Saturday 18 November 2017

Israeli PM threatens residency rights of the Palestinians

Israeli soldiers evacuate a wounded Palestinian in Hebron yesterday.
Israeli soldiers evacuate a wounded Palestinian in Hebron yesterday.

Josef Federman in Tel Aviv

ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a review of the status of certain Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.

The move came as a Palestinian who tried to stab an Israeli soldier near a sensitive holy site in the West Bank city of Hebron was shot, the Israeli army said.

The army would not elaborate on the condition of the Palestinian, but the soldier was unharmed.

The army said the attack took place near a site known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque, the traditional burial spot of the biblical Abraham and his family.

Earlier, the Israeli military said a Palestinian stabbed and severely wounded an Israeli soldier near Hebron, before being shot and killed.

There have been almost daily Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, against Israeli civilians and security forces in recent weeks.

Ten Israelis have been killed in the Palestinian attacks, while 51 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 30 who were said by Israel to be attackers and the rest in clashes.

Meanwhile, an Israeli official said that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered a "review" of the status of certain Palestinian neighbourhoods of east Jerusalem.

The move could affect the residency rights of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The vast majority of the city's Palestinians hold residency rights, but not citizenship. Stripping them of residency would affect their ability to work and travel inside Israel, and prevent them from access to health care and social services. The very prospect has unnerved Palestinians in the city.

The review comes after weeks of Israeli-Palestinian violence, much of it concentrated in east Jerusalem, the section of the city claimed by the Palestinians for their future capital. Many of the Palestinian attackers involved in deadly assaults came from east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Any move to change the status of the city's Palestinians would threaten unleashing new unrest and draw international condemnations.

The current round of violence began last month with clashes at Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site, a hilltop compound in the Old City that is revered by Jews and Muslims.

Irish Independent

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