Security Cabinet Authorizes Police to Impose Closure on East Jerusalem Neighborhoods

New measures approved by the ministers also include revoking permanent residency status of terrorists and calling in army reinforcements in an effort to counter ongoing wave of violent attacks.

Moti Milrod

The security cabinet decided early on Wednesday several new measures in attempt to combat the recent wave of terror attacks, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

It said that Israel Police was now authorized to "impose a closure on, or to surround, centers of friction and incitement in Jerusalem, in accordance with security considerations." It also announced that a terrorist's house that has been demolished will not be rebuit, and that the permanent residency rights of terrorists will be revoked and their property confiscated.

In addition, military units will reinforce police in cities and on main routes, and 300 security guards will be recruited to secure public transportation in the capital, at a cost of 80 million shekels.

The security cabinet convened at 4:30 P.M. after multiple terror attacks on Tuesday left at least three Israelis dead and over 20 wounded. The deliberations continued into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The statement noted that the inner cabinet will reconvene Wednesday afternoon to further discuss the security situation, including incitement to violence.

Earlier, during a recess, Netanyahu said that the cabinet "will decide on resolute measures in the war against instigators of incitement and terrorism to be implemented on the ground as quickly as possible."

A senior Jerusalem official said that the ministers were considering the option of boosting police forces with soldiers from the Homefront Command and Military Police, as well as approving roadblocks on the roads leading to the Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and explained that traffic in and out of the neighborhoods will not be stopped, but suspect vehicles will be examined.

The official said that imposing a closure on the West Bank was not on the table since the area was relatively calm, and such a measure may foment further unrest. The cabinet also discussed an expansion in the policy of razing terrorists' homes and leveling sanctions against their families.  

Netanyahu, who was addressing a Knesset plenary session marking the anniversary of the murder of former minister Rehavam Ze'evi, on Tuesday said that he will not hesitate to use all the means at Israel's disposal to restore calm. "Israel will come to terms with the murderers and with anyone who assists them," he said.

"Not only will they not enjoy rights, we'll exact the full price from them. Anyone who tries to harm us, his arm will be cut off. I'm sure the actions we will take will make the other side come to the realization that terrorism doesn't pay. It's instigators will pay the full price."

He called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to stop the incitement against Israel, which focuses on its alleged actions on the Temple Mount. "A true leader must show responsibility. Stop the incitement disseminated from the Authority," Netanyahu said. "You must fight the extremists who make the innocent pay a heavy price. If an escalation will arise as a result of the incitement you will carry the responsibility. You do what you must do, and we'll do what we must do."  

In his speech, Netanyahu also addressed the rising tensions among Israel's Arab citizens. "Don't be misled by people who want to spark a fire in the country," Netanyahu said. "Stand up to the zealots and the extremists." Netanyahu also urged Jews to avoid harming innocent citizens. "Anyone who takes the law to their own hands will pay the price," he said. Following Netanyahu's speech, the cabinet meeting was resumed.

Multiple terror attacks in Jerusalem and in the central city of Ra'anana on Tuesday left at least three Israelis dead and over 20 wounded. In the morning, a stabbing was reported in Ra’anana, followed by two separate attacks Jerusalem, followed by yet another attack in Ra'anana. Later a stabbing in took place in the north, with a Jewish Israeli man stabbing another Jewish Israeli, apparently misidentifying him as an Israeli Arab.

On Tuesday evening, 20,000 Israeli Arabs took part in a demonstration as part of a general strike organized to support the Palestinians who call for a "day of rage" in the northern city of Sakhnin.