"There is no way to fence-off the Arabs of east Jerusalem and every home of a potential terrorist," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Wednesday evening in a series of consultation meetings following the
deadly attack in central Jerusalem.
"We need to stop the terror attacks carried out by east Jerusalem Arabs, and if that must be done through means of deterrence or the demolition of a home – then so be it," he said.
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Olmert held several high-profile consultations with cabinet ministers and top defense and diplomatic officials in his government, seeking to draw lessons from the two terror attacks carried out in Jerusalem by residents of the eastern part of the city – on Jaffa Street on Wednesday and the shooting rampage at the Mercaz Harav seminary in March.
The prime minister is chiefly hoping to initiate a deterrent move aimed at preventing the next terrorist who may come from the capital.
Olmert met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni to discuss the recurring pattern of east Jerusalem residents abusing their residency rights to move freely into central Israel with intent of carrying out terror attacks.
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Wednesday's attacker has been identified as 31-year-old Hossam Dwayyat, a father of two from the neighborhood of Sur Baher.
The ministers believe that deterrent actions, like demolishing a terrorist's house or stripping his family of welfare rights, could stop the next attack.
Olmert also discussed the matter with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, and asked for the latter's judgment of the possible legal ramifications of implementing such measures.
Mazuz, in turn, is expected to summon his own consultations on Thursday to review the issue and make a recommendation. The State Prosecution is already scheduled to hold a meeting on Thursday to examine the plans to demolish the home of the terrorist who killed eight Israelis and wounded dozens at the Mercaz Harav seminary.
The defense establishment held meetings of its own throughout the day, in which participants claimed it was virtually impossible to foresee or prepare for terror attacks of this stripe.
Government defense officials noted that the State cannot detain Arabs from east Jerusalem, as they are full citizens and their movement is not restricted. Therefore, said the sources, the only measure to be utilized is deterrence, hoping potential terrorists' concern for the own families will ultimately change their minds.