In a move Palestinians are calling “collective punishment,” Israel has revoked the permits, approved for the month of Ramadan, of some 200,000 Palestinians to enter Israel in response to an attack on an Israeli police officer in Jerusalem Friday.
The Israeli defense body COGAT announced the decision Sunday, shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that preparations to destroy the homes of the three Palestinian assailants were underway.
Ma’an, a Palestinian news outlet, reported that Israeli police have also been conducting physical searches on Palestinians, forcing those with West Bank IDs to board special buses back to the West Bank after they are rounded up and detained.
On Saturday, nearly 350 Palestinians from the West Bank were sent back, according to Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri.
From Palestine, mourning all lives lost and feeling the brutality of collective punishment. https://t.co/N7NOkCOx1C— ISM Palestine (@ISMPalestine) June 17, 2017
The day before, Israeli forces had raided all the shops in the Jerusalem area, forcing them to shut down during Iftar time, when Muslims observing Ramadan break their fast.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Friday night attack against the Israeli police officer, but both Hamas and People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that the three attackers were members of their organizations and slammed the Islamic State group for trying to undermine their anti-occupation efforts.
Israel previously had allowed permits for Palestinians from the West Bank to make family visits and had also given access for 100 Gaza residents to attend prayers at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.
COGAT said while the visiting permits were canceled, the prayer permits remained.
This isn’t the first time Israel has inflicted what has been dubbed collective punishment on Palestinians. Last year, after a shooting attack in Tel Aviv in June 2016, Israel imposed a number of punitive measures across the occupied Palestinian territories, which the U.N. condemned as collective punishment.