Israeli–Palestinian conflict (2015–present)
An increase of violence occurred in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict starting early September 2015, known as the "Wave of Terror" or "Intifada of the Individuals" by Israelis or the "Knife Intifada" or "Stabbing Intifada" by international media, or "Habba" (an outburst) by Palestinian, related in part to tensions between Palestinians and Israelis regarding the status of the Temple Mount. A major escalation occurred on 1 October 2015 with the killing of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin by Hamas militants near Beit Furik on 1 October, followed by a wave of "lone wolf" attacks and widespread protests by Palestinians. Some Palestinians attribute the beginning of violence to the killing of Palestinian woman Hadeel al-Hashlamoun by Israeli soldiers on 22 September, or the Duma arson attack by Israeli settlers in July 2015, which caused the death of three Palestinians. In January, the Shin Bet have recorded only 169 incidents, the lowest since July 2015, leading to claims that the escalation had finished, but attacks and protests have continued.
According to Shin Bet, between 1 October 2015 and 1 October 2016 there was a total of 166 stabbing attacks and 89 attempted stabbings; 108 shootings; 47 vehicular (ramming) attacks; and one vehicle bus bombing. As of the last week of 2015, Israel has deployed 91 new obstacles (checkpoints, roadblocks in the West Bank, limiting Palestinian movement in order to prevent attacks. More than half of the obstacles were placed in the area around Hebron. The movement restrictions were eased slightly in January 2016.
Some commentators have attributed the increase in Palestinian violence against Israelis either to a viral social-media campaign that may have influenced and motivated the Palestinian attackers, or ongoing frustration over the failure of peace talks to end the decades-long occupation and the suppression of human rights. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been accused of incitement to violence.
Opinions within Israel differ as to the reasons for the cycle of violence. Several generals Israeli Defense Forces have gone on public record as stating that to a notable degree Palestinian violence is impelled due to anger at and revenge for Israeli actions and that frustrations over the stagnation of diplomatic initiatives also contribute. A report by Israeli intelligence services states that the unrest is motivated by Palestinian "feelings of national, economic and personal deprivation." Some also pointed out to the increasing incitement and involvement of the Islamic State group in regard to Palestinian youth, with Islamic State cell members arrested in the West Bank already in January 2015.
On 31 July 2015, two family homes in Duma, a Palestinian village in the West Bank, were firebombed by masked attackers. 18-month-old Ali Sa'ad Dawabsheh was burnt to death; his parents and 4-year-old brother were critically injured and rushed to Israeli hospitals, where the father died of his burns several days later. Five weeks later, the mother, Reham Dawabsheh, died of her injuries. Israeli police initially suspected that the arson was a price tag attack by "extremist Israeli settlers"; some speculated that it might have been undertaken in retaliation for the demolition by the IDF of Jewish settlement structures in Beit El, 'the flagship of the ideological settler movement,' some time earlier. Palestinians responded to the arson with large protests that resulted in violent confrontation with the Israeli forces.
On 9 September 2015, Israel outlawed two grassroots Palestinian Islamist groups, "Mourabitoon" and "Mourabitaat", involved in aggressive protests at Temple Mount against visits by Jewish groups such as The Temple Mount Faithfuls and The Temple Institute. Israeli police enforce exclusively Muslim prayer at the site in line with halakhic prohibition, and visits to the site by Jewish campaigners have led to clashes with Mourabitoon and Mourabitaat activists. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who signed the ban, said in a statement that the Mourabitoon and Mourabitaat are a "main cause in the creation of tension and violence on the Temple Mount (al Aqsa compound) specifically and Jerusalem in general". The Palestinian Authority opposed this ban and signaled support for the activists.
According to The Guardian, many analysts regard the issue of access to what is known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount as key to the recent increase in tension. A campaign by some fundamentalist Jews and their supporters, with the backing of some members of the Israeli cabinet, demanding greater rights for Jewish worship at the site has raised the suspicion, despite repeated Israeli denials, that Israel intends to change the 'precarious status quo' at the site.
