Israel to Demolish Homes, Deploy More Forces Amid Violence

  • Minister Katz says military operation may be considered
  • Islamic Jihad video shows Palestinian preparing suicide bomb

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered security forces to accelerate the demolition of homes of Palestinians who attack Israelis, deploy more forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank and employ detentions without trial more widely after four Israelis were killed in two separate assaults.

“We are fighting a fight until the end against Palestinian terror,” Netanyahu said in televised comments Sunday following a meeting with top security officials upon his return from a trip to the U.S.

Netanyahu’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy, Yisrael Katz, told Army Radio that Israel may have to consider a military operation to counter rising violence after Palestinian entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City, where violence has been rising in recent weeks, was restricted. Israel’s top ministers are expected to meet after sundown on Monday to discuss further steps.

The stabbing of two Israelis by a Palestinian in the Old City on Saturday was the second deadly attack by Arab assailants in 48 hours. Israeli-Palestinian violence has been on the rise since mid-September amid clashes at an Old City shrine holy to both Jews and Muslims. The site is in east Jerusalem, an area captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed in a move never internationally recognized. Palestinians seek the territory as the capital of a state.

Escalation

Closing the Old City to Palestinians “could lead to an escalation of the situation,” Mohamed Hawash, a political analyst who teaches at Birzeit University near Ramallah, said by phone.

Late on Sunday, a rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open area in Israel, prompting the army to target Hamas facilities in the northern part of the strip, a military spokeswoman said by phone. In the West Bank, a Palestinian was killed this morning in clashes with Israeli soldiers, according to an AP report.

Last week, gunmen fired on a car in the West Bank, killing a Jewish settler and his wife. The Palestinian Authority has blamed the escalation on continued Israeli occupation of territories Palestinians want as part of their future state.

The armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group released by e-mail and on YouTube a one-minute video that showed a member building an explosive belt and preparing to carry out a suicide bombing.

“A new intifada has started against the Israeli occupation, and all attempts to stop it will fail,” Mohammed al-Hindi, a senior leader, said in an e-mailed statement, using the word for Palestinian uprising.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, called on the United Nations to offer Palestinians international protection amid the escalation of violence “threatening to engulf not just Palestine and Israel, but the whole region as well.”

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