In reaction to two gun incidents on Saturday that left seven Israelis dead and five more injured, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a number of punitive measures against the Palestinians, including plans to expand Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Israel’s Security Cabinet approves measures to “strengthen the settlements”. It also cancels social security benefits for attackers’ families, making it easier for Israelis to get gun licenses. The move comes after a pair of shootings that included an attack outside an east Jerusalem synagogue.
The White House didn’t respond right away. The Biden administration, which decried the massacre, is against building settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want for a future state. When Blinken arrives on Monday for discussions with Israeli and Palestinian officials, the subject is probably going to be at the top of the agenda.
The weekend shootings came after an Israeli raid that killed nine Palestinians, mostly terrorists, on Thursday in the West Bank. Israeli airstrikes were in reaction to a barrage of rockets fired into Israel by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. This month’s warfare has claimed the lives of 32 Palestinians in total.
The Israeli military published a picture of what it claimed to be the handgun early on Sunday and said that security officers in the West Bank community of Kedumim had shot a Palestinian who was carrying it. No other information about the incident or the state of the alleged attacker was available.
The effectiveness of Israel’s actions is still up in the air. Both of the assailants in the weekend shootings, one of whom was a 13-year-old child, seem to have operated independently and were not associated with any established militant groups.
Additionally, Netanyahu may face pressure to take even stronger measures from other members of his government, a group of religious and ultranationalist leaders. Such actions run the risk of inciting greater unrest and might even involve the Gaza-based militant organization Hamas.
Israeli police increased their patrols in east Jerusalem after the massacre and reported that they had detained 42 suspects, including relatives of the shooter.
A 13-year-old Palestinian kid opened fire in another area of east Jerusalem.
However, later on, Saturday, a 13-year-old Palestinian kid opened fire in another area of east Jerusalem, injuring a 47-year-old Israeli father and his 23-year-old son, according to paramedics. The doctors stated that both were aware and in a moderate to serious condition within the hospital.
Police reported that as they arrived on the scene, two bystanders with legal weapons shot and subdued the 13-year-old attacker. Police took his firearm away and sent the injured teen to a hospital.
On Monday, Blinken is anticipated to touch down in Israel. The Biden administration has condemned the massacre that occurred on Friday night and called for calm on all sides, but it has provided little information on how it intends to further these objectives.
The attacks present Israel’s new far-right government with a crucial test. East Jerusalem was the home of the two Palestinian assailants who carried out the shootings on Friday and Saturday.
East Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents have permanent residency status, which enables them to work and travel freely within Israel, but they receive poor public services and aren’t allowed to vote in general elections.
All three areas are desired by the Palestinians for a potential independent state. Israel claims the entire city to be its undivided capital and has annexed east Jerusalem in a move that is not recognized by the international community.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s new flamboyant minister of national security, has made a show of upholding law and order while grabbing attention for his threats to take even more drastic action against the Palestinians.
Speaking to reporters at a hospital where victims were being treated, Ben-Gvir criticized Israel’s attorney general for delaying his order to immediately block off the attacker’s residence as a form of punishment.
Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir were referred to as “threats to world peace” on signs that were displayed.
On Saturday night, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv’s center for a fresh demonstration. Some people unfurled signs that called Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir “threats to world peace.” The marchers also observed a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the shooting in Jerusalem.
While this was going on, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank stuck to its decision to stop security cooperation with Israel in protest of the tragic Jenin raid.
Following a conference in Ramallah presided over by President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority urged the international community and the US government to put an end to Israel’s raids in the West Bank.
(The IBC NewsTV team may have changed just the report’s headline and cover image; the remaining text was created automatically from a syndicated feed.)