Talk of a third intifada filled cafes and news columns in Israel this week after two Israelis were stabbed to death and two Palestinian protesters were shot dead.
On Monday, 20-year-old Israeli soldier Almog Shiloni was stabbed and killed at a Tel Aviv bus stop while in air force uniform. Police arrested a 25-year-old man from the West Bank city of Nablus who was in Israel looking for work. In a separate incident on the same day Dalia Lamkus, 25, was stabbed to death near the Alon Shvut settlement in the West Bank, with two others injured. Her assailant was later killed.
These were the latest attacks by Israeli Arabs or West Bank Palestinians on Israelis. Hit-and-run drivers have claimed four lives in three weeks, including that of a three-month-old baby, while a Palestinian gunman shot far-right religious nationalist Yehuda Glick, a campaigner for Jewish prayer rights at Temple Mount, home to the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
While Glick survived, and his attacker was later killed in a gunfight, far-right politicians, such as Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, have continued to march on Islam’s third holiest site, drawing anger and widespread condemnation. Jordan, the compound’s custodian since 1924, last week withdrew its ambassador from Israel and this week officials said Israeli action threatens the peace treaty between the two states.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday: “I call on Israel’s brutal rulers: Don’t you dare consider resuming these attacks against al-Quds [Jerusalem] and the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said attempts to divide the site would equate to “religious war” but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was equally robust, saying: “Terror is being directed at all parts of the country…” Palestinian anger earlier flared in Kfar Kana after Israeli police on Saturday shot an Arab man who attacked their car.
Video footage later showed him to have been in retreat when he was shot, with his body dragged into a van. In ensuing protests, Israeli troops shot dead a 21-year-old man from the al-Aroub refugee camp near Hebron.