Since the eve of Rosh Hashanah, 36 Israelis, as well as two Americans and an Eritrean were killed in Palestinian attacks, while 222 Palestinians have been killed (all but one by Israeli security forces), of which 140 were identified by Israel as assailants. Additionally, a Sudanese attacker was killed. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recorded 167 'terrorist' attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians and security forces. The Eritrean was shot and lynched after being mistakenly identified as an attacker during the Beersheva bus station shooting and died later. The number of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip increased. Palestinian attacks occurred predominantly in areas of the West Bank including Jerusalem and the West Bank, but also in cities within Israel, such as Tel Aviv and Beersheba. These near-daily attacks constituted primarily stone throwing and knife stabbings, hence the name "Knife Intifada" for the wave of attacks. Other attacks included shootings and vehicle rammings.
September - Events leading to the escalation
On 13 September, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year's Eve, Israeli police raided the plaza outside al-Aqsa Mosque, with witnesses reporting that the police used rubber coated bullets and tear gas, and chained the doors of the mosque shut. Police used tear gas and threw stun grenades toward Palestinian youths who barricaded themselves inside the mosque and hurled rocks and flares, a Reuters witness said. Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, in a statement, said the Palestinians also had pipe bombs. On the same day, Alexander Levlovich (64) lost control of his vehicle after Palestinian youths threw stones at his vehicle and he struck a pole. He was evacuated to hospital in serious condition, apparently also with a heart attack and died later. Two other passengers were lightly injured.
On 16 September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared his support for Palestinian youths injured in clashes on the Temple Mount, stating: ""Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God."" This led United States' Secretary of State John Kerry to accuse Abbas of inciting violence.
On 22 September, a Palestinian woman called Hadeel al-Hashlamon was killed at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron while on her way to school. The official account of the Israeli Army was that al-Hashlamon had a knife and was shot whilst attempting to stab a soldier. However, eyewitness reports were conflicted as to whether or not she held a knife; the Army has refused to release video recordings of the shooting. In the following weeks, Hebron became a centre of violent incidents and protests. There have been allegations that the shooting constituted an extrajudicial killing - see below.
On 24 September the Security Cabinet of Israel approved new laws regarding violent rioters. Netanyahu claimed that "The Security Cabinet unanimously adopted a series of measures within the framework of our fight against stone throwers, petrol bombs and flares". One modified order allows security forces to shoot when the life of a third party is under threat. Until the change, Israeli soldiers facing violent Palestinian protests could open fire with live bullets only if their own life was in danger. The cabinet ordered a minimum four-year jail term for anybody throwing dangerous objects as a temporary measure to be in effect for three years. This did not require Parliament's approval.
Escalation and further events
During October IDF recorded 75 terror attacks against Israelis, 43 in the West Bank, 22 in municipal Jerusalem and 10 within the Green Line. 55 of the attacks were or included the usage of melee weapons. In addition, there were 817 violent protests, 851 stone-throwing and 337 Petrol bomb throwing incidents. The number of stone throwing incidents may be higher since a large portion of stone throwing incidents are not reported at all.
In addition, at least 68 (50 in the West Bank, 17 in Gaza Strip, 1 in Israel) Palestinians and 10 Israelis were killed. 43 Palestinians were identified by IDF as assailants. In the same month, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, Israeli operations aimed at suppressing or dispersing demonstrations and protests in many of which stones, rocks and Molotov cocktails are thrown injured an estimated 8,262 Palestinians, 2,617 by gun wounds, 760 by live fire, 1,857 by rubber-coated steel bullets. Palestinian organizations also reported another four who were killed by Israeli forces, a baby from tear gas inhalation, and three adults who died while waiting in a checkpoint. These four deaths were not confirmed by IDF.
