Israel announces punitive measures for Palestinians after stabbing

Entry into country for residents of assailant’s home town annulled, as are hundreds of passes to fly abroad through Israeli airport

Itamar Sharon is a news editor at The Times of Israel

A Palestinian man walks toward the Hawara checkpoint, near the West Bank city of Nablus (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90/File)
A Palestinian man walks toward the Hawara checkpoint, near the West Bank city of Nablus (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90/File)

Israeli leaders ordered several punitive measures against Palestinians on Sunday night, and threatened further possible action, after a Border Policeman was critically wounded in a Jerusalem stabbing attack earlier in the day. The attack came after an Israeli man, Danny Gonen, was shot dead by a Palestinian gunman in a terror attack in the West Bank on Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon instructed security officials to revoke Israeli work permits from residents of the Jerusalem assailant’s home town, the West Bank village of Sa’ir, near Hebron.

In addition, they said 500 permits for Palestinians to fly abroad through Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, a special measure announced days earlier in light of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, would be annulled.

Netanyahu and Ya’alon said further steps would be considered later.

Last week officials announced a series of measures aimed at easing movement for Palestinians during Ramadan.

These included allowing Palestinian buses to bring West Bank worshipers into Israel, for the first time in at least a decade; letting Palestinian men over the age of 40 and women of all ages enter the Temple Mount without need for an Israeli permit; allowing Palestinians to enter Israel freely for family visits, setting an initial quota of 100,000.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said at the time the moves were based on positive assessments by the IDF Central Command, COGAT and the Shin Bet security service.

Hamas praised Sunday’s attack, though it did not take credit for it; photos published online indicated the assailant was a member or sympathizer of the Islamist movement.

The Facebook page of Hamas website posted two photos of 18-year-old Yasser Yassin Tarwa from the town of Sa’ir near Hebron. In one, Tarwa is seen wearing a Hamas scarf and headband, and camouflage pants. In another, the Hebron Polytechnic student is seen displaying the green flag of his university’s Islamic bloc, his face painted in camouflage colors.

Tarwa stabbed the Border Policeman repeatedly in the upper body and neck on Sunday morning, before the police officer shot him. Both the Border Policeman and the assailant were evacuated to the hospital in serious condition.

Hamas spokesman Hossam Badran said in a statement Sunday that the “heroic” attack was timed perfectly to coincide with the first anniversary of the killing of Palestinian teenager Muhammed Abu Khdeir by Jewish extremists.

“The operation sends a message of resistance to the occupation whereby resisting youth are able to defy the occupation and reach its soldiers even where they [the policemen] gather,” Badran wrote.

Yasser Tarwa displays Hamas flag al-Resalah Facebook page
Yasser Tarwa displays Hamas flag (al-Resalah Facebook page)

The stabbing, which took place shortly after 10 a.m. near Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City, followed the deadly shooting attack claimed by Hamas near the Israeli settlement of Dolev on Friday. The killer of Danny Gonen, 25, has not yet been apprehended.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.


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