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Israel Strengthens West Bank Settlements, Relaxes Civilian Gun Controls

Israel’s hardline new government says it will make it easier for civilians to carry guns and strengthen settlements in the occupied West Bank after Jerusalem was hit by two shootings in less than 24 hours. rice field.

In the city’s bloodiest attack since 2008, seven Israelis were killed and three wounded in the first shooting near a synagogue on the Jewish Reservation on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Two more people were injured in a second attack near the Old Town on Saturday.

Israel’s security cabinet responded to the attack by Israel By expanding and accelerating firearms licensing, he said, “thousands of additional citizens will be able to carry weapons.”

It added that it would also take “steps to strengthen settlements” in the West Bank, which occupies most of Palestinian territory, but some Palestinians held a “celebration” after the shootings. It has been occupied by Israel since 1967. .

“We are not looking for escalation, but we are prepared for all possibilities,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said ahead of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “Our answer to terrorism is an iron fist and a strong, rapid and precise response.”

A surge in violence following the worst Israeli raid on the West Bank in two decades and the exchange of rockets between Israeli and Gaza militants is a sign that long-running Israeli-Palestinian tensions have turned into a wider conflict. exacerbating concerns that it could develop into

It also poses an early test for Netanyahu’s new government, which is dominated by extreme right-wing and ultra-religious politicians and came to power last month after pledging to take a hardline line against the Palestinians.

On Sunday morning, police cordoned off the home of the shooter behind the initial attack. His 21-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem was killed by police at the scene. The attacker in the second shooting, his 13-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem, was shot and hospitalized.

At a ministerial meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu ordered officials to draw up a law to “revoke the residence and citizenship of terrorists and remove them to the territory of the Palestinian Authority.”

He also called for a “draft memorandum” on legislation that would allow “immediate dismissal of workers who support terrorism without the need for public hearings.”

The security cabinet did not give details of measures to strengthen the settlement but said it would be submitted this week.The military said on Saturday it had already moved additional battalions to the West Bank. .

Most of the international community considers settlements illegal. However, key positions in Israel’s new government are occupied by ultranationalists and settlers such as Itamar Ben Guvir and Bezalel Smotrich, who are instrumental in expanding the settlement.

On Saturday night, the security cabinet announced a series of other measures, including revoking national insurance entitlements for “families of terrorists who support terrorism,” strengthening military and police forces, and expanding operations to collect illegal weapons. approved the measures.

of Palestinian Authority It condemned the plan as “a racist collective punishment that incites further escalation and violence.”

Targeting Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants, the latest cycle of violence erupted after Israeli special forces killed nine Palestinians during a raid on Thursday at the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. More than 30 Palestinians, both militants and civilians, have been killed by Israeli forces this year.

Following the attack, the Palestinian authorities canceled security coordination with Israel. The US requested the PA to reverse the decision. Secretary of State Antony Brinken will visit both Israel and the West Bank this week as part of a pre-planned trip to the region.

https://www.ft.com/content/00d190c8-f054-4794-8096-3c75d9e11b77 Israel Strengthens West Bank Settlements, Relaxes Civilian Gun Controls

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