The residency status of 19 East Jerusalemites accused of involvement in terror attacks will be revoked, Interior Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday, as the government implements a series of measures designed to crack down on an ongoing spate of terror attacks
This measure will deny their families welfare benefits they would have received from the state’s National Insurance Institute.
A high percentage of the attackers involved in a recent wave of stabbings and other attacks have come from East Jerusalem, where residents enjoy some Israeli rights as permanent residents, though not full citizenship.
Shalom told Israel Radio that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked will submit a proposal to the government to deny relatives of terrorists who were killed while attempting to murder Israelis an allowance from the National Insurance institute.
The allowance is a welfare benefit given to citizens who have lost a family member.
In addition, the disability allowance will be revoked for terrorists who were wounded or maimed while attempting to murder Israelis, according to the proposal.
The move is one of several agreed on by the cabinet Tuesday night to step up efforts to crack down on the terror wave. Other punitive moves include immediate demolition of homes of terrorists’ families, as well as the deployment of soldiers to Jerusalem and other Israeli cities and checkpoints at the exits to some East Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Shalom said that land on which terrorists’ home stood prior to demolition would be confiscated from their families after the structures were razed.
So far, the families of five Palestinian terrorists who have killed Jews are slated to receive demolition orders.
They include the families of the men who killed Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in a West Bank shooting attack some two weeks ago; the man who fatally stabbed Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Benita in Jerusalem 10 days ago; and the killers of Malachi Rosenfeld and Danny Gonen in shooting attacks in the West Bank earlier this year.
The security cabinet also approved Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s proposal that Israel not hand over to their families the bodies of terrorists killed during attacks.
Erdan suggested burying such terrorists in IDF cemeteries within Israel’s borders, where other terrorists have been buried in the past, thereby denying families the ability to visit the graves.
Erdan said terrorists should not be honored with admiration and ceremonies after carrying out attacks.
“The families of terrorists turn their funerals into a demonstration of support for terrorism and incitement to murder. We must put an end to this,” he said.
Zionist Union MK and former justice minister Tzipi Livni told the radio station her party, which leads the opposition, would support the government on any step that would be intended to safeguard the security of the state and its citizens.
She added, however, that the government should simultaneously cooperate with the Jordanian leadership to prove that Israel was not violating the status quo on the Temple Mount.
Livni added that the government must ensure that cooperation with Palestinian Authority security forces continue.
According to the status quo enacted after Israel retook Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount, site of two ancient Jewish Temples and today the al-Aqsa Mosque, but not to pray there. Muslims are allowed to visit and pray at the Mount.
Earlier on Wednesday, the government ordered the military to deploy six companies of IDF soldiers to Jerusalem, following the deadliest day so far in the current wave of unrest.
Tuesday saw four terror attacks, two of which, in Jerusalem, left three Israelis dead. All told, over 30 were injured.
Police also began setting up checkpoints at “the exits of Palestinian villages and neighborhoods in East Jerusalem,” where most of the recent attackers have come from, a police spokeswoman said.
Those police actions are intended to return security and order to all the country’s residents, the police said.
The security cabinet also voted to ramp up security arrangements on Jerusalem’s public transport, where the IDF will bolster security until the Transportation Ministry enlists additional guards. Soldiers will be stationed at bus and light rail stops, as well as on buses and trains across the city.
“IDF units will reinforce the Israel Police in cities and along roads,” and will deploy “along the security fence in the immediate term,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office read.
In an effort to prevent terror attacks emanating from East Jerusalem — all five of Tuesday’s attackers hailed from Arab neighborhoods there — the security cabinet also voted to allow a lockdown on several Arab neighborhoods.
Also Wednesday, the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee approved the call-up of 1,400 reservists in the Border Police. So far, 850 reservists have been called up.
The security cabinet is set to reconvene on Wednesday for additional discussions based on the latest developments.
AFP contributed to this report.