Israel prepares to demolish the family home of a Palestinian attacker | News about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Israel has sealed off the family home of a Palestinian who killed seven Israelis on Friday as part of a crackdown on relatives.

Israel has sealed off the home of a Palestinian who killed seven people outside a synagogue in occupied East Jerusalem, in a preliminary step before the building’s expected demolition.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet has taken steps toward approving other punitive measures against the families of the Palestinian attackers, including potentially stripping them of their citizenship rights and deporting them, and promising to speed up the issuance of gun permits to Israeli citizens to shoot Palestinians.

Israel’s moves, along with escalating violence that has killed 34 Palestinians this month alone, further raised tensions after United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the region. Blinken’s hard-hitting diplomatic act, largely aimed at restoring peace, begins on Monday after he wraps up a brief visit to Egypt.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli police sealed off the home of Palestinian Khairy Alqam, 21, in occupied East Jerusalem, who killed seven people and wounded three outside a synagogue on Friday night. Alqam was killed in a shootout with Israeli officers.

Israeli police released footage of military engineers welding metal panels over the windows of Alqam’s family home and welding the front door.

“We sealed the home of the terrorist who carried out the terrible attack in Jerusalem and his home will be demolished,” Netanyahu told his cabinet.

“We are not looking for escalation, but we are ready for any scenario. Our response to terrorism is a heavy hand and a strong, swift and precise response.”

The planned demolition is one of a series of punitive steps, including plans to “fortify” settlements in the occupied West Bank, that Israel has announced in the wake of recent shootings.

Netanyahu’s office also said the government would seal the family home of the 13-year-old Palestinian boy who shot dead two Israelis on Saturday. Both of the boy’s victims were seriously wounded.

Israel routinely demolishes the homes of Palestinians who kill Israelis, a move long condemned by human rights groups as collective punishment.

Dani Shenhar, a legal expert at the Israeli human rights group HaMoked, said the overnight closure of Alqam’s house showed the government’s desire to “revenge the families”.

The measure was implemented “with complete disregard for the rule of law,” he said, adding that HaMoked would file a protest with Israel’s attorney general.

Netanyahu’s office also said it was moving ahead with plans that could strip the Palestinian attackers’ families of residency and citizenship rights and potentially deport them to the occupied West Bank.

The announced punitive measures are in line with the proposals of Netanyahu’s far-right political partners, whose support enabled him to return to power in late December.

Raids and shootings

The weekend shooting followed a deadly Israeli attack in the occupied West Bank on Thursday that killed 10 Palestinians, mostly armed fighters. In response, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at Israel, prompting a series of Israeli airstrikes in response.

The deaths of two more Palestinians on Sunday brought the number of Palestinian casualties from fighting this month to 34.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said an 18-year-old Palestinian died on Sunday after being shot by an Israeli security guard near the settlement of Kedumim in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli military said a settlement security guard saw Karam Ali Ahmad Salman armed with a gun outside the settlement and shot him.

The ministry also confirmed the death of a 24-year-old Palestinian, Omar al-Saadi, who was wounded Thursday in a deadly Israeli attack on a refugee camp in Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

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