Israeli authorities on Friday rescinded 250,000 Israel entry permits from Palestinians hours after a deadly attack in Jerusalem left four dead and several injured, a spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Mondoweiss.
Three Palestinians were shot dead after killing an Israeli police officer and injuring several others in an attack outside of the Damascus Gate on Friday evening. Following the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior members of his cabinet, as well as top security officials met in a conference call and decided that Israeli authorities would be instructed to rescind all weekday holiday permits from Palestinians to enter Israel.
The COGAT spokesperson said that permits granted to Palestinians for Friday visits to Al Aqsa mosque were not included in the 250,000 permits that were canceled.
Aida Touma-Suleiman, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Knesset’s Joint List, told Mondoweiss that she considered the revocations a form of “collective punishment” and said she planned to introduce a suggestion to have a “special discussion on the issue.” However, it will be up to the presidency of the Knesset to authorize the movement.
“This is an obvious form of collective punishment, it is not acceptable — all those who are using these permits to meet with their families and to be with them during Ramadan are doing so during the month, because most of the year they are not able to do so,” Touma-Suleiman said. “To enact a punishment against all the Palestinian people for something that was done by individuals is exactly the definition of collective punishment and is not acceptable.”
On Saturday Israeli police forces carried out an “operations taking place throughout Jerusalem’s neighborhoods searching for Palestinians that entered illegally,” Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said.
According to Rosenfeld, 350 Palestinians were arrested before sundown on Saturday alone.
In addition, Israeli forces closed off Deir Abu-Mash’al, the Ramallah-area village where the three Palestinians who carried out Friday’s attack were from. The nearly 4,000 residents of the village are barred from entering or leaving the village until further notice from Israeli authorities.
Israeli authorities also revoked the permits of family members of the three Palestinians who committed the attack, including long term work permits. Family members also reported that they feared Israeli authorities might attempt to demolish their homes in retribution, a policy often carried out after attacks.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the slain attackers as Adel Hasan Ahmad Ankoush,18; Baraa Ibrahim Salih Taha, 18; and Osama Ahmad Dahdouh, 19.
While the Islamic State took credit for the attack, the group’s statement misidentified the three, though it is possible the group used IS aliases when identifying the attacker as their own. However, Hamas condemned IS’s claim, stating that the three Palestinians were operatives of Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, both of which groups also took credit for the attack.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned the attack, which he called a “terrorist act” that must be “clearly condemned.” Mladenov made no mention of the hundreds of thousands of permits rescinded or the thousands of people in Deir Abu-Mash’al on lockdown.
In 2016 Israeli authorities rescinded the permits of 83,000 Palestinians during Ramadan after four Israelis were killed and 16 wounded in a Tel Aviv shooting spree carried out by two Palestinians from the West Bank. The move last year was decried by rights groups as a form of collective punishment.