Israel’s security cabinet approves measures against suspected attackers

In the wake of last week’s attacks at the Jerusalem gay pride march and against a Palestinian family in the West Bank, Israel’s security cabinet took decisive action yesterday, approving the application of administrative detention towards Jewish terrorists.

Politicians from across the political spectrum were united last week in their utter condemnation of the two attacks, describing the crimes unequivocally as “terrorism.” On Thursday afternoon, an ultra-Orthodox man stabbed six participants at the Jerusalem gay pride march. One of the victims, a 16-year-old girl died yesterday from her wounds. Meanwhile, an 18-month-old Palestinian baby died in an arson attack on the family home in the West Bank overnight Friday. The parents and four-year-old brother remain hospitalised in Israel. Racist graffiti was found at the scene, indicating that it was a so-called “Price Tag” attack, perpetrated by extremist Jewish Israelis opposed to curbs on settlement building.

On Saturday, as an initial measure, Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the Shin Bet internal security agency that he supports the administrative detention of Jewish Israeli terrorists. The anti-terror measure allows the security services to hold a suspect without charge or trial with court approval, even if there isn’t yet enough evidence to bring charges. The measure can be renewed after six months and has been applied until now only to Palestinian terror suspects.

Yesterday, the security cabinet approved Ya’alon’s position. A statement reiterated that, “The cabinet sees the arson and murder in the village of Duma [where the Palestinian baby was killed] as terrorism.” It continued to explain that the security cabinet “directs the security agencies to take all necessary steps to apprehend those responsible and prevent similar acts … including administrative detention where appropriate, with the approval of the Attorney General.”

Meanwhile, thousands of Israelis joined political leaders including President Reuven Rivlin at rallies in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and elsewhere over the weekend, to condemn last week’s violence.

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