The West Bank city of Nablus was quick to resume normalcy following Sunday's tragic shooting, which left one Israeli dead and five others injured.
Nablus Governor Jibrin al-Bakri insisted Tuesday that the incident could have been avoided if the worshipers had simply coordinated their arrival with the proper authorities.
Al-Bakri told Ynet that Joseph's Tomb has seen several dozen Israeli visitors since the shooting, who followed proper security protocol: "We welcome visits by people of all religions in Nablus, including Jews, of course, but we want them to coordinate their visit."
Palestinian police cruisers were patrolling the entrance to Joseph's Tomb throughout the day, and six Palestinian police officers were present inside the closed compound at any given time Tuesday. Normally, only two are stationed inside the holy site.
Al-Bakri expressed his regrets over Sunday's shooting, but stressed that when Israeli visitors follow proper security protocol and coordinate their visits, they are perfectly safe.
"I still don't understand why they didn’t tell the Israeli military about the visit. We've hosted senior Israeli personalities and Jewish rabbis here. Even the Israeli chief of staff visited. We welcomed them all," he said.
He still maintains that the shooting occurred after the Berslov Hasidim who entered the compound provoked the Palestinian officers: "They removed the roadblock set at the entrance and some of them threw rocks at the police officers.
"One of them even tried to snatch away one of the policemen's weapons," al-Bakri said. "The officers tried to stop them, they fired warning shots. Then they got in their car to run and crashed into one of the barriers."
Nablus District Police Spokesman Ziyad Othman added: "When I visit Tel Aviv I ask for clearance. Why didn’t they do the same when they came to Nablus?"
Othman stressed that keeping the peace throughout the Nablus District was a Palestinian interest and a priority.
The Nablus governor is certain his policemen did not mean to harm – let alone kill – the worshipers, and only fired because they thought they were in mortal danger.
"Only after they fled the scene the District Coordination Office called us and told us that one was killed and three were injured," he said.
He added that an inquiry was ongoing and that the police officers involved were detained, pending the inquiry's conclusion.
Meanwhile, Rabbis for Human Rights issued a statement imploring both Israeli and Palestinian security forces to exercise due caution. The group urged the IDF to impose the order barring Israelis from entering Palestinian territories sans coordination, saying "lack of enforcement encourages disregard in the mandated coordination before any entry to Palestinian territories and breeds such tragedies as seen on Sunday."
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