Palestinian shot dead after stabbing Israeli soldier
JERUSALEM – An Israeli paramilitary policeman shot dead a Palestinian who had stabbed a soldier in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, police and the army said, as a month-long spate of attacks showed no signs of abating.
The latest assault, like other recent stabbings, took place in the West Bank city of Hebron, signaling that violence was shifting to the West Bank from Israel and Jerusalem, where police have set up roadblocks in Palestinian neighborhoods that were home to many of the alleged assailants.
The wave of violence, the worst since the 2014 Gaza war, has in part been spurred by religious and political tensions over a Jerusalem site sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
Increased visitor numbers by religious Jews to Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque plaza – Islam’s holiest site outside Saudi Arabia and revered in Judaism as the location of two destroyed biblical temples – have spurred Palestinian allegations that Israel is violating a “status quo” by which Jewish prayer there is banned.
Israel has pledged to abide by the long-standing arrangement at the site in Jerusalem’s walled Old City.
A military spokeswoman said Thursday’s assailant stabbed the soldier in the head at a military checkpoint near a religious site in Hebron also revered by Jews and Muslims. A paramilitary policeman shot and killed the man. The soldier was not seriously injured.
Since the latest wave began on Oct. 1, at least 61 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israelis in the West Bank and in Gaza. Of those, 34 were assailants armed mainly with knives and in some cases with guns, Israel has said. Many were teenagers.
Amnesty International says some of the killings of the Palestinians were unjustified and that Israeli forces were using “extreme and unlawful measures”. Israel says it has a right to use lethal force to stop attempts to kill its citizens.
A U.S.-promoted Jordanian plan announced on Saturday to set up cameras to monitor the flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound has not been implemented. Palestinians have voiced concern Israel would use such footage to arrest suspected militants.
Palestinians are also frustrated by the failure of numerous rounds of peace talks to secure them an independent state in territories, including the West Bank, that Israel captured in a 1967 war. The last phase of negotiations collapsed in 2014. –Reuters