Forces from the Judea and Samaria Division sealed an Arab event hall Monday morning in the Arab village of Azaria near East Jerusalem following gunfire from the venue during a wedding Sunday night.
This is the first such time the IDF has acted against Palestinian Authority event halls in Judea-Samaria, where gunfire from guests is a frequent occurrence during celebrations. The IDF has argued that the actions against event halls serve two purposes: first, to prevent wayward shooting incidents that can cause damage or injuries; and second, to act against illegally-produced firearms that have been used in recent terror attacks.
IDF officials explained that over the last year, dozens of cases of stray bullets fired during Palestinian weddings have damaged homes and vehicles.
Soldiers sealed off the entrance to the event hall and the closure order gave the hall owners 30 days to make future business arrangements.
“This is another important development in the campaign against illegal weapon possession and manufacturing,” a senior official in the Judea and Samaria Division told Ynet. “By doing things like this, we reduce the impact of illegal weapons on the ground, raise prices, reduce the potential for lethal disaster and demonstrate better governance.”
According to the official, in recent months dozens of cases of stray bullets from Arab celebrations have struck balconies and homes in Ma’ale Adumim and other villages in the area.
“In these events, guests are firing bursts of bullets in a very dangerous manner. We don’t want to get to a point where we have to cancel weddings of young people before they happen, and as such, we are deciding to approach this matter legally and work with these event halls in order to prevent mishaps.”
The IDF explored the option to raid events in order to catch perpetrators in the act, but feared that such action would lead to turmoil and destruction of property or even injuries. As such, the IDF is taking legal action on the matter. The IDF is emphasizing that they are giving event hall owners warning before taking action to close venues in order to cause as little disruption as possible to people organizing events.