Security cabinet weighs tougher measures after latest attacks

Rabbi Michael Mark, father of 10, killed in drive-by shooting Friday; 42 homes to be built in Kiryat Arba.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Knesset cabinet meeting (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Knesset cabinet meeting
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The security cabinet met late Saturday night to consider a series of draconian measures in response to last week’s terrorist attacks.
On Friday, Rabbi Michael “Miki” Mark was killed by Palestinian gunmen as he drove on Route 60 south of Hebron, some 15 kilometers from the Kiryat Arba settlement where Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, was stabbed to death in her bedroom on Thursday by Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Tarayrah, 17.
After the second attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered the IDF to impose closure on some 700,000 Palestinians in the Hebron area.
On Friday the two men took a number of additional measure, including approving the construction of 42 homes in Kiryat Arba, near where the Ariel family lives. Netanyahu had promised the Ariel family he would take steps to strengthen their community when he visited them on Friday.
The IDF canceled some 2,800 work permits for Palestinians in Tarayrah’s village of Bani Naim, while Liberman affirmed that he plans not to return the bodies of Palestinian terrorists to their families.
Instead, a special cemetery will be built for them.
To stop the Palestinian Authority from making payments to terrorists and their families, Israel plans to deduct that sum from its monthly transfer of taxes collected to the Fatah-led government in the West Bank.
“The Palestinian Authority transfers funds to terrorists by various laundering methods; the more severe the acts of terrorism, the greater the amount of funds,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Friday.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered that the entire amount of support for terrorists and their families be deducted from the tax revenues that Israel transfers monthly to the Palestinian Authority,” the PMO said.
“Israel believes that the encouragement of terrorism by the Palestinian leadership – in the form of both incitement and payments to terrorists and their families – constitutes incentive for murder.” the PMO said.
On Saturday, Liberman visited the site of Friday’s terrorist attack on Route 60 and spoke of the need to take harsh measures against Palestinians to prevent further attacks, including arrests, denial of work permits and the demolition of terrorist homes.
Steps may also be taken to demolish illegal Palestinian construction in Judea and Samaria, Liberman said. He spoke after Education Minister Naftali Bennett had called on him to raze such structures.
Bennett called on the IDF and the government to force the families of the terrorists to pay a hefty price for the actions of their relatives.
“We can’t continue to rely on a policy of closures and the withholding of tax fees,” Bennett said.
Even when the tax fees are withheld, the families of the terrorists continue to receive payments from the PA, Bennett said.
The Tarayrah family will already get such funds in August, Bennett said.
He proposed a number of new punitive measures in additional to home demolitions, such as for terrorists’ families to be imprisoned or exiled.
Palestinian 3G cellphone network could be shut down, a move that would be an effective way to combat Palestinian incitement on social media, Bennett said.
Palestinian traffic could be halted all together on Route 60, where Friday’s attack occurred, Bennett suggested.
The IDF could arrest all Hamas activists and re-arrest all Palestinians freed from jail as part of the deal to free Gilad Schalit in 2011, but who have committed crimes in the last two years, Bennett offered.
The IDF could also restore full operational activity in Areas A and B of the West Bank, Bennett said.
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said, “We must understand that we are in a war and must act accordingly. A state of emergency must be declared, legislation allowing the expulsion of the families of terrorist needs to be promoted and we need to take steps to crack down on those who incite terrorism,” said Katz who is a member of the security cabinet.
Mark, who was the head of the Otniel Yeshiva, will be buried on Sunday in Jerusalem.
Eulogies will be delivered starting at 11 a.m. at the Otniel Yeshiva.
The father of 10 had been driving on Friday with his wife, Chava, and two of their children near the Aduraim junction, when they were attacked by Palestinian gunmen.
The hail of bullets caused their car to overturn. Paramedics found Mark dead in the upside-down vehicle, while the other passengers had managed to exit the car.
Chava Mark is in serious condition at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
Their daughter, 14, sustained a bullet wound to her stomach and 15-year-old son was lightly wounded.
President Reuven Rivlin sent his condolences to the Mark family. “I join in the prayers being said now across Israel for the full recovery of the family’s mother and children,” Rivlin said.
“Miki, who was the director of the yeshiva in Otniel, saw the school as his life’s work and one of the most important projects in Israeli society.
The yeshiva in Otniel has known sad times, and to our sorrow the list of its alumni who have fallen in Israel’s conflicts is long,” said Rivlin in reference to the 2002 attack in which two Palestinians infiltrated the building and killed four students.
In Washington, US State Department spokesman John Kirby condemned Friday’s attack. “We call on others to also condemn such attacks.
There is absolutely no justification, as we have said many times, for terrorism or the taking of innocent lives,” Kirby said.
Earlier on Friday in Hebron, a Palestinian woman attempted to stab a Border Police officer at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and was shot and mortally wounded by fellow officers.
Meanwhile, police announced that they arrested a man who allegedly assisted the perpetrator of a near-fatal terrorist attack the previous evening in the coastal town of Netanya, the second of the day. The attacker was shot and killed by a civilian passerby Police said that they apprehended a 30-year-old Tel Aviv-Jaffa resident who allegedly drove the deceased assailant to the area of the attack in an overnight raid on his home.
Yaakov Lappin and Daniel J. Roth contributed to this report.