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Israel stepping up armed crackdown on Palestinians following retaliatory attack in al-Quds

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen after an emergency cabinet meeting in the occupied al-Quds on January 28, 2023. (Photo by Israeli media)

Israel has announced plans to provide illegal settlers with firearms and weapons in response to the recent retaliatory operations by Palestinians, which killed at least seven illegal settlers in the occupied al-Quds, amid escalating violence in the occupied territories.

Speaking after an emergency meeting late on Saturday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a "strong, swift and precise" response to the latest retaliatory attacks and said his cabinet, comprised of a group of hardline politicians, had decided to expedite gun permits for Israeli people to defend against Palestinian street attacks.

Netanyahu also announced that his cabinet had decided on a series of steps to “strengthen settlements” in the coming week, without providing further details.

He said that more soldiers and police would be deployed, and security forces would embark on a series of operations to gather intelligence, confiscate illegal firearms and carry out arrests.

Itamar Ben Gvir, the far-right security minister, said after the cabinet meeting that he would soon propose a law allowing for the “death penalty” against perpetrators of such attacks.

The Israeli threats came hours after two retaliatory operations. In a shooting operation carried out on Friday near a synagogue in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied East al-Quds seven illegal settlers were killed and 10 others wounded. Two illegal settlers were also injured in another shooting attack in the same area on Saturday.

On Thursday, the Israeli regime's forces raided the city of Jenin and its neighboring refugee camp in the north of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank, gunning down nine Palestinians.

Palestinian resistance groups have hailed the retaliatory operation near the synagogue, describing it as a "direct response" to the deadliest Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank in years.

The Israeli raid comes in the context of recent escalations that have been on the rise, especially in light of the new extremist far-right cabinet headed by Netanyahu and his extremist affiliates.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

Most of the raids have focused on Nablus and Jenin, where Israeli forces have been trying to stifle a growing Palestinian resistance in the occupied cities.

More than 170 Palestinians, including at least 30 children, were killed across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem last year. In January 2023 alone, at least 38 Palestinians including five children have been killed.

The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.

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