Rapid responses as attacks continue
Palestinian officials say shootings came too quickly
jerusalem — Violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank surged Saturday, as three Palestinian attackers wielding knives were shot dead by Israelis, and two additional Palestinian assailants were shot and wounded.
The unceasing attacks by Palestinian youths against Jewish targets and the often deadly fire by Israeli police, soldiers and civilians represent how intimate and how close the conflict is.
Palestinian teens stabbed at Israeli soldiers and police not much older than themselves Saturday; then they were quickly shot at close range.
Israeli police said a female officer fatally shot a Palestinian woman who stabbed her in Hebron.
Surveillance and amateur video of previous attacks show that they are often over in seconds. Israeli military officials are describing the assaults as suicide attacks, carried out with little or no hope of escape.
Palestinian officials charge that Israeli authorities and civilians are too quick to shoot. Some Palestinian families have accused Israelis of planting knives at the scenes.
Police tightened closures of Palestinian neighborhood sin East Jerusalem, limiting vehicular traffic and checking identification cards and frisking young men.
Hundreds of Israelis — Jews and Muslims — took to the streets in Jerusalem on Saturday night to protest for peace.
For the first time in more than a decade, Israeli soldiers were being deployed to city centers in Israel. Thousands of border police reservists were called up for duty.
Eight Israelis have been killed in Palestinian knife, gun and vehicular
attacks this month. Thirty-four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, including 17 labeled by Israel as attackers, and the rest were killed in clashes with Israeli troops, according to a count by the Associated Press.
On Friday, Palestinians set fire to a Jewish shrine in the West Bank. The blaze at the Tomb of the Prophet Joseph, on the outskirts of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, was brought under control by Palestinian forces.
In the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday night, a group of Palestinian militants attached to a local affiliate of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades called for more knife attacks against Israelis.
On the diplomatic front, Israeli officials said they would oppose a French draft proposal being circulated at the U.N. Security Council that calls for an international peace force to be deployed at the raised esplanade that holds al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock in the Old City of Jerusalem. The holy site, called the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims and the Temple Mount by Jews, is revered by both faiths and has been the scene of frequent clashes.
Israeli leaders have accused Palestinian political and religious leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, of inciting violence at alAqsa by falsely claiming that Israel wants to change the status quo agreements that reserve the area for Muslim prayer only, while allowing visits by tourists, including Jews and Christians.
Palestinians revere al-Aqsa both as a religious site and a symbol of Muslim pride and Palestinian aspirations. They point to a small but growing number of Jews who want to be allowed to pray at the site of their destroyed temples and to Jewish extremists who want to see the third temple built there.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said, “By taking up the false charge used by Palestinian leaders of a change of the status quo on the Temple Mount, the proposed French text rewards the terrorism that the Palestinians initiated.”
Israeli leaders say they will safeguard the status quo. They insist that Israel is a trustworthy steward of holy sites in Jerusalem, protecting places sacred to three major faiths.
In Jerusalem on Saturday, Israeli police said a 16-year-old Palestinian was stopped for questioning at one of the newly built checkpoints deployed to cordon Arab East Jerusalem from Jewish West Jerusalem. The teen pulled out a knife and was fatally shot by police at the scene.
In Hebron, in the West Bank, where hundreds of Jewish settlers live in the ancient heart of the Palestinian city, Israeli authorities said a Palestinian teen approached an Israeli police officer near the Cave of the Patriarchs, a place holy to Muslims and Jews, and pulled out a knife.
The officer suffered light injuries to her hands. A border police officer shot and killed the attacker, Israeli police said.
Also in Hebron, Israeli police say a Palestinian man brandished a knife and was shot dead by an Israeli civilian.
Late Saturday, a fourth Palestinian was shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers after the man attacked troops with a knife in Hebron. A soldier was lightly wounded. The assailant is in serious condition.
A reporter for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that Jewish settlers attempted to stop the ambulance from taking the Palestinian to the hospital.
Later, a fifth Palestinian was shot and seriously wounded at the Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah in the West Bank.
At a march for peace in Jerusalem, Israeli Jews and Muslims hold placards in Hebrew and Arabic. On the diplomatic front, Israeli officials said they would oppose a French draft proposal being circulated at the U.N. Security Council that calls for an international peace force to be deployed at the raised esplanade that holds al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem.