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Israel seals family home of Palestinian shooter as Netanyahu starts crackdown

Israel has sealed off the family home of 21-year-old Khayri Alqam, a Palestinian who killed seven people on Friday in east Jerusalem. Authorities are expected to later demolish the building. 

The move comes after Benjamin Netanyahu’s government announced measures to revoke some of the rights of relatives of Palestinians who carry out attacks on Israelis.

Israel claims that the demolitions of the family homes of Palestinians have a deterrent effect, but critics denounce it as collective punishment, leaving families homeless.

Dani Shenhar, a member of the human rights organization HaMoked, said the sealing of homes demonstrated the government’s “desire for revenge against families.”

He argued the measure was “taken in total disregard of the rule of law.” And that HaMoked will protest the move to the country’s attorney general.

Israeli authorities also plan to seal off the family home of a 13-year-old who opened fire in East Jerusalem on Saturday, wounding an Israeli man and his son.

The government’s other measures include revoking the social security rights of “families of terrorists who support terrorism,” strengthening settlements in the occupied West Bank and sending additional troops into the West Bank.

On Sunday, Netanyahu said his cabinet was also considering revoking the Israeli ID cards of relatives of the attackers. And he announced plans to make it easier for Israelis to carry guns, arguing the move would reduce violence. “We have seen, time and again … that heroic, armed and trained civilians save lives,” he said.

The controversial moves come as fears grow that the deadliest period of unrest for years in Jerusalem and the West Bank could escalate. Since the beginning of the year, 34 Palestinians, 6 Israeli civilians and a Ukrainian woman have been killed.

The shootings on Friday and Saturday followed a deadly Israeli raid in the West Bank that killed nine Palestinians on Thursday.

On Sunday morning, security guards killed an 18-year-old Palestinian, Ali Ahmad Salmane, near the Israeli settlement of Kedumim in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The Israeli military claimed he was armed.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Jerusalem and Ramallah later this week to discuss de-escalation measures.

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