Netanyahu vows to defeat 'knife terror'

  • 13/10/2015
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AAP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AAP)

A knife concealed in a bag or a shirt has become the weapon of choice and symbol of the Palestinian conflict with Israel, with 19 stabbings targeting Jews since October 3.

The attacks have killed two Israelis and wounded more than 20 others, including a 13-year-old who was critically injured on Monday, and have had a powerful psychological impact.

"Knife terror will not defeat us," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged in a speech before the Israeli Parliament on Monday (local time).

Images of knives, whether ordinary kitchen utensils or hefty combat weapons with serrated blades - and on occasion screwdrivers and a potato peeler - have for the past 10 days flooded Israeli and Palestinian social networks and news media.

Witnesses to the incidents have been quick to snap the scenes, and sometimes the bloodied weapons, and police have supplied images to mainstream news organisations.

"It's an everyday object that everyone has at home or can readily obtain, which needs no training and is easily concealed," said psychologist Shaul Kimhi.

"A knife attack is not primarily intended to kill but to spread fear and it achieves that goal," he added.

"Israelis feel fear disproportionate to the threat."

The multiple attacks with knives or similar implements have been perpetrated by Palestinians and allegedly an Israeli Arab who denies the charge.

Ten alleged perpetrators have been killed and several wounded. One of the Palestinians shot in Jerusalem on Monday was just 13.

Israelis are well versed in developing technological responses to threats, such as the vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system.

But they are challenged by the current wave of low-tech attacks.

"We are dealing with individuals who are using the most basic weapons of terror that exist and we cannot hunt down knives," a former military intelligence colonel, Miri Eisin said.