Palestinian shot dead after trying to stab Israeli soldiers
Israeli soldiers shot dead a knife-wielding Palestinian who tried to stab them yesterday in the West Bank city of Hebron, in the latest violence of a bloody six-week spell. The military said the shooting took place during a riot and that no Israelis were harmed.
Later yesterday, a Palestinian rammed his car into a group of Israelis standing on the side of the road in the West Bank, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. She said the attacker escaped and security forces were searching the area. Three people were hurt, one seriously, said Eli Bin of Israel's rescue service.
A series of Palestinian attacks began in mid-September over tensions surrounding a sensitive Jerusalem holy site and have since spread across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
It has been accompanied by widespread unrest, including clashes between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli troops. Eleven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, and 68 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire, including 42 said by Israel to have been involved in attacks or attempted attacks.
Israel has blamed the Palestinian attacks on what it says is anti-Israel incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders.
In recent days, Hebron has become a flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian violence, with near-daily deadly confrontations at Israeli checkpoints that guard ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers in the centre of the city. In these incidents, Palestinians have been shot dead after the military said they stabbed or tried to stab soldiers.
Hebron has been divided since the late 1990s, as part of what was meant to be an interim agreement ahead of a final peace deal that never materialized. Israel controls the city centre, where 850 Jewish settlers live, while the remaining areas of the city are under Palestinian self-rule.
Also yesterday, Israel's deputy foreign minister said diplomats in training will now visit the West Bank and be taught how to defend the status of Jewish settlements there.
Tzipi Hotovely told Israel's Army Radio that she initiated changes in the course curriculum to include a greater emphasis on the Jewish people's ancient links to the land.
"There are systematic Palestinian attempts to rewrite history and cut the deep ties between the Jewish people and its historic capital," she said.
She said the course will include tours to the City of David, a Jewish enclave in mostly Arab east Jerusalem, seized by Israel in the 1967 war from Jordan and claimed by the Palestinians as part of their future state. Ms Hotovely says it is important to stress that Jewish settlements are legal "by law and custom".