National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir instructed Israel police to prepare plans for an ‘Operation Defensive Shield 2’, starting on Sunday in east Jerusalem.
The stated goal of the operation is to target centers of terrorism in east Jerusalem, where a number of the terrorists responsible for the latest terror attacks hailed from.
The operation furthermore aims to battle against and uproot terrorism, to reach the terrorists' homes and to stop terrorists before it comes to them carrying out attacks.
In a tweet on Saturday evening Ben-Gvir explained: "I am determined to implement Defensive Shield 2 in Jerusalem.To the information of the people briefing against me, the police does have the authority to destroy illegal houses, arrest more than 150 targets and raid their homes, stop the incitement in mosques, arrest tax evaders and many more. The cabinet meeting [on Sunday] is important and I will ask for additional things there, but sovereignty is very important and I will make sure that it is so."
Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid reacted to Ben-Gvir's plans on Twitter: "The Minister of Tiktok and pita [bread] "ordered" to start the Defensive Shield 2 operation. No cabinet, no assessment of the situation, no coordination between the security forces. If it wasn't dangerous it would be ridiculous. Just like him."
Calls for harsher measures
The decision came at the end of a situation assessment meeting at the Jerusalem district headquarters of the police following a ramming terror attack that killed a six-year-old and a newlywed 20-year-old.
The attack comes a week after a terrorist from east Jerusalem carried out a shooting in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Neveh Ya'acov in which seven people were killed.
Since taking over as National Security Minister, Ben-Gvir has repeatedly attempted to implement harsher and faster measures against terrorism. In the most recent example, after last week's attack in Jerusalem he called to seal the terrorist home immediately but did not receive the A-G's approval until the next day.
In the past, calls for a second Defensive Shield were repeatedly made after waves of terror attacks. In a recent example, Settler leaders began a campaign to pressure the IDF to embark on a operation against Palestinian terrorism, which they compared to the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield.
These calls followed a wave of shooting attacks in the West Bank in the summer and early fall of 2022.
Defensive Shield 1
The first Operation Defensive Shield was the largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six Day War, lasting from March 29 until May 10.
It was a response to the height of the Second Intifada in 2002 and especially to the attack dubbed the 'Passover Massacre' in a hotel in Netanya, in which 30 people were killed.
During the operation, the IDF entered Palestinian cities with massive forces including reservists, going house-to-house and door-to-door to destroy the terrorist infrastructure. 30 Israeli soldiers were killed and 127 were wounded.
Yaacov Katz, Tovah Lazaroff and Michael Starr contributed to this story.