Israel Suspends 1,200 Palestinian Entry Permits in Wake of Deadly Tel Aviv Terror Attack

Decision does not apply to work permits, even though stabbing that claimed lives of two was perpetrated by Palestinian who was authorized to seek employment in Israel.

The site of a stabbing attack that killed two people in south Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. Police stand around a bloodstain on the road.
Moti Milrod

Israel on Friday suspended the entry permits of 1,200 Palestinians from the Hebron region pending the completion an investigation into a terror attack that killed two people in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

The decision applies to permits granting Palestinians entry to Israel, but not to permits issued for work or medical treatment purposes.

There are some 14,000 Palestinians in the Hebron region who have permits to enter Israel.

On Thursday, a Palestinian resident of a village near Hebron entered a commercial building in south Tel Aviv and attacked a group of men reciting an afternoon prayer. Reuven Aviram, 51, and Aharon Yesaev, 32, were killed in the attack.

The assailant, Raed Mahmoud Al-Masalma, 36, from the village of Dura, received a work permit this week and was employed at a restaurant near the site of the attack. According to the Shin Bet, he did not have a security background.

According to security sources, it has been a decade since an attack was perpetrated by a Palestinian who underwent a Shin Bet background check and was authorized to work in Israel.

All of the Palestinians who have carried out attacks in Israel proper during the current wave of terror had been in the country illegally. Most, like Al-Masalma, came from the Hebron area.

Some 60,000 West Bank Palestinians have permits to work in Israel.

Even as Israeli forces work to prevent further attacks, security officials have noted the importance of continued employment of Palestinians within the country. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and other defense officials have opposed suggestions that a blockade be imposed on West Bank Palestinians entering Israel.

Thursday was the deadliest day since the terror wave began last month. About two hours after the attack in Tel Aviv, three people were killed and a number of others were wounded in a shooting attack in the Gush Etzion area of the West Bank.