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Knesset to pass law to revoke citizenship of, expel terrorists

The prospective move comes after three Israelis were killed in a car-ramming attack in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Feb. 12, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Feb. 12, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Israel’s governing coalition will this week pass legislation in the Knesset to strip the citizenship of terrorists and expel them from the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

The prime minister’s declaration comes after 6-year-old Yaakov Israel Paley and 20-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman were killed on Friday when they were run over by an Arab Israeli driver in Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood. Eight-year-old Asher Menachem Paley, Yaakov’s brother, died over Shabbat from wounds sustained in the attack. Three others were injured and are currently being treated at hospitals.

“This week, we will pass in the Knesset the proposal of MK Ofir Katz to revoke the citizenship of terrorists and expel them. I say it again because this is our policy: A proper response to terrorism is to strike at it forcefully and further deepen our roots in our land,” said Netanyahu at the weekly Cabinet meeting.

“Therefore, the Security Cabinet will convene today to prepare for a more wide-ranging operation [against] those who carry out terrorism, and their supporters, in eastern Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, while avoiding—as much as possible—harm to those who are not involved,” he added.

Among the measures being considered are seizing assets belonging to the families of terrorists, erecting barriers against vehicles at bus stops and additional security checkpoints between predominantly Arab and Jewish neighborhoods in the capital, and a general crackdown on online incitement.

Following Friday’s attack, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called for a major operation in eastern Jerusalem in the vein of the IDF’s 2002 “Operation Defensive Shield,” which was launched during the Second Intifada to uproot terrorist infrastructure in Palestinian urban areas across Judea and Samaria.

However, a senior government official said that Ben-Gvir lacked the authority to approve such a decision, which would need to be made by the Security Cabinet.

“In recent days we have once again seen the immense difference between the brutality of our enemies and the humanity of our people. Our enemies murder young children in Jerusalem and celebrate their murder while we are rescuing young children in Türkiye and praising their rescue,” said Netanyahu in reference to the IDF’s ongoing mission in Turkey that has saved the lives of 19 people so far following last week’s devastating earthquakes.

“We all pray for the well-being of those who were wounded, including the father of Yaakov and Asher, who remains hospitalized. I commend the action of the police officers who eliminated the terrorist at the scene and thereby prevented an even worse attack,” said the premier.

Terrorist Hussein Karaka, 31, a resident of the Issawiya neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, was shot and killed during the attack.

Karaka’s social media accounts include posts hailing terrorism against Israelis, for example, a Facebook post last August praising Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhaleh.

Police on Sunday morning sealed the home of Karaka’s parents in eastern Jerusalem’s A-Tur neighborhood on the Mount of Olives.

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