In what is being described as a most “substantial” move on the ground in years, the Israeli military has cordoned off the entire metro area of the West Bank city of Hebron, putting some 700,000 people under a state of military blockade after a pair of Israelis were reported killed in terror attacks in the past 48 hours.
That’s just the first step in what appears to be a series of broad bellicose steps by Israel’s far-right government, with the Security Cabinet planning to meet on Saturday to discuss more measures. In addition, Israel announced the intention to confiscate an unspecified amount of Palestinian tax money.
Israel in obliged by international agreement to collect some taxes on behalf of the Palestinians, and has often used tensions in the West Bank as a pretext to seize some, or at times all, of the collected taxes. Such moves have been criticized as particularly risky, tending to weaken the Palestinian Authority’s ability to maintain security and increasing unrest.
Though it’s unclear what else might be coming in this latest round of actions from the Israeli Security Cabinet, several ministers have gone on record demanding more demolitions and the seizure of more Palestinian land for Israeli settlements, so that is likely to be among the measures debated.