Israel mulls hard-line legislation after attacks
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli lawmakers on Sunday called for a series of hard-line measures, including a proposal to strip Palestinian attackers of their residency rights, in response to a wave of deadly violence.
The measures are intended as a deterrent, but critics have condemned them as racist measures that could further escalate tensions.
In Gaza, meanwhile, Palestinian health officials said a 32-year-old farmer was shot dead by Israeli troops after he approached the border. Israel's military said it fired warning shots before taking aim at two suspects approaching the border fence, hitting one of them. It was the first fatality in Gaza since a cease-fire ended last summer's war.
Israel has vowed to respond harshly after a grisly raid on a synagogue last week in which two east Jerusalem Palestinians killed five people with guns and meat cleavers. Israel has already resumed a controversial policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinian attackers.
At the start of his weekly Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a bill that would revoke residency rights for Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis.
"It cannot be that those who harm Israel, those who call for the destruction of the state of Israel will enjoy rights like social security," Netanyahu said, adding that the measure would "complement" the house demolitions and serve as a deterrent.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. While few of the city's 300,000 Palestinians have taken citizenship, their residency grants them access to social services and freedom of movement.
The Cabinet was also discussing a bill that would recognize Israel's Jewish character, institutionalize Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation, and delist Arabic as an official language.
The bill is expected in parliament this week, but its final form is likely to be more moderate. Arab rights groups call it racist, and the attorney general has expressed reservations over its language.
Tensions spilled over to the West Bank Sunday when a Palestinian family's home was torched in an attack they blamed on Jewish settlers. Israeli police said they were investigating.