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Israeli forces seal hometown of Palestinian attacker, declare village-wide curfew

Sept. 26, 2017 6:23 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 27, 2017 1:21 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces placed the village of Beit Surik under a military lockdown on Tuesday following a deadly shooting attack carried out by a village resident, with all passages and crossings around the village blockaded by the Israeli army and a village-wide curfew being announced by Israeli forces.

Earlier on Tuesday, 37-year-old Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal carried out a shooting attack outside of Israel’s illegal Har Adar settlement near Beit Surik -- the attacker's hometown -- in the occupied West Bank’s Jerusalem district, leaving an Israeli border police officer and two Israeli security guards killed, while the security coordinator of the settlement was also seriously injured during the attack.

Jamal was shot dead on the scene following an exchange of fire amid the attack.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that all crossings and passages around the village have been sealed, and that Palestinians were only permitted passage after undergoing security checks or for humanitarian reasons. The nearby village of Beit Iksa was also sealed following the attack, the spokesperson said.
Israeli forces had raided the village, including Jamal’s home, when they detained his brother Medhat, according to locals. Locals reported that Israeli forces had destroyed the family's furniture and other items during the raid. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the raids in the village.

Wafa spoke with Mutassem Qandeel, a member of the village council, who said that Israeli forces had raided the village at 7 a.m. following the attack and sealed all entrances, while forcing shops to close and announcing a curfew for village residents.

Israeli forces had also forced a United Nations health clinic to close during the raid, Qandeel added.
Israeli authorities routinely seal entire villages following Palestinian attacks on Israelis, which rights groups have condemned as a form of “collective punishment.” Israeli authorities also advance other punitive measures following attacks, including demolishing the family home of alleged or actual attackers, detaining family members, and withholding the remains of slain Palestinians from relatives.

Israeli news daily Haaretz reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had confirmed that the home of Jamal would be punitively demolished, in a widely condemned Israeli policy, and that the Israeli work permits of Jamal's extended family would be revoked.

Following the attack, Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galan threatened to deport Jamal's entire family to Syria, saying that "If you want to kill Israeli kids, we will deport you, not to Gaza, but to Syria. You are not allowed to stay here." Rights groups have noted that such policies focused on punishing the families of actual or alleged attackers are a clear violation of international law, as Jamal's family has not committed any crime.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman blamed the attack on Palestinian Authority (PA) incitement.

“The Palestinian Authority continues to incite to murder Jews and glorify and praise murderers. This is the main reason for the atmosphere of incitement in the media and social networks that leads to terrorist attacks against the citizens of Israel,” Lieberman reportedly said.

However, Munir al-Jaghoub, a Fatah official, placed blame on Israel's half-century occupation of the Palestinian territory as the main driver of the attack. "Israel alone is responsible for Palestinian reactions to the crimes of the occupation, and if it continues its aggressions against the Palestinian people," he said.

He added that Israel “must be well aware of the consequences of its continued push towards violence, the policy of house demolitions, the forced displacement of Jerusalemites, and the successive incursions of settlers to Al Aqsa Mosque compound.”

Al-Jaghoub said that if Israelis believed in peace they would end “the violence and daily humiliation of Palestinians” and cease its routine violation of international laws and agreements, which has led to the continuation of illegal Israeli settlement expansions on Palestinian territory.

According to Ma'an documentation, Jamal became the 56th Palestinian to have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of the year during attacks, alleged attacks, in clashes, or during deadly detention raids.

Since the beginning of 2017, 16 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, almost all of whom were uniformed Israeli officers or Israelis living on Israeli settlements in violation of international law.

Palestinians have often cited the daily frustrations and routine Israeli military violence imposed by Israel's nearly half century occupation of the Palestinian territory as main drivers for actual political attacks on Israelis.
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