TEL AVIV – In the aftermath of Sunday’s terror attack in which four people were stabbed in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian teenager who entered Israel on a “peace permit,” the Defense Ministry temporarily suspended all single-day permits.
The 18-year-old assailant from the Nablus area entered Israel with a single-day permit as part of a coexistence group called “Natural Peace Tours,” a defense official said.
According to the official, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said such one-day permits would be suspended until the matter was investigated.
The attack began in a store at the Herods Tel Aviv Hotel where the teenager stabbed a man and a woman, the latter being an employee at the store. The woman’s husband chased the attacker out of the hotel.
The terrorist then stabbed two more pedestrians on his way to the Leonardo Hotel across the road. Among the victims were a man in his 70s and a woman in her 50s.
All the victims were lightly wounded and treated on the spot by EMT medics before being transferred to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital. According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, the victims’ wounds appeared to have been made by blunt work tools such as wire-cutters.
The attacker is currently in the custody of the Shin Bet security agency.
Israel grants some 100,000 Palestinians permits to work in Israel.
COGAT would not provide exact numbers but said that “many” one-day permits are also given out daily for tourism reasons or to NGOs.
In addition, tens of thousands of Palestinians cross into Israel illegally, mostly seeking work.
In order to reduce conflict and avoid collective punishment, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon put an end to sweeping suspensions of work permits following terror attacks last year.
The wave of terror that began in October 2015 is characterized by stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks and has so far claimed the lives of 41 Israelis, two Americans, a Briton, a Palestinian and an Eritrean national.
The latest attack occurred Monday morning when a Palestinian woman stabbed and lightly wounded a female soldier at the Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank. According to the Shin Bet security agency, the woman, also from the Nablus area, was experiencing marital problems and “fed up with life.”