On 1 October, five men, part of a Hamas cell in the West Bank, ambushed a civil vehicle in a road between Itamar and Elon Moreh, and killed Eitam and Naama Henkin, two settlers from the West Bank. Their four kids who were in the back were left unhurt. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack was a "result of Palestinian incitement" that led "to an act of terror and murder." He added: "This is a difficult day for Israel." Netanyahu also criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and said he "did not hear a condemnation from the Palestinian Authority," The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military arm, said it welcomes the attack, "which constitutes a worthy response to the crimes of the occupation and the killing of the Dawabsheh family." Following the attack, local settlers assaulted with stones Palestinian cars and an ambulance and threw stones at Palestinian homes in the southern part of the village of Burin, which is close to the Yitzhar settlement. A 28-year-old woman was lightly wounded by stones hurled toward her at Itzhar Junction and a Palestinian driver was lightly hurt in a similar incident at the entrance to Nablus.
- 3 October – Lions' Gate stabbing. A man and others stabbed multiple people in the Jerusalem Old Town, killing 2 and injuring a mother and her toddler. 3 dead (including perpetrator), 2 injured.
- 4 October – An attack, similar to the Lion's Gate Stabbing on 3 October, took place when an Israeli teenager was stabbed near the Damascus Gate. 1 dead (perpetrator), 1 injured.
- 7 October – Israeli woman injured and pulled out of her car in a rock-throwing incident and attempted lynching near Jerusalem.
- 7 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Old City of Jerusalem. Assailant was shot on site.
- 7 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack in Kiryat Gat in which assailant stole the soldier’s weapon and was shot on site in a civilian’s apartment.
- 7 October – A Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man, after which the man shot the assailant with his personal gun. 2 injured (including perpetrator).
- 7 October – A Palestinian stabbed an IDF soldier, after which he was shot dead by special forces. 1 dead (perpetrator), 1 injured.
- 8 October – Four Israeli civilians and an IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack with screwdriver in central Tel Aviv. Assailant shot on site by an officer in the Israel Air Force.
- 8 October – Israeli man, 25, seriously hurt in Jerusalem stabbing attack. The attacker was identified as 19-year-old East Jerusalem resident.
- 8 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba. Assailant shot on site.
- 8 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Afula. Assailant shot on site.
- 9 October – Four Israeli civilians injured in stabbing attack in Dimona. Assailant apprehended on site.
- 9 October – Teenage Israeli boy stabbed in Jerusalem. 1 injured.
- 9 October – Israeli police officer injured in stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba. Assailant shot on site.
- 10 October – IDF soldier injured by gunshot in Kiryat Arba.
- 10 October – Israeli civilian lightly injured after rocks thrown at bus in Jerusalem.
- 10 October – Israeli civilian lightly injured from rock attack on Route 60 to Jerusalem.
- 10 October – Two Israelis injured in stabbing attack in Jerusalem. Assailant shot by the police. 1 dead (perpetrator), 2 injured.
- 10 October – Three Israeli police officers injured in stabbing attack in Jerusalem.
- 11 October – Israeli civilian injured by rock throwing in East Jerusalem.
- 11 October – Israeli civilian injured by rock throwing near Hebron.
- 11 October – Police officer injured by detonation of gas canister by female Palestinian driver near Ma’ale Adumim. Assailant apprehended on site.
- 11 October – Three Israeli civilians and an IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack in Gan Shmuel near Hadera. Assailant rammed his car into a soldier before getting out and going on a stabbing spree. Assailant shot on site.
- 12 October – Female assailant shot after stabbing a border police officer. 2 injured.
- 12 October – Two Palestinian youths stabbed 2 Israelis in Pisgat Ze'ev. A 13 year old was seriously injured. While trying to escape, one of the assailants, Ahmed Manasrah aged 13, was lightly wounded, the other shot and killed. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas two days later accused Israel of the "execution of our children in cold blood, as they did with the boy Ahmed Manasrah and other children in Jerusalem and other places." 3 injured, 1 dead.
- 12 October – Palestinian man stabbed an IDF soldier on a bus after which he was shot dead by police. 1 dead (perpetrator), 1 injured.
- 13 October – Israeli civilian injured by rock throwing near Hebron.
- 13 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Ra’anana. Assailant apprehended on site.
