Security Tightens As Fighting Between Israelis And Palestinans Continues
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
It was a violent weekend in parts of Israel in the occupied West Bank - more attacks by Palestinians on Israeli police and soldiers and civilians and more security measures put in place in and around Palestinian neighborhoods. NPR's Alice Fordham is in Jerusalem and joins us to talk more about this. Good morning.
ALICE FORDHAM, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: Fill us in on what happened over the weekend.
FORDHAM: We saw quite different outbreaks of violence on Saturday and on Sunday. On Saturday, there were five attacks, which Israeli police said were stabbings by Palestinians targeting, in some cases, Israeli civilians, in others police or soldiers. Two of those incidents took place in Jerusalem. And three were in the West Bank city of Hebron. All of the attackers were shot dead, one by a civilian and the others by police and by soldiers. And then on Sunday evening, there was a shooting in a bus station in the southern city of Be'er Sheba. Police say an Arab citizen of Israel shot a 19-year-old soldier dead, then took his weapon and began shooting other people. At least nine people were wounded. And another man who was an Eritrean migrant was initially mistaken for an attacker.
He was shot and wounded and then bystanders got involved. There was some disturbing amateur video of the scene showing the man being kicked in the head. And he died this morning. Reading the Israeli media, there's some concern that this attack is different from the pattern we've seen lately. This is not happening in the West Bank or in Jerusalem in the south of the country. And the attacker got through security at this bus station with a weapon. There's some feeling that, unlike other attacks, this one might have involved some planning and some support.
MONTAGNE: Well, you're staying in East Jerusalem, where some of these attackers have emerged from. What measures have been taken there and elsewhere?
FORDHAM: A measure that's attracted a lot of attention is restricting movement in East Jerusalem. So in some Arab neighborhoods here, road blocks have been erected, which mean people can't drive in and out of their areas without going through a checkpoint. I was in one of those neighborhoods yesterday, a place called Jabal Mukkabir. There's big concrete cubes blocking off the streets. People are complaining they can't get to work easily or their kids have to walk a couple miles home because the school bus can't get into the area.
And yesterday, as I was there, security forces erected what locals and the media have been calling a wall between that Arab area and a nearby Jewish neighborhood built on land captured during the Six-Day War. Now, the municipality says it's not a wall. It's a temporary barrier to deter would-be attackers. It's made of six concrete slabs, each maybe 6-feet wide. So it's easy to walk around. It's not huge or permanent. But certainly to residents, it's symbolically important. And we've also seen a process begin of passing laws which would allow a more aggressive stop-and-search procedure here.
MONTAGNE: Well, also, Alice, we're seeing Secretary of State John Kerry jump in. He said yesterday that he would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then he'll see Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and finally, Jordan's King Abdullah. Does it seem like international diplomacy could help this situation?
FORDHAM: First, I'd say, Israeli officials have been slow to confirm that meeting. They say it's contingent on the security situation whether Netanyahu can make it to that meeting. And then also what the families of some of the attackers were saying to me yesterday is that a lot of these young people who were driven to attack civilians, they're not listening to Palestinian leaders. They feel, actually, failed by the Palestinian leadership.
MONTAGNE: NPR's Alice Fordham in Jerusalem, thanks very much.
FORDHAM: Thanks for having me on. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.