Palestinian mobs took to the streets Thursday after a female Israeli soldier shot and killed a young Palestinian man who had threatened one of her subordinates with what turned out to be a fake gun.
The incident occurred on Wednesday night in the Judean town of Hebron.
The Palestinian man came to the Israeli army checkpoint outside the Cave of the Patriarchs, and handed over his ID card as requested. The female officer at the center of the scandal went inside to run a background check, and after returning found the Arab choking one of her soldiers and holding a hand gun to his head.
Acting instinctively, the officer said she looked for a clean shot that would avoid hitting the other soldier. When such a shot presented itself, she took it. Only in the ensuing investigation of the scene did army officials discover that the gun used by the Arab man was not a real firearm.
Political and army officials defended the officer's actions, insisting that she could not have known the assailant's gun was fake, and certainly should not be expected to risk both her and the other soldier's lives to find out.
But those inconvenient realities, along with the fact that the Palestinian man had initiated the hostile exchange, were brushed aside by Palestinian and foreign antagonists.
Almost immediately, a photograph of the female officer was published on social media websites with calls that she be arrested and tried by international courts for "murder."
Arab websites published graphics featuring the soldier's face and the words "There's no escaping death. You're going down."
In addition to fear for the female officer's life, there are concerns that those Palestinians looking to fan the flames of conflict might use such incidents to spark another intifada.
Meanwhile, Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz stated that if the Palestinians would stop teaching their children to hate, then such incidents would be far less commonplace.
Katz was responding to a video posted to the Internet in which four young children from Gaza act out the launching of missiles at southern Israel.
"The Palestinians...are continuously teaching their children to hate Israel and instill in them the ways of terror," said Katz, who lamented that if this trend were not reversed, a whole new generation of Palestinians would experience the same failures and hardships as their parents.