An Israeli was allegedly stabbed in the West Bank south of Jerusalem on Sunday and a Palestinian was shot dead afterward, Israeli police said, with the Israeli victim reported in serious condition. Some reports said the victim was a teenage girl, but there was no official confirmation. The attack near the Gush Etzion bloc of settlements was the third assault of the day.
Another Palestinian girl was fatally run down by a Jewish settler in the West Bank yesterday, while in a third incident in the Israeli-occupied territory, a Palestinian was shot dead after an alleged attack, Israeli police said.
A surge in often spontaneous Palestinian street violence since Oct. 1 has challenged Israel's security system and alarmed the United States, whose Secretary of State John Kerry is due to come and sound out both sides this week.
Eighty-two Palestinians in all have been killed, while 18 Israelis and an American student have been killed in alleged stabbings, shootings and car rammings.
Yesterday, a female Palestinian reportedly tried to stab two Israeli women at a junction popular with Jewish settlers near the West Bank city of Nablus and was shot by Israeli troops at the scene. The dead Palestinian was 16, from Nablus, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
In a separate incident, a Palestinian man tried to ram a taxi into Israelis at a West Bank junction near Jericho and then got out with a knife in hand to stab them, Israeli police said. An armed Israeli at the scene shot him dead, police said. The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the man's death but did not immediately provide more details about him.
The U.S. State Department said Kerry would begin his Nov. 22-24 Middle East visit in Abu Dhabi, after which he would come to Israel and the Palestinian territories. A senior U.S. official said Kerry would discuss ways of trying to stem the violence but would not try to renew negotiations on a state that Palestinians seek in territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Peace between Israel and Palestine has been and will likely be hard to achieve and will only be made more difficult by Israel's attitude toward the situation surrounding the holy site in East Jerusalem, with clashes continuing between Israelis and Palestinians, further triggering social unrest that could further threaten peace in the Middle East.
The current round of violence erupted in mid-September over rumors that Israel was trying to expand the Jewish presence at the Jerusalem shrine and spread to the West Bank, Israeli cities and the Gaza border. The Palestinian district of East Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the Six-Day War, and since then Israel has tried to expand its influence over the neighborhood by allowing Jewish settlers to live in the disputed area. This comes after last year's Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip when more than 2,100 Palestinians died, including many civilians, according to Palestinian and U.N. officials.