Jerusalem attacks: Israel to demolish terrorists’ homes, new tensions erupt

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The Israeli executive had announced measures against “families of terrorists” after the two attacks that hit East Jerusalem since Friday. The family home of the Palestinian who killed seven people in the holy city on Friday has been placed under seal for destruction on Sunday.

Israeli soldiers sealed the entrances to the house of the family of Khayri Alqam, 21, after Palestinians took out their belongings, an AFP correspondent said on the spot. His mother was held with four others in custody, police said, of the 42 suspects arrested after Friday’s shooting in the settlement neighborhood of Neve Yaacov.

Seven civilians, including a couple, a Ukrainian woman and a 14-year-old boy, died Friday evening in this attack carried out in Neve Yaacov, near a synagogue. The next morning, a 13-year-old injured two Israelis in Silwan, a stone’s throw from the Old City walls. Neither of these two attacks has been claimed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised Saturday evening a “strong” and “rapid” response to these attacks carried out in the part of the Holy City occupied and annexed by Israel.

The government also decided to seal off the home of the perpetrator of Saturday’s attack in East Jerusalem, even though it did not cause any deaths. Israel previously only demolished the homes of Palestinians who murdered Israelis. And that process involved giving notice to the families and an appeals process.

But in Khayri Alqam’s case, the house was quickly sealed off without notice or appeal, a move “taken in complete disregard of the rule of law”, according to Dani Shenhar of the Israeli rights organization HaMoke humans.

For Israel, the demolition of the homes of Palestinians accused of attacks has a deterrent effect, but critics of this practice denounce it as collective punishment.

A revocation of social rights

At the end of a meeting, on the night of Saturday to Sunday, the Israeli security cabinet announced the revocation of the rights to Social Security of “families of terrorists who support terrorism”. He also stressed that a bill aimed at revoking “Israeli identity cards” for this same category of families, would be discussed Monday in the Council of Ministers.

These measures apply to Palestinians with Israeli nationality, such as Israeli Arabs, and to Palestinians with resident status in East Jerusalem.

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VIDEO. Jerusalem: 13-year-old boy injures two Israelis in shooting

The Israeli security cabinet had finally decided to make it easier to obtain permits to carry weapons. “When civilians have weapons, they can defend themselves,” declared the Minister of Internal Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, a figure on the far right. In the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, the assailant, armed with a pistol, injured a father and his soldier son, aged 47 and 23 respectively, according to the police and the emergency services, before being in turn injured by armed bystanders, then arrested.

The fear of a new Intifada

These terrorist attacks come against a backdrop of sudden escalation after the death on Thursday of nine Palestinians, including fighters and a woman in her 60s, in an Israeli army raid in Jenin, in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967. Israeli forces have been placed on high alert, and the army has announced that it will be strengthening its troops in the West Bank as calls for restraint have multiplied from abroad.

Describing the attack as a “particularly heinous” crime, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, for example, said he was “deeply worried about the escalation of violence”. The Palestinian Authority refrained from condemning it and judged that Israel was “entirely responsible for the dangerous escalation”.

Emmanuel Macron, for his part, called on Israelis and Palestinians not to “feed the spiral of violence”.

But Netanyahu’s announcements have not been enough to calm the anger of some Israelis and fears of a more expeditious justice are being felt. Israeli security guards killed an 18-year-old Palestinian man, Ali Ahmad Salman, near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank on Sunday, according to Palestinian authorities. The army claimed he was armed.

A Palestinian home and vehicle in the West Bank village of Turmus Ayya were also set on fire, an attack blamed by residents on Israeli settlers. An Israeli security official blamed Israeli extremists.

According to the official Palestinian agency Wafa, 120 cars were the target of stones thrown by Israeli settlers, and 22 shops were attacked in Nablus in the West Bank on Saturday evening.

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