Shin Bet: new ‘rad­i­cal’ se­cu­rity steps needed

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY YAAKOV KATZ JERUSALEM

FAC­ING A grow­ing num­ber of at­tacks in East Jerusalem, the Shin Bet se­cu­rity agency is rec­om­mend­ing rad­i­cal leg­isla­tive changes which would al­low the state to im­pose sanc­tions on the fam­i­lies of at­tack­ers.

In ad­di­tion, se­cu­rity of­fi­cials have claimed that the cur­rent route of the Jerusalem sec­tion of the se­cu­rity bar­rier is one of the causes of the ter­ror es­ca­la­tion among res­i­dents of East Jerusalem, since it cuts them off from the cap­i­tal and re­in­forces their con­nec­tion with Pales­tini­ans in the West Bank.

Last week, a 19-year-old res­i­dent of the East Jerusalem neigh­bour­hood of Ja­bel Mukhabar rammed his car into a group of sol­diers near the Old City, wound­ing 17. The at­tack fol­lowed two bull­dozer at­tacks in the space of two weeks in Jerusalem in July which killed three peo­ple.

Ac­cord­ing to the Shin Bet, since the beginning of the year, over 250 res­i­dents of East Jerusalem have been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of ter­ror, in com­par­i­son to 37 in 2007 and a mere nine in 2005. Since the beginning of the year, 13 Is­raelis have been killed in ter­ror at­tacks in Jerusalem.

Most Arabs in East Jerusalem are not Is­raeli cit­i­zens but have the sta­tus of “per­ma­nent res­i­dents”, al­low­ing them to vote in mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions, en­joy so­cial-se­cu­rity ben­e­fits and state health­care. They carry blue Is­raeli iden­tity cards which grant them the right to travel freely be­tween the West Bank and Is­rael.

Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials said that while it was im­pos­si­ble to stop lone at­tack­ers, it was pos­si­ble to de­ter ad­di­tional at­tacks in the fu­ture.

Fol­low­ing the most re­cent at­tack, De­fence Min­is­ter Ehud Barak in­sisted: “Im­me­di­ate action is re­quired on the le­gal level to cut the time it takes to re­ceive ap­proval to de­mol­ish ter­ror­ists’ homes. This will con­trib­ute to de­ter­ring po­ten­tial ter­ror­ists.”

T h e r e f o r e , the Shin Bet is rec­om­mend­ing that the gov­ern­ment pass leg­is­la­tion which will al­low the state to im­pose fi­nan­cial sanc­tions on fam­i­lies of ter­ror­ists and take away their so­cial-se­cu­rity ben­e­fits.

The agency is also rec­om­mend­ing de­mol­ish­ing the homes of ter­ror­ists, even though an IDF in­quiry con­cluded sev­eral years ago that the pol­icy was in­ef­fec­tive when used in the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries.

“The bar­rier is par­tially re­spon­si­ble for the ter­ror in­crease since vil­lages like Shuafat and oth­ers are now cut off from Jerusalem and open to the West Bank,” a se­nior se­cu­rity source ex­plained. “This al­lows Pales­tinian ter­ror el­e­ments from the West Bank to en­ter the vil­lage freely and in­flu­ence the Arab res­i­dents.”

In ad­di­tion to Shuafat, other ar­eas of East Jerusalem that are cut off by the se­cu­rity bar­rier in­clude Abu Dis, Is­si­wayia and Azariyeh.

The Shin Bet says it has also no­ticed an in­crease in re­li­gious ac­tiv­ity in East Jerusalem, which the agency claims is caus­ing a “rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion” among lo­cal res­i­dents.

In ad­di­tion, the lack of mu­nic­i­pal and po­lice ac­tiv­ity in the neigh­bour­hoods and vil­lages has cre­ated a “vacuum” in gov­er­nance in East Jerusalem which con­trib­utes to the rise in ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­ity.

PHOTO: AP

A rel­a­tive holds up a photo of Kasem Mu­grabi, last week’s at­tacker

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