Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Wednesday agreed to step up security measures against Palestinian families who have members suspected of carrying out attacks on Israelis. Tight restrictions have also been imposed across the country, Palestinian regions in particular.
According to the announcement, Palestinian family members of alleged attackers may not only have their homes demolished but also have their Jerusalem residency revoked.
“Nineteen attackers from east Jerusalem – I think that is the number more or less – will have their residency cancelled,” said Interior Minister Silvan Shalom when speaking to media.
The majority of Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem do not have Israeli or Palestinian citizenship and carry an Israeli-issued residency permit.
Israel has recently deployed army forces across Israeli cities and security forces to Arab neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem as well as set up checkpoints which are sealed at will.
An additional three hundred security guards will also be recruited for public transport around Jerusalem.
Human Rights Watch has criticised the measures and said roadblocks around Palestinian neighbourhoods would only escalate tensions and “infringe the freedom of movement of all Palestinian residents.”
The monitoring group's Israel/Palestine country director, Sari Bashi, acknowledged that Israeli officials have the right to protect civilians but noted that the acts of a minority should not affect the vast majority of Palestinians.
“They need to find the measures tailored to address the threat, and do not affect tens of thousand of people, most of whom need to travel through different parts of Jerusalem and Israel for work, services and family visits,” said Bashi.
The news of advanced security measures comes after a recent wave of unrest between the Palestinians and Israeli forces in Jerusalem.
Since Oct. 1, at least 32 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces while seven Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians.
Incidents of violence between Palestinians and Israelis have increased since Israeli police carried out a raid on the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, one of the holiest sites in Islam, last month to prevent possible protests against Jews who enter the grounds of the mosque to perform rituals.
As a result of the raid, a number of Palestinian worshippers were injured and Palestinian access to the compound was restricted.
Palestinians are also growing increasingly frustrated over the peace process with Israel, which has so far failed to realise a two-state solution.
It has been 18 months since peace talks stalled when the Israeli side left the negotiation table in protest against the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority declaring a joint government with the Gaza-based Hamas movement, which Israel considers a terrorist organisation.
The joint government was declared after Israel failed to cease the building of illegal settlements in occupied territories of the West Bank.