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Israel plans series of restrictions on Palestinians in bid to quell terror surge

Arab workers to be banned from Etzion settlement bloc; extended family of terrorists to be barred from Israel; mass Hamas arrests expected

Palestinian supporters of the Islamist Hamas movement attend a rally at Birzeit University, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on May 6, 2014. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Palestinian supporters of the Islamist Hamas movement attend a rally at Birzeit University, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on May 6, 2014. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Amid an escalation of Palestinian terror attacks, Israel is reportedly set to introduce a series of dramatic new security measures — including barring the extended family of terrorist assailants from entering Israel, conducting mass arrests of Hamas activists in the West Bank, and deploying large numbers of reserve troops to safeguard terror hot spots.

Legal preparations for some of the measures are now being finalized, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Monday, hours after an Israeli soldier was stabbed to death at a gas station, and a 21-year-old Israeli woman murdered on Sunday was laid to rest.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting the Gush Etzion Junction in the West Bank, south of Jerusalem, where Hadar Buchris was stabbed to death on Sunday, said the Israel Defense Forces was stepping up its operations in the West Bank and had been given free rein in the area to preempt terror attacks. He urged Israelis to be resilient in the fight against terror.

Among the new measures planned, Channel 2 reported, are wide-ranging arrests of Hamas activists in the West Bank, to prevent the Islamist terror group — which seeks the elimination of Israel and spearheaded an onslaught of suicide bombings in the Second Intifada from 2000-2005 — from stepping up its involvement in the current terror wave. Israel is also looking into the legality of deporting — from the West Bank to Gaza — alleged inciters of violence against Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon visit the Gush Etzion Junction on Monday, November 28, 2015. (GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (right) visit the Gush Etzion Junction on Monday, November 28, 2015. (GPO)

In a further measure that underlines the sharply increased friction in day-to-day interaction between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel is also reportedly set to bar all Palestinian workers from supermarkets, factories and other facilities in the Etzion Bloc of settlements south of Jerusalem, an area that has seen several recent terror attacks. The Palestinian Maan website said 2,000 Palestinians could be affected.

As an apparent deterrent and punitive measure, Israel is also to bar the extended family of terrorist assailants from entering Israel — meaning “80-100” relatives of an attacker, Channel 2 said.

Finally, the report said, the IDF will deploy soldiers called up for reserve duty in January to bolster the standing army and protect terror hot spots, including roads that have been targeted by car-ramming Palestinian terrorists.

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