More knife attacks on Israelis

  • 26/10/2015
Benjamin Netanyahu (Reuters)
Benjamin Netanyahu (Reuters)

A wave of stabbings have left two Israelis wounded and an alleged Palestinian attacker dead as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to install more security cameras at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in a bid to defuse tensions.

In the occupied West Bank a 17-year-old Palestinian woman was shot dead on Sunday while allegedly trying to knife Israeli border police and two Israelis were wounded in attempted stabbings, police said.

Another Palestinian was seriously wounded when he was shot several times by an Israeli settler while picking olives, according to Palestinian security sources.

Attacks and clashes have become near daily occurrences since simmering tensions over the status of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem boiled over in early October, leaving dozens dead.

The site is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, making it a powder-keg in the long-running conflict, and Netanyahu on Saturday agreed on new measures to allay Palestinian fears that Israel plans to change rules governing the site.

Netanyahu vowed Jews would still be allowed to visit but not pray at the compound and agreed 24-hour surveillance cameras could be installed, adding these were in Israel's interest.

"Firstly, to refute the claim Israel is violating the status quo. Secondly, to show where the provocations are really coming from, and prevent them in advance," he said.

Jordanian King Abdullah II welcomed Netanyahu's pledge "on condition that it is implemented".

He said he was convinced this would "put an end to violence, calm tension and I hope it will contribute to reviving efforts to resolve the fundamental questions through negotiations".

The last attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict collapsed in April 2014 amid bitter recriminations on both sides.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the cameras would be a "game changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of the holy site".

But Palestinians were unmoved.

"There will not be calm without political prospects to definitively end the occupation," said Nabil Shaath, an official from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas' West Bank-based Fatah.

Palestinians want the status quo to revert to what it was in 2000, when Jordan controlled access and not Israel, which regularly imposes restrictions on Muslim visits.

The clashes at Al-Aqsa spiralled into a wave of attacks against Israelis, leaving eight dead since the beginning of October. One Israeli Jew and one Eritrean have also been killed after being mistaken for attackers.

On Sunday a Palestinian woman allegedly attempted to knife border police in the West Bank city of Hebron and was shot dead, police said, taking the number of Palestinians killed in attempted attacks and clashes to 53. An Israeli Arab attacker has also been killed.

"A Palestinian woman acting suspiciously approached border police forces," police said. "She suddenly drew a knife and approached the forces yelling. The forces shot at her and neutralised her,"

Eyewitnesses said she was unarmed, however.

Two Israelis were stabbed and wounded in separate events in the West Bank.

Meanwhile Palestinian police said a 20-year-old man was in serious condition after being "shot by a settler while harvesting olives in Sair," in the West Bank.