A bullet hole in a door of the Jerusalem synagogue where two Palestinian terrorists killed four rabbis and a police officer, November 19, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering revoking the permanent resident status of east Jerusalem terrorists and their associates, a source in the Prime Minister’s Office said Saturday night.
Taking away resident status from terrorists and those who commit other nationalist crimes, such as incitement to harm the country, is one of several solutions Netanyahu is considering to deal with the recent wave of violence in which many of the terrorists have come from east Jerusalem where Arabs have permanent Israeli residence but not citizenship, the source said.
“It cannot be that those committing acts of terrorism against Israel enjoy rights such as National Insurance benefits,” Netanyahu stated.
Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said Saturday his ministry is examining the possibility of revoking permanent residency and the accompanying social benefits received by east Jerusalem Arabs from those who encourage terrorism and incite to violence. Meanwhile, embattled Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said, during an interview on Channel 2’s Meet the Press that the government should strongly consider threatening to deport terrorists living in east Jerusalem.
“The families of terrorists should know that this tool includes deportation [to the West Bank or Gaza] and the revocation of residency permits,” Aharonovitch said.
“We know from past intifadas and past experiences that this [method] works.”
Aharonovitch added that MKs and rightwing activists may be barred from visiting the Temple Mount amid the capital’s crisis.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett also called for taking away terrorists’ residence status.
“Today, whoever commits a suicide attack goes to ‘heaven.’ His family gets an allotment [from the Palestinian Authority] and they’re residents of Israel. We need to change the equation – destroy his house on the same day and not three months later and take away his [National Insurance] allotment and resident status,” he said, also appearing on Meet the Press. “We need to put Border Patrol forces in [Arab neighborhoods] permanently. Then I want to see the mother who sends his son [to be a terrorist] when she knows all that.”
Arab terrorism against Jews in Israel began 120 years ago, not in 1967, the Bayit Yehudi chairman pointed out.
“Enough already! We can defeat terrorism if we stop being defensive and move to the offensive,” he declared.
Bennett continued his criticism of Aharonovitch for not being aggressive enough, saying the public security minister thinks his job is to be a security guard, but that the police must “catch terrorists at 3 a.m. and bring rule of law everywhere.
It cannot be that there are entire areas of the State of Israel that are lawless. We need determination.”
Aharonovitch responded, calling Bennett’s words “nonsense campaign slogans.”
Last week, MKs Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) and David Tsur (Hatnua) submitted a bill with a similar purpose that was meant to deal with a lacuna in the law that allows the interior minister to withdraw the citizenship of convicted terrorists, but does not apply to permanent residents.
“The loophole in the current law creates a situation in which a citizen who commits an act of terrorism knows his citizenship can be revoked and he will lose many rights, whereas a permanent resident of Israel knows that he has nothing to lose because there is a loophole,” Shaked explained.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On, however, spoke out against the proposals, calling them “another populist proposal that will not only not deter terrorism, but will increase their motivation and turn Israel into a leper in the international community.”
According to Gal-On, those who encourage terrorism must be brought to court and punished severely, but their residency should not be revoked.
“Residence isn’t a privilege that can be revoked, because one cannot prevent a man from being a resident in his land,” she posited.
“Revoking residency will make people refugees in their own land and revoking rights from families of terrorists is collective punishment that will only increase hatred and motivation to commit acts of terrorism.”
On Sunday, MK Danny Danon (Likud) plans to submit a bill that is meant to serve as an additional deterrent to potential terrorists.
If his initiative becomes law, Israel no longer would return the bodies of terrorists who are killed while committing acts of terrorism.
“Our unfortunate experience shows us that terrorists’ families turn their bodies into a way of encouraging additional terrorist attacks,” Danon said.
The Likud MK said terrorists’ funerals are Hamas support and recruitment events, and called for the government to not allow these things to happen.
“If we bury terrorists’ bodies and don’t return them to their families, we will stop and prevent potential terrorist events.”