Collective Punishment: Israel Seals West Bank, Imposes Travel Bans on Palestinians

83,000 Travel Permits Revoked After Tel Aviv Shooting

Hundreds of additional Israeli troops entered the occupied West Bank today, and it was announced that the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip are to be fully sealed through Monday. The Palestinian town of Yatta, near Hebron, has been totally surrounded and declared a “military zone,” with no one allowed in or out.

This was just the start of a harsh crackdown on all Palestinians that is being imposed in the wake of yesterday’s Tel Aviv shooting, which also saw the Ramadan travel permits of 83,000 Palestinians immediately and irreversibly revoked.

All Gaza residents who had permission to visit the al-Aqsa Mosque for Ramadan had that permission cancelled, and every Palestinian who had a permit to visit family in Israel lost it. Israeli officials have suggested Friday worshiping at al-Aqsa won’t be interrupted, though food deliveries for the Ramadan fast have been stopped.

With the two attackers already arrested at the scene of the shooting, Israel’s options for actually retaliating against the perpetrators seem limited, and with MPs already openly complaining that police arrested the two rather than summarily executing them on the spot, the far-right government’s thirst for revenge is far from sated.

The crackdowns seen today are probably not the “real” retaliation so much as the prelude to it, as a full closure of the West Bank and mass revocation of permits is likely to fuel public protests, which will immediately be re-branded as “Arab riots,” and then used as a pretext for a more bloody crackdown on dissent that can make everyone in the far-right government feel they’ve taken “strong measures.”

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of