Security cabinet approves ‘aggressive steps’ in wake of recent attacks

Hebron region cordoned off, all relatives of attackers to be investigated; Liberman, Bennett Face off in security cabinet meeting.

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July 4, 2016 03:07
3 minute read.
IDF raid Hebron

IDF raid in Hebron. (photo credit: screenshot)

Israel is using “aggressive measures” against terrorism that it has not used in the past, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet on Sunday, hours after his security cabinet decided on a series of steps aimed at tamping down the recent uptick in attacks.

Among these measures, he said, are the cordoning off the Hebron region, home to 700,000 people; denial of work permits for residents of Bani Na'im, the village near Hebron where six terrorists have come from; a massive deployment of IDF forces in the region, with a focus on securing the roads; and automatically investigating family members of the Muhammad Taraireh, the murderer of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in Kiryat Arba last week, and “arresting them in accordance with the level of their involvement.”

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The sister of Taraireh was arrested over the weekend on charges of incitement stemming from remarks she made in the past in the Palestinian media.

Netanyahu also said that the cabinet next week would discuss a “special program” to strengthen Kiryat Arba. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, in response to the Kiryat Arba attack, decided even before the meeting to market 42 new housing units in the neighborhood near the Ariel home, in the Givat Harsina neighborhood.

Netanyahu said that he directed his ministers to “combine measures in all ministries to help communities in Judea and Samaria.”

Sunday's meeting was delayed some 90 minutes, because a special security cabinet meeting the night before lasted more than four hours, and extend until after 2:00 am. The decision Netanyahu spelled out to his ministers were decided there. The security cabinet also decided to subtract from the money Israel transfers to the PA every month the sum the PA pays to terrorists and their families, and to set up a cemetery for terrorists, a move advocated by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who has come out against giving the bodies of terrorists to their families for burial. A sharp disagreement erupted in the cabinet between Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Liberman, with Liberman at one point reportedly telling IDF officers not to answer Bennet's questions. Bennett repeatedly drilled the IDF officers about claims that the the family members of terrorists have been brought to trial on incitement charges.

Before the cabinet meeting, Construction Minister Yoav Gallant -- a member of the security cabinet -- described the measures taken as 'localized” and “responsible.”

Gallant said that Israel is in the midst of 100-year struggle with terrorism, “and I think we will know how to get to every one of the murderers and pull them from their beds and bring them either to prison or to the cemetery.”

He slammed Bennett for the latter's criticism of the security cabinet, saying that it is unacceptable for one member of the 10-person body to attack it.

Another security cabinet member, Yuval Steinitz, told Israel Radio that a measure to automatically investigate family members, including for the possibility that they engaged in incitement in either the social media or traditional media, could have an impact. “If the murderer will know that his parents and siblings may be sent to prison because of incitement that in many cases can be found against them, I think it will create a deterrent,” he said.

Meanwhile, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, banned Hebron Governor Kamal Khamid from entering Israel on Sunday, after the latter visited the relatives of Taraireh.

"Supporting terrorism has many expressions, a message on the the IDF's COGAT Facebook account read. "Yesterday, the Governor of Hebron...

visited the families of the relatives from Bani Na’im. Visiting the families is agreeing to despicable murder and encourages terrorism.

What is the message? Is the Hebron governor expressing support for the murderer of a 13-year-old girl? We expect the Palestinian leadership to take responsibility, and call for calm and tolerance," the message continued.

"Israel will not help those who support terrorism," it said, adding that Khamid's entry permit to Israel had been revoked.

Yaakov Lapin contributed to this report


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