to launch an operation to prevent the potential lynching of two female soldiers who had lost their way and ended up under assault in a PA-controlled area, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, PA police made Israeli intervention unnecessary, as members of the force ushered the young women to safety in the nick of time.

An investigation into the incident revealed the following details:

The two soldiers — from the communications company of the Paratroopers Brigade — set out from their headquarters at around 7:50 pm, with the intention of driving to the Givat Alonim junction.

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Relying on the app Waze for directions, they found themselves being brought via Hawarah in the West Bank, and on from there to Anabta in northern Samaria. Realizing their error and feeling frightened, they phoned “100” (the Israeli equivalent of “911”) to ask for assistance.

Just as they were making the call, an off-duty PA policeman noticed and approached them. Grasping that they were liable to become targeted by hostile, anti-Israel residents, he pointed the women in the direction of the exit.

Either due to a misunderstanding or their nerves, the soldiers took a different road from the one he showed them.

It was then that a group of Palestinian youths caught sight of the car and began to pummel it with rocks, shattering its windows.

Fearing for their lives, the soldiers fled on foot.

At that moment, members of the PA police, who had been informed about them by their off-duty colleague, arrived and drove the women to safety — immediately contacting Israel’s Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria.

In shock and lightly injured from windshield shards, the weeping women were told by Civil Administration officers, via telephone, that they were in good hands and no longer in any danger.

They were subsequently transferred to Israel-controlled territory at the Einav crossing.

One IDF official told Walla that the soldiers had thought they were about to be killed. Another said that as soon as news of their plight emerged, forces rushed to Anbata, prepared for the possibility that they would have no choice but to storm in to rescue the women. Had they not been protected by the PA police, he said, “a few more minutes in that situation and the episode would have ended catastrophically.”

Yet another IDF source said that this kind of incident — in which Israelis take wrong turns into forbidden PA areas — was by no means isolated. In such cases, he explained, “The Palestinian policemen understand that if they don’t make the effort to prevent an escalation of violence — or, worse, a lynching — it will be to their detriment, as the IDF would respond harshly.” He also said that he was not surprised by the behavior of the PA police, since they have “acted similarly in all the incidents like this that have occurred over the past year.”

The most infamous case of Israelis erring on the road and ending up in the PA occurred on October 12, 2000. Two IDF reservists who had accidentally entered Ramallah were brutally slaughtered by an angry mob after being taken into custody at a local police station.


The iconic photo of Aziz Salha, one of the lynchers, waving his blood-stained hands from the police station window in October 2000. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The crowd stormed the building, then beat, stabbed, disemboweled and gouged the eyes out of the two men. One of the murderers displayed his bloody hands to observers below, who clapped and cheered. (The photo of this horror would become an iconic image, representing the Second Intifada.)

The mutilated Israelis were then flung out of the window, stomped on and set ablaze. Their bodies were subsequently dragged through the city, ending up at a main square, where an impromptu celebration was held by masses of onlookers — among them Palestinian policemen.

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