Days After Stabbing, Israeli Military Still Surrounding West Bank Village Where Attacker Set Out From

Only those who require medical attention are being allowed to exit Beit Ghur al-Tahta; rights group slams closure as collective punishment.

Soldiers near the Beit Horon settlement in the West Bank, northwest of Jerusalem, on January 26, 2016.
AFP

Three days after a stabbing attack at the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon, the town of Beit Ghur al-Tahta, from which one of the assailants set out, is still surrounded by the army and coming and going from it is prohibited.

On Wednesday, Hamoked - Center for the Defense of the Individual, a human rights group, demanded of IDF Central Command Chief Maj. Gen. Roni Numa that the closure of the town be lifted, claiming that it constitutes collective punishment for all of its residents.

The IDF surrounded the town on Monday, hours after the stabbing attack in Beit Horon in which Shlomit Krigman was killed and another woman was moderately wounded. On Wednesday, army forces mapped out the homes of the two attackers. One lived in Beit Ghur al-Tahta, and the other in Qalandiyah. The two were shot to death on scene by a security guard.

According to miltiary orders, soldiers were stationed at the entrance to the town, where they were carrying out checks on people wishing to exit it. The orders allow only those who require medical attention to exit the town. Palestinians requesting to leave for work or to carry on in their daily lives are not permitted to leave. According to the army, entry of goods into the village, home to some 6,000 people, is permitted.

The closure of Beit Ghur al-Tahta is more severe than those that have been put in place on Palestinian communities since the terror wave began. In most cases, the army places barriers at the entrances to villages and carries out security checks on those entering and leaving them, but doesn’t completely restrict movement.

The appeal, submitted by attorney Yadin Elam, says that the closure constitutes collective punishment for the town's residents. Hamoked - Center for the Defense of the Individual requested in a letter that the closure be lifted, otherwise it would turn to court. The appeal added that the policy reflected in the closure of the town contradicts explicit guarantees given by the state to the Supreme Court as part of previous appeals related to the closure of Palestinian communities.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that "the appeal has been received and will be examined by the relevant parties."