Israel sets up checkpoints in eastern Jerusalem, calls up reservists


JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel set up checkpoints in eastern Jerusalem and called up 1,400 Border Police reservists in its bid to quell the recent surge in Palestinian terrorist attacks.

The Security Cabinet approved the new measures at 1 a.m. Oct. 14, following 8 1/2 hours of discussion.

Also among the measures approved: no new construction will be permitted at the site where a terrorist’s home has been demolished; the property of attackers will be confiscated; and 300 additional security guards will be recruited for public transportation in Jerusalem.

The Security Cabinet also approved a request by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to refuse to return the bodies of Palestinian attackers killed by security personnel in order to avoid rioting and demonstrations at their funerals.

On the same day, 850 Border Police reserve officers went on duty, The Jerusalem Post reported. Also, six Israeli army companies deployed in major cities hit by terror attacks to assist the police, who began setting up checkpoints from Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem to the rest of the city.

Human Rights Watch decried the Security Cabinet’s decisions.

“The recent spate of attacks on Israeli civilians would present a challenge for any police force,” said Sari Bashi, Israel/Palestine country director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “But exacerbating the punitive policy of home demolitions is an unlawful and ill-considered response.”

She added: “Locking down east Jerusalem neighborhoods will infringe upon the freedom of movement of all Palestinian residents rather than being a narrowly tailored response to a specific concern.  The checkpoints are a recipe for harassment and abuse.”