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Israel takes measures against ‘families of terrorists’ after attacks in east Jerusalem


On Sunday, Israel sealed off the family home of a Palestinian man in east Jerusalem who killed seven people near a synagogue as part of measures to deprive relatives of the attackers of certain rights.

Late Saturday night, the security cabinet announced a series of steps, including revoking welfare rights for “families of terrorists who support terrorism.”

It was also announced that the home of 21-year-old Khairy Alkam, who was shot dead by police after Friday’s attack, “will be sealed just before it is demolished.”

An AFP correspondent saw Israeli forces Sunday on the building’s terrace after they had sealed the entrances and the Palestinians were clearing their belongings.

Israel is already demolishing the homes of Palestinians who kill Israelis, although the process requires prior notice to families and the opportunity to appeal the decision.

Dani Shenhar, head of the legal department for the Israeli rights group HaMoked, said the sealing of the house overnight demonstrated “the government’s desire to take revenge on the families.”

According to him, this measure was “adopted with complete disregard for the rule of law”, and Ha-Moked intends to file a protest with the attorney general.

More weapons for civilians

Israel’s security cabinet said Sunday will also discuss a bill to revoke Israeli identity cards from relatives of the attackers.

The announced measures are in line with proposals from Netanyahu’s far-right political partners, which allowed him to return to power at the end of December.

Most likely, they concern primarily Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, known as Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians with residence permits in East Jerusalem.

Hours after the fatal shooting near a synagogue in the Neve Yaakov settlement, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and wounded two Israelis near the walled Old City in east Jerusalem.

The boy accused of the attack in the Silwan area was wounded on the spot.

No group claimed responsibility for any of the shootings.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Security also decided to make it easier to obtain permits to carry firearms.

“When civilians have guns, they can defend themselves,” far-right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir told reporters outside a Jerusalem hospital on Saturday.

Israeli forces have been put on high alert and the army has announced it will be bolstering its troop levels in the West Bank, while calls for restraint have intensified from abroad.

death raid

The Jerusalem attacks came after nine Palestinians were killed in the deadliest raid by Israeli forces in the West Bank in nearly two decades.

Israel said Thursday’s raid targeted Islamic Jihad fighters, whose fighters, along with Hamas, later fired several rockets from Gaza towards Israel.

Most of them were intercepted by Israeli defense systems before the military responded with strikes against Hamas installations inside the Palestinian enclave.

No casualties were reported on either side, but Gaza’s armed groups promised further action.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected to travel to Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday and Tuesday to discuss de-escalation steps.

The surge in violence raised fears of new reprisals.

A Palestinian house and car were burned overnight in the West Bank village of Turmus Aya, in an attack that locals blamed on Israeli settlers.

Israeli forces did not immediately comment on the arson when they contacted AFP.

Netanyahu, who returned to power in December, has proven himself over the decades as the leader best suited to keep Israel safe, and is about to face the deadliest wave of violence against Israelis in years.

Friday’s attack outside a synagogue sparked outrage in Europe and the United States and condemnation from several Arab governments with ties to Israel, including Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

But the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, insisted instead that Israel bears “full responsibility for the dangerous escalation.”

Abbas and Netanyahu are due to meet separately with Blinken next week, talks that have taken on new urgency amid mounting bloodshed.

This will be Netanyahu’s first high-level meeting in the US since his return to head the most right-wing government in Israeli history.

Netanyahu’s domestic critics continued their protests on Saturday, with thousands marching in Tel Aviv to oppose his controversial judicial reform plan, which aims to give politicians more control over the Supreme Court.

The demonstrators honored the memory of those killed on Friday with a minute of silence.


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