December 5, 2022 | Flash Brief

Israel Exercises Right to Self-Defense in Attack on Border Policeman

December 5, 2022 | Flash Brief

Israel Exercises Right to Self-Defense in Attack on Border Policeman

Latest Developments

The killing of a Palestinian assailant by an Israeli border policeman, caught on camera, has drawn diverse responses. Israel is unbowed in asserting its right to self-defense, while the Palestinian Authority accused it of another “cold-blooded murder.” United Nations envoy Tor Wennesland voiced horror over what he described as a “scuffle” turned lethal.

Expert Analysis

“The West Bank has seen a surge of bloodshed due to Israel’s stepped-up security sweeps in response to the spree of terrorist attacks against Israelis this past spring. Israel’s priority is to protect its citizens. But it will be more important than ever for the Israeli government also to protect the legitimacy of its countermeasures. And to do so, it needs to explain quickly and accurately, when these incidents occur, that these security steps are legitimate responses to increased Palestinian terror.” – Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The adage of a picture being worth a thousand words has again fallen short in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is clear footage of a man behaving in a manner that would have invited a lethal response from police anywhere on earth, yet Palestinian officials refuse to admit it. Israel was correct to stand by its officer, who prevented further bloodshed.” – Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

An Unprovoked Palestinian Attack

According to Israeli authorities, Friday’s incident near the flashpoint Hawara junction in the West Bank began with 22-year-old Ammar Mifleh slashing the face of a policeman in a patrol car, attempting to knife an Israeli couple in another car, and then blindsiding another policeman who gave chase. Bystander video showed Mifleh and the policeman — whose name has been barred from publication in Israel — grappling as two other Palestinians briefly try to intervene. Mifleh is seen repeatedly hitting the policeman in the face with one hand while holding the officer’s assault rifle with the other. Some 20 seconds later, the policeman, his face bloodied, draws a backup pistol and shoots Mifleh four times.

Israeli Leaders Unified in Defending Policeman

Israelis, including officials from the outgoing centrist government and their likely successors in the incoming nationalist-conservative coalition, praised the policeman for appropriate tactics that prevented Mifleh’s escalation of his rampage. But the Palestinians sought to cast the killing as an illegal resort to excessive force — a familiar refrain from the past seven years since the so-called “knife intifada” erupted, when they regularly disputed Israeli assertions that Israel had killed Palestinian assailants who were armed.

Rocket Fired from Gaza

A rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza on Saturday night, with no Palestinian factions claiming responsibility. It caused no damage but ended a relative lull in such launches. In addition, Israel struck a Hamas weapons manufacturing site, a tunnel, and later a military site in response to an anti-aircraft missile launched against Israeli fighter jets. So far, there is no indication the rocket fire was linked to the knife attack at the border.

Related Analysis 

Israel must reclaim its Arab citizens,” by Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer

Israel is Fighting to Prevent a Third Intifada,” by Enia Krivine


Israel Palestinian Politics