Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tensions Escalate In Jerusalem

Three Palestinians killed in 3 stabbing attacks in Hebron, Jerusalem

A Palestinian woman was shot dead Saturday morning by the policewoman she tried to stab near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, in the third attempted stabbing attack of the day and the second in West Bank city, a frequent flashpoint city where a few hundred Jews live in close proximity to tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The Palestinian teen arrived at a Border Police base near the West Bank city and attacked the policewoman, who sustained light injuries to her hands, according to initial reports. The Border Police officer then shot her attacker, killing her.

The attacker was identified as Bian Asila, 16, from Hebron.

The incident came after two other separate stabbing attacks in Hebron and Jerusalem just hours earlier in which both attackers were also killed. Along the Gaza border, IDF forces fired tear gas at dozens of protesters who tried to approach the fence.
In Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood earlier Saturday, a Palestinian teenager was shot dead after he tried to stab Border Police officers. There were no reports of injuries among the security forces.
According to the IDF, the teen was stopped for routine questioning in the capital amid heightened tensions, before pulling out a knife and attempting to stab the officers.
He was later identified by Palestinian media as Muataz Awisat, 16, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.
The incident in Armon Hanatziv came four days after a deadly attack in the same neighborhood in which two Israelis were killed when two Palestinian terrorists boarded a bus and began a shooting and stabbing spree. One attacker was killed at the scene by security forces, while the second was wounded and taken into custody.

Earlier Saturday, a Palestinian man died of his wounds after being shot by an Israeli man he had tried to stab in a Jewish neighborhood of Hebron.

Earlier Saturday, a Palestinian man died of his wounds after being shot by an Israeli man he had tried to stab in a Jewish neighborhood of Hebron.

According to initial reports, Kawasmeh approached his would-be victim, pulled out a knife and lunged before he was shot by the armed Israeli man, who was not hurt in the attempted attack.

The attempted attack came a day after a Palestinian man posing as a press photographer stabbed an Israeli soldier in the same area, moderately wounding him.

Saturday’s incidents were the latest in a spate of near-daily attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces across Israel and in the West Bank.
Since October 1, seven Israelis have been killed and dozens injured in 30 separate stabbing or attempted stabbing attacks by Palestinian assailants.

After attempted stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and Hebron earlier on Saturday morning, a Palestinian woman stabbed and lightly wounded a female Border Police officer in Hebron before noon. 

The police officer was stabbed at the Ashmoret Yitzhak Border Police base and she suffered a cut to her hand. After being attacked she recovered quickly and shot the terrorist dead.    

In both attacks earlier in the day the attackers were shot and killed and there were no others wounded.  

Earlier in the day in Hebron the Israeli target of a knife attack shot and killed the terrorist. The Israeli was not wounded in the attempted attack.

The suspect in the first Hebron attack approached a checkpoint in the city and tried to stab one of the security forces. When this attempt failed, he came after an Israeli citizen who used his personal firearm and shot him three times. The citizen was visiting the city and was returning from prayers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs at the time of the attack.    

Palestinians came to the scene of the Hebron attack and began to throw stones at the security forces who were using riot dispersal methods on them. Ma'an news identified the Hebron attacker as 18-year-old Fadil Qawasmi.  

Shortly after the Hebron attack, a terrorist was shot and killed in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem after trying to stab an Israeli. No one was wounded by the attacker.  A civilian told the security forces that he saw a suspicious looking man in the area and after searching they found him on Harav Hovel street neat the scenic promenade in the neighborhood. 

Since the beginning of the latest spate of violence here, Israelis and Palestinians have been at a loss about what to call this amorphous, scary thing.

The main question hovering above the public sphere is, “Is this finally the third intifada?”

The Jerusalem Press Club thinks so. It has invited members of the media to a Sunday talk on “The Third Intifada: Causes and Solutions.” The speaker is Dr. Shmuel Berkovits, author of The Battle for the Holy Places and How Terrible Is the Place: Holiness, Politics and Justice in Jerusalem and the Holy Places in Israel.

Hamas, the extreme Islamist faction that governs the Gaza Strip, has routinely been calling for “days of rage.”

Among some of the young Palestinians pushing for revolt, the name of choice has been the al-Aksa intifada, named for Jerusalem’s iconic, golden-domed al-Aksa mosque. This follows countless false reports that Israeli police or military forces have stormed the holy site with the intention of demolishing it to “Judaize” the city.

Some Israeli Jews, notably in the media, have taken to calling this the “intifada of knives,” a nod to the weapon of choice in the current tumult.
But seen on the ground, it seems to be, if anything, a reluctant intifada. It is the intifada no one wants. In Jerusalem, Muslims, Christians and Jews gingerly ask each other and themselves, “How are you? You know, apart from the situation?”

The Arabic word “intifada” means rebellion on a massive scale. It is no intifada if it has not spread like wildfire. There is no such thing as an intifada in dribs and drabs, however much the so-called leaders of this region exert themselves to find a term that sticks.

Tel Aviv was paralyzed Thursday morning not by another stabbing, but by a highway car chase following “two Palestinian suspects.” By midday, the two had been released and the city’s mayor, Ron Huldai, went on the radio to defend the “real intelligence” behind the stoppage. Tel Aviv is, after all, a city notoriously intolerant of traffic jams.

In the evening, a few dozen passengers headed to Paris from Ben Gurion Airport revolted on the tarmac and refused to board their flight when they learned their pilot was Czech. “We feel safe only with an Israeli!” a woman is heard screeching on a video taken at the scene.

For Israelis, years of hearing that the world is inclined against them, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal and now a situation that feels impossible to control  seem to be taking a toll.

In the words of one Jerusalem police officer, who was not authorized to speak with the media, “What do you mean by ‘intelligence’ when we are talking about a guy who wakes up in the morning and grabs a kitchen knife instead of going to work, or some guy who rams his company car into a crowd? How can you collect intelligence about an individual’s dark thoughts?”

One case that has stuck in the public imagination is that of Ahmed Manasrah, 13, who, along with a 16-year-old pal, stabbed a Jewish 13-year-old boy in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev, almost killing him.

Ahmed was hit by a car; the 16-year-old was shot and killed by a guard.

Both 13-year-olds, as it happens, are at Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Medical Center.

In a speech on Wednesday night, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of the “cold-blooded execution” of Ahmed. (An English-language version of the speech released on Thursday changed “execution” to “shooting.”)

By then, the “execution of Ahmed” had become a known “fact” among untold thousands, and for the benefit of Western observers, Saeb Erekat, Palestine’s chief negotiator, was forced to issue a clarification explaining that “Palestinian civilians, including children, are being systematically targeted for extra-judicial executions by Israel.”

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