Palestinians call for ‘Day of Rage’

Published October 13th, 2015 - 09:00 GMT

Palestinians called for a “Day of Rage” Tuesday, a day after three alleged Palestinian assailants were shot dead by Israeli police in Jerusalem.

Four Israelis and 26 Palestinians, including eight alleged attackers and eight children, have died in 12 days of bloodshed, the worst spell of street violence for years, stirred in part by Muslim anger over increasing Jewish visits to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.

Palestinian groups have called for a “Day of Rage” across the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem on Tuesday and the leaders of the 1948 Palestinian community have called for a commercial strike in their towns and villages.

Some of Israel’s Jewish residents have also taken to the streets, to protest against the attacks, and have demanded the government do more to restore security.

Two Palestinian youths stabbed two Israelis on the northern edge of Jerusalem, Pisgat Zeev, critically injuring one of them, the 13-year-old boy, police and hospital sources said.

The boy was critically wounded before police shot and killed one of the attackers, while the second was run over by a car. Abdel Nasser Manasra, a relative of Ahmad, 13, and Hasan, 15, said both were cousins. He did not know which was killed.

An hour earlier, a Palestinian girl of 16 from the same quarter of East Jerusalem as the Pisgat Zeev attackers stabbed and wounded a paramilitary border officer outside the national police headquarters in central Jerusalem.

And as night fell, police said they had shot dead a Palestinian on a bus near the central bus station who had first tried to grab a soldier’s rifle and then succeeded in grabbing the pistol of a police officer attending the scene. The soldier and another passenger were slightly hurt.Police also said a border policeman had shot dead a Palestinian who tried to stab him, although the account was disputed by a Palestinian passer-by, who said he had witnessed the incident and seen no knife.

The attackers, many of them teenagers, have had no affiliation with militant groups, and the seemingly random nature of the stabbings has made it difficult to predict or prevent them.

The near-daily stabbings have raised speculation that Palestinians could be embarking on another uprising or intifada, reflecting a new generation’s frustrations over their veteran leadership’s failure to achieve statehood in abortive peace talks with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told parliament that the knife attackers would fail just as suicide bombers had failed a decade ago.

“The terror of suicide bombers did not vanquish us then, and the terror of knives will not beat us now,” he said.

Police have deployed 2,000 reinforcements in Jerusalem, but Israeli leaders say they have no easy answer to “lone wolf” assailants.

Muslim anger has been stoked by increasing visits made over the past year by Jewish groups and right-wing Israeli lawmakers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Israel has said it has no intention of allowing any change to the status quo at the compound, which Jews are allowed to visit, but where non-Muslim prayer is banned.

In his speech, Netanyahu dismissed the Palestinian accusations of Israel plotting to take over the Noble Sanctuary as a “total lie” and accused the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, the militant group Hamas and Israel’s own Islamic Movement of incitement. He called on President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority, to condemn the violence.

Netanyahu also went after 1948 Palestinian lawmakers in the chamber, accusing two of them of supporting the violence against Israelis. “It is unbelievable that an Israeli member of parliament calls for terror attacks against Israelis,” he said.

In a message to the 1948 Palestinian public, he urged them “to kick out the extremists among you,” and said he was committed to coexistence.

The 1948 Palestinian minority makes up about 20 percent of the country’s 8 million people. While they have full citizenship rights, they often suffer discrimination in such areas as jobs and housing. Mistrust of Netanyahu remains high following his election day appeal for supporters to go to the polls, warning them that 1948 Palestinians were voting “in droves.”

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