Friday, October 30, 2020

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

By Lili Martinez - June 09, 2016
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [permits] [al-Aqsa] [Ramadan]

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.

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