Kafe Knesset for September 26

The tragic news of the Har Adar terror attack took over the agenda of the weekly cabinet meeting, which was postponed from Sunday and convened this morning. The traditional wave of political reactions and calls for punitive measures focused this time on revoking work permits for Palestinians, as the terrorist who stabbed the three Border Policeman to death had a permanent work permit. Economy Minister Eli Cohen said that all work permits should be suspended until after the holiday season, and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said the attack will have “grave consequences on employing Palestinians and easing movement restrictions.”

Netanyahu, in his opening statements, stopped short of announcing any collective punishment for now, announcing three immediate steps in response to the attack: demolishing the terrorist’s house, imposing a curfew on his village, and revoking entry permits from his family. Netanyahu also pointed a finger at Palestinian incitement and demanded Abu Mazen “condemn the attack and not justify it,” a talking point echoed by all of his cabinet ministers, with some saying the attack is proof there is “no partner” on the Palestinian side. Deputy FM Tzipi Hotevely said the attack is a “message” for the US administration, just as Jason Greenblatt arrives in Israel for another round of peace talks, and the attack is likely to complicate his already complicated mission. Several right-wing ministers and MKs stressed that in the midst of terror, there is no room for economic gestures and initiatives for the Palestinians, and others – Like Bayit Yehudi’s Uri Ariel – demanded settlement construction as a suitable reaction.

The Right is raging at the Supreme Court again, and this time it isn’t because they overturned a law the Knesset passed. It’s because the court won’t be sending a representative to the official state ceremony in honor of 50 years since the return of Jewish residents to the West Bank, Jordan Valley and Golan Heights, which is set to take place in Gush Etzion tomorrow. It’s protocol for judges to send someone to all official ceremonies, but now Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, a major critic of the judiciary, wants to stop inviting them at all. Zionist Union is also boycotting the ceremony, ostensibly because opposition leader Isaac Herzog or Labor leader Avi Gabbay were not invited to speak, even though that isn’t required by protocol. MKs in the party have given other reasons for the snub – Eitan Cabel said the settlements are the most divisive issue in Israel, and ceremony is just going to be about glorifying Bibi, while Omer Bar-Lev argued that Israel shouldn’t be celebrating settlements, it should be dismantling them.

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