First, Cabinet Approves Sealing Home of Teenage Jerusalem Terrorist

First, Cabinet Approves Sealing Home of Teenage Jerusalem Terrorist
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The government voted Sunday to seal off the home of a 13-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem who wounded two people in a terrorist shooting on Saturday.

Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting followed a deadly weekend in the capital in which seven Israelis were killed and several more wounded in two separate terror attacks.

Police said early Sunday that they had sealed the house of Alqam Khayri, the terrorist who carried out Friday’s attack that killed seven people and wounded three in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

The second attacker, Muhammad Aliyat, 13, also from East Jerusalem, seriously injured two people the next day, before being shot and wounded by armed members of the group he attacked.

Representatives of the attorney general present at the meeting raised issues with the sealing of the 13-year-old boy’s home, as current Israeli policy states that a terrorist’s home will only be sealed or demolished if the attack includes fatalities, which in this case was not so.

Sealing off attackers’ houses is often a replacement for demolishing them. In general, the process takes several months. The house needs to be mapped, the High Court of Justice must hear the family’s appeals and, where appropriate, deny them, and then security forces often wait for the optimal moment to enter Palestinian cities for the operation. .

As the political level reportedly continued to press on the issue, Baharav-Miara representatives clarified that the move would require changing the law and adapting the policy accordingly.

Finally, a decision was reached to seal the house, although the measure can be appealed. The Prime Minister’s Office later clarified that the vote only affected policy in this specific case and would not affect other incidents. Officials will review the broader policy issue for future cases.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a keynote address during the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, January 29, 2023. (Haim Zach/GPO)

The ministers also discussed other measures aimed at curbing Palestinian terrorism. These include potentially revoking the residency or citizenship of family members of terrorists and deporting them to Palestinian Authority-controlled territory.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would back new measures, including a bill that would allow employers to fire workers who express support for terrorism without the usual required hearing.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the government supports speeding up any bill that would “strengthen deterrence by exacting a price from those in the immediate proximity of terrorists.”

Science and Technology (Likud) Minister Ofir Akunis told the meeting: “Legal debates do not combat terrorism. We must revoke the citizenship or residency of East Jerusalem residents who were involved in terror attacks immediately. If the father of a murderer is happier [at the attack] that at his wedding, that he be deported. It must be immediate and effective.”

“While we are not looking for an escalation, we are prepared for any possibility,” Netanyahu said. “Our response to terrorism is an iron fist and a powerful, fast and accurate response.”

Tobias Siegal and Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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