In Israel, funerals have been held for the victims of the Holocaust Day terror attack at a synagogue in East Jerusalem.
Friday’s shooting outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem on the Jewish Sabbath left seven Israelis dead and three wounded before the gunman was killed by police. It was the deadliest attack on Israelis in 15 years.
Authorities released the names of four of the victims. Among them was 14-year-old Asher Natan; Eli Mizrahi, 48, and his wife Natali, 45; and Rafael Ben Eliyahu, 56. Funerals for some of the victims were scheduled for Saturday night.
Mourners lit memorial candles near the synagogue on Saturday night, and as a sign of the charged atmosphere, a mob attacked an Israeli TV crew that came to the area, chanting “leftists go home.”
In response to the shooting, Israeli police stepped up activities throughout East Jerusalem and said they had arrested 42 people, including family members, associated with the shooter.
It comes as Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday announced a series of punitive measures against the Palestinians, including plans to strengthen Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in response to a pair of shootings that left seven Israelis and injured five others.
Relatives and friends carry the body of 14-year-old Asher Natan, a shooting victim in East Jerusalem
Family and friends of Eli and Natali Mizrahi, who were killed in a Jerusalem shooting, mourn at their funeral
The announcement threw a cloud over a visit next week from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and threatened to further escalate tensions after one of the bloodiest months in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in years.
Netanyahu’s security cabinet, which is filled by hardline politicians aligned with the West Bank settlement movement, approved the measures in the wake of a pair of shootings, including an attack outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem on Friday night that left seven people dead. came to life.
Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet agreed to seal off the attacker’s home immediately before demolition. It also plans to withdraw Social Security benefits for the attackers’ families, make it easier for Israelis to obtain gun permits and step up efforts to collect illegal guns.
The announcement said Israel would take new steps this week to “strengthen settlements” in response to public Palestinian celebrations over the attack. It gave no further details.
There was no immediate response from Washington. The Biden administration, which condemned the shooting, opposes settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank – land sought by Palestinians for a future state. The topic will likely be high on the agenda as Blinken arrives Monday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Relatives and friends mourn during the funeral of 14-year-old Asher Natan
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir investigate the crime scene
The weekend shootings followed a deadly Israeli raid on the West Bank on Thursday that left nine Palestinians dead, most of them militants. In response, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a barrage of rockets at Israel, triggering a series of Israeli airstrikes in response. A total of 32 Palestinians have been killed in fighting this month.
Early Sunday morning, the Israeli army said guards in the West Bank settlement of Kedumim shot a Palestinian armed with a handgun and released a photo of what they believe was the weapon. There were no further details about the incident or the condition of the alleged attacker.
It remains unclear whether the Israeli steps will be effective. The assailants of the weekend shootings, including a 13-year-old boy, both appear to have acted alone and are not part of any organized militant groups.
In addition, Netanyahu could face pressure from members of his government, a collection of religious and ultra-nationalist politicians, to take even harder action. Such moves could lead to more violence and potentially drag the Hamas militant group into Gaza.
“If it were even possible to put this violent genie back in the bottle, if only for a short time, it would require the reinforcement and proper deployment of troops – and the careful management of the crisis without overdoing it.” guided by the widespread calls for vengeance,” Amos wrote. Harel, defense commentator for Haaretz newspaper.
Yesterday, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy opened fire elsewhere in East Jerusalem, wounding an Israeli man and his son, ages 47 and 23, paramedics said. Both were fully conscious and in moderate to serious condition in hospital, medics added.
When police rushed to the scene, two passersby with licensed guns shot and overpowered the 13-year-old attacker, police said. Police confiscated his gun and took the injured teen to a hospital.
A Palestinian gunman shot and killed seven people on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and another shooting in the city on Saturday injured two people
Friday’s attack outside a synagogue was the deadliest in the Jerusalem area since 2008
Blinken is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday. The Biden administration condemned Friday night’s shooting and called for calm on all sides, but gave few details on how it expects to promote these targets.
The attacks are a crucial test for Israel’s new far-right government.
The two Palestinian attackers behind the Friday and Saturday shootings were from East Jerusalem.
Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have permanent residency status, which allows them to work and move freely throughout Israel, but they suffer from substandard public services and are barred from voting in national elections.
Residence rights can be withdrawn if a Palestinian is found to be living outside the city for a longer period of time or in certain security matters.
Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Middle East War.
The Palestinians are seeking all three areas for a future independent state. Israel annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and considers the entire city its undivided capital.
Israel’s new fiery National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has presented himself as an enforcer of law and order and made headlines for his pledges to take even stronger action against the Palestinians.
Speaking to reporters at a hospital treating victims, Ben-Gvir said he wanted the house of the gunman in Friday’s attack sealed off immediately as a punitive measure and slammed Israel’s attorney general for his command delayed.
Overhauling Israel’s legal system, including the attorney general’s office, is at the top of the new administration’s agenda, which says unelected judges and jurists have overwhelming powers.
The divisive issue has sparked weekly protests from Israelis who say the sweeping proposed changes would weaken the Supreme Court and undermine democracy.
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the central city of Tel Aviv on Saturday evening for another protest. Some raised banners describing Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir as “a threat to world peace.”
The demonstrators also held a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Jerusalem shooting.
Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders in the West Bank upheld their decision to end security coordination with Israel in protest of the deadly Jenin raid.
Following a meeting led by President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority called on the international community and the US administration to force Israel to halt its raids on the West Bank.
Last year, as the Israeli army intensified its arrest raids after a series of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israel, at least 150 Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. It was the highest annual death toll in more than a decade and a half. More than 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks on Israelis last year, according to Israeli figures.
Israel says most of the dead were militants. But young people who protested against the raids and others who were not involved in the confrontations have also been killed.