Israel revokes 83,000 Ramadan travel permits in the wake of Tel Aviv shootings

Israel announced it would revoke 83,000 entry permits for Palestinians traveling to visit family during Ramadan, after a shooting in Tel Aviv Wednesday night left four dead and several injured. The two gunmen involved were identified as Palestinians from the same family from the town of Yatta, south of the city of Hebron in the West Bank.

All permits for Ramadan, especially permits for family visits from Judea and Samaria to Israel, are frozen.

The shooting was the deadliest incident in eight months, coming after a lull in the violence that erupted in October of last year with a series of deadly stabbing attacks across Israel and the occupied territories. Two women and two men were killed in Wednesday night’s attack, and six others were wounded. One attacker was shot and wounded, the other apprehended. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.In response to the shooting, the Israeli defense ministry noted that “all permits for Ramadan, especially permits for family visits from Judea and Samaria to Israel, are frozen.” Special Ramadan permits were also suspended for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to visit relatives in Israel, travel abroad and attend prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The ministry also announced it would send hundreds of additional troops to the West Bank in order to calm tensions, including troops which have already surrounded Yatta, the hometown of the two attackers. The Israeli army has begun plans to demolish the family home of at least one of the attackers, a tactic that has been criticized by human rights groups as collective punishment.Ramadan travel permits are considered a goodwill gesture towards Palestinians, and Israel has the right to unilaterally grant or revoke them. This year, the Israeli government issued far more permits than usual in an attempt to ease restrictions and appear more lenient. The attack, however, has reversed the fortunes of the 83,000 Palestinians hoping to visit relatives during the holy month.

(Source / 09.06.2016)

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives.

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