Israel has begun to implement a series of draconian measures after a Palestinian ran a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers at the East Talpiot settlement near Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, killing four and injuring 13. The Palestinian man, identified as Fadi Ahmad Hamdan al-Qunbar, 28, was shot dead at the scene.
Security camera footage of the incident shows a truck driving into approximately a dozen people in Israeli military uniform standing next to a bus, and then backing up and and driving towards the group before it slows to a halt:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the scene of the attack the same day, stated, “We know the identity of the attacker. All signs point to the attacker being a supporter of the Islamic State.”
Netanyahu did not support his claims with evidence, but referred to recent vehicle ramming attacks in Europe.
The Israeli army meanwhile put out a video montage of footage from ramming attacks in France, Germany and the US and similar attacks waged by Palestinians.
Israel has long sought to conflate Palestinian resistance with attacks in Europe and the US to obscure its decades-long military occupation and Palestinian aspirations for self-determination.
Israel and its supporters also insist that any attack by Palestinians be viewed as terrorism, despite the fact that international law has long recognized their right to resist against military occupation.
Israeli lawmaker Amir Ohana said a local tour guide “shot the terrorist and prevented further casualties. He joins a long line of citizens who carried weapons and thwarted attacks in the recent wave.” Orhana was referring to the new phase of attacks by individual Palestinians acting independently of armed groups that began in late 2015.
A tour guide who was accompanying the soldiers on “an educational tour of Jerusalem” on Sunday told Israel Radio that both civilians and soldiers shot at the truck.
On Sunday, Netanyahu’s government adopted a measure to use administrative detention orders – imprisonment without charge or trial – against people suspected of affiliation with Islamic State.
The tactic is widely used against Palestinians living under military occupation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with Israel holding more than 700 Palestinians under administrative detention orders in October 2016.
The Israeli government approved a series of measures to collectively punish al-Qunbar’s family, including demolishing their home as soon as possible, rejecting their family unification requests, and withholding al-Qunbar’s body.
Such reprisals have been carried out against other Jerusalem families whose relatives carried out attacks or are suspected of carrying out attacks since late 2015.
On Sunday, Israeli forces raided al-Qunbar’s neighborhood in the Jabal al-Mukabbir area of Jerusalem and detained at least five of his relatives, the Ma’an News Agency reported.
Ma’an interviewed al-Qunbar’s sister, who said Israeli forces raided al-Qunbar’s home, as well as those of his brothers and parents. His sisters were interrogated and summoned for further questioning.
Al-Qunbar’s sister Shadia, who has been ordered to two days of house arrest, said her slain brother was a father of four, and had no political affiliation and had not been previously detained.
On Monday, an Israeli court extended the detention of al-Qunbar’s brothers Munthir and Muhammad and his cousin Muhammad Omran al-Qunbar.
“We don’t know what happened with Fadi,” al-Qunbar’s sister said. “He called his wife [before the attack] and told her to prepare lunch.”
On Monday, Israel’s deputy foreign minister called for full control of East Jerusalem’s education system – Israeli officials routinely claim that alleged incitement in Palestinian schools, rather than the actions of Israel’s occupation forces, provoke Palestinian violence.
Israel’s housing minister, a former military general, has called for al-Qunbar’s family to be expelled to Syria, and for his relatives to be denied national insurance benefits.
Israeli police prevented al-Qunbar’s family from putting up a mourning tent to receive condolence visits.
“Dozens of Israeli settlers meanwhile launched a march under the protection of Israeli forces near Jabal al-Mukabbir on Sunday evening, chanting anti-Palestinian slurs, according to locals,” the Ma’an News Agency reported.
A police spokesperson told Ma’an that officers dispersed a protest organized by Lehava, an Israeli government-funded extremist group that campaigns against miscegenation between Jewish women and Palestinian men.
On Monday, police blockaded Jabal al-Mukabbir and were checking each car driving out of the area, Haaretz added.
One of the four soldiers killed, Erez Orbach, 20, held US citizenship.
Israel’s mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat stated that “Unfortunately there is no limit to the cruelty of the terrorists who stop at nothing to murder Jews and disrupt life in Israel’s capital.”
However, a disrupted life is the norm for Palestinians living in Jerusalem’s occupied eastern sector.
In the first week of 2017, Israeli occupation authorities in Jerusalem demolished two homes belonging to Palestinians, part of a surge in demolitions that left 151 Palestinians homeless across the West Bank in a few days.
Israeli forces regularly raid Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and in some areas, settler groups take over homes and push out their Palestinian residents.
A Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem was shot dead last month when Israeli forces raided the Kufr Aqab neighborhood to demolish a house belonging to a Palestinian slain after he killed two Israelis in the city last October.
A youth was killed during a crackdown on Palestinians in the city following the October attack.