- 13 October – In shooting and stabbing attack on a bus in Jerusalem, 3 Israelis were killed and 16 others were wounded. The two assailants were shot dead.
- 13 October – Minutes after the bus attack, a man drove his car into a bus stop, killing a rabbi and injuring 2 others before being shot and killed. 2 dead, 2 injured.
- 13 October – In a second stabbing attack in Ra'anana, 4 Israeli were injured.
- 14 October – Assailant shot dead after attempting to stab police officer near Damascus Gate, Jerusalem.
- 14 October – Assailant shot after stabbing a woman at Jerusalem Central Bus Station. 1 dead (perpetrator), 1 injured.
- 16 October – Joseph’s Tomb set on fire by Palestinian arsonists. Palestinian forces extinguished fire.
- 16 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack by assailant disguised as news photographer in Kiryat Arba. Assailant shot on site.
- 17 October – Israeli Border Policewoman injured in stabbing attack at Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron. Assailant shot on site.
- 17 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack in Hebron. Assailant shot on site.
- 17 October – Israeli Border Policeman stabbed at Kalandia Crossing. Assailant shot on site.
- 18 October – IDF soldier Sgt. Omri Levy z"l killed, four other soldiers and seven Israeli civilians injured in combined shooting and stabbing attack in Be’er Sheva Central Bus Station. Assailant shot on site.
- 20 October – IDF officer injured in stabbing attack during violent riot near Hebron. Assailant shot on site.
- 20 October – IDF soldier and Israeli civilian injured in car ramming attack at Gush Etzion Junction. Assailant then attempted to stab the wounded victims but was shot on site.
- 20 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack in Hebron. Two assailants shot on site.
- 21 October – Five IDF soldiers injured in car ramming attack near Bethlehem. Assailant shot on site.
- 21 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near Jerusalem. Assailant shot on site.
- 22 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Beit Shemesh. Assailant shot on site.
- 23 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near Gush Etzion. Assailant shot on site.
- 23 October – Mother and her 2 children injured from Molotov cocktail hurled at vehicle near Jerusalem.
- 25 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack after exiting his car following rock attack.
- 25 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack at Ariel Junction. Assailant apprehended.
- 26 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near Hebron. Assailant shot on site.
- 27 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack at Gush Etzion Junction. Assailant shot on site.
- 28 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack outside supermarket in Gush Etzion. Assailant detained on site.
- 29 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Assailant shot on site.
- 29 October – Passing vehicle opened fire towards a bus stop near Jerusalem. IDF forces fired towards vehicle.
- 30 October – 2 Israeli civilians injured in stabbing attack in Jerusalem. Assailant shot on site.
Throughout October, 817 violent demonstrations were recorded as well as 851 stone throwing and 377 molotov cocktail incidents in which one Israeli was killed.
- 1 November – 3 Israelis injured in car ramming attack in Hebron.
- 2 November – 3 Israelis injured in stabbing attack near Rishon Lezion Central Bus Station. Attacker apprehended.
- 2 November – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Netanya. Assailant shot on site.
- 4 November – Israeli civilian injured in car ramming attack near Hebron.
- 6 November – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack outside supermarket in Sha’ar Binyamin.
- 6 November – 2 duel American-Israeli citizens injured in shooting attack while visiting Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
- 6 November – Israeli soldier severely injured in shooting attack near Hebron. Assailant apprehended.
- 8 November – 3 Israelis injured in car ramming at Tapuah Junction. Assailant shot on site.
- 8 November – Israeli injured in stabbing attack near Jerusalem. Assailant shot on site.
- 8 November – Israeli injured in stabbing attack near Alfei Menashe.
- 9 October, a Jewish teen with psychiatric history in Dimona stabbed a Bedouin citizen of Israel and three Palestinian workers and injured them.
- 10 November – Israeli injured in stabbing attack on Jerusalem Light Rail. Two assailants apprehended.
- 13 November – 2 Israeli civilians killed & 1 wounded in shooting attack near Hebron.
- 13 October in Kiryat Ata a Jewish man was stabbed several times by another Jew who had mistaken him