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Israeli interior minister cranks up heated rhetoric

Silvan Shalom has submitted consultation requests to strip citizenship of Palestinians in Israel who have been accused of attacks
Israel's Interior Minister Silvan Shalom said "We must vomit the bloodthirsty murderers from among us," referring to East Jerusalem residents accused of carrying out attacks (AFP)

Israel’s Interior Minister Silvan Shalom has caused a stir with incendiary remarks towards Palestinians on Wednesday and a contraversial move on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Shalom said: "We must vomit the bloodthirsty murderers from among us," in reference to East Jerusalem residents accused of carrying out attacks. The next day, he submitted consultation requests to strip citizenship of Palestinians living in Israel who have been accused of attacks, Israeli media reported.

If the measures get approved, Palestinians like Israa Abed - a 29-year-old woman from Nazareth shot by police last week for allegedly wanting to carry out an attack - could risk losing her Israeli citizenship. Her family denies that she has any political affiliation and said they would challenge accusations against her in court. Abed is still in the hospital recovering from the police shooting.

Adalah human rights group, an organisation that supports the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, plans to campaign against Shalom’s request.

Shalom, for his part, remains adamant. “This is no less a harsh and deterring punishment than destroying houses,” he said at a Knesset finance committee meeting reviewing his ministry’s budget.

“A country that seeks life cannot and will not allow these terrorists to continue to be called residents and citizens, and continue enjoying the benefits of that status,” he added.

On Wednesday, Shalom said on public radio that he planned to revoke the residency status of Palestinians from the city who had taken part in attacks on Jews.

"Nineteen attackers from East Jerusalem - I think that is the number more or less - will have their residency cancelled." 

"I have decided to revoke their residency. They are no longer residents of Israel and will not be able to receive all the privileges," he added.

Some 310,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed in a move never recognised internationally.