The terrorist shootings that took place in Jerusalem on Friday and Saturday have sent shockwaves through the nation of Israel. In response to the horrific events, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to take steps to strengthen security and deter future attacks.
Netanyahu’s measures involve revoking national insurance rights and additional benefits for the families of terrorists, as well as submitting draft legislation that could revoke their Israeli identity cards and residency. He is also expediting firearm licensing so that more citizens can carry weapons, while military and police units are reinforced with expanded arrests aimed at collecting illegal weapons.
Meanwhile, the family home of the gunman responsible for one of these attacks was sealed off by police forces after evacuating its occupants; he was identified as a 21-year-old resident from East Jerusalem who appeared to have acted alone.
The prime minister has faced criticism for his decision to restrict the civil liberties of Palestinians living in Israel, but he insists that it is necessary given the severity of this attack. “These are difficult measures,” said Netanyahu in a public address. “But we must do it in order to ensure our security.”
Netanyahu’s tough approach is likely to be unpopular among some segments of society, yet most Israelis understand the need for increased security following such a shocking event. Indeed, these measures may be required if similar incidents are to be avoided in future; however, they could also undermine peace efforts if they are seen as heavy-handed or punitive towards Palestinians living in Israel.
Ultimately, only time will tell whether Netanyahu’s tactics will prove effective at preventing further attacks or hamper any diplomatic efforts between Israel and Palestine.