PM says he may take away east Jerusalemites' IDs

Netanyahu tells Knesset committee he intends to tour eastern Jerusalem ahead of crucial decision that may change capital's future.

Hezki Baruch,

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that he is considering taking away the Israeli ID cards from Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem.

He added that he intends to tour eastern Jerusalem to examine the situation there from up close, and that he will invite some Cabinet members to accompany him there, before he reaches a decision.

Leftist MKs shouted at Netanyahu and jeered at him. One suggested mockingly than Netanyahu put on an Arab costume in order to go undercover.

Channel 2 reported Sunday that Netanyahu had suggested the idea in the Cabinet. He reportedly said "We cannot continue with the present situation outside the fence," and suggested that "taking away the blue identity cards from the residents" be considered.

According to the report, ministers who were surprised by Netanyahu's statement noted that such a move would have dramatic diplomatic ramifications.

Prime Ministers since 1967 have vowed not to re-divide Jerusalem, after its unification in the Six Day War. Taking away the permanent resident status of eastern Jerusalem's Arabs could be interpreted as the first step toward undoing the annexation of eastern Jerusalem and the application of Israeli sovereignty there. 

On the other hand, it could also be seen as a punitive move, stripping the population of the numerous benefits Israeli residency status gives it, as payback for the terror wave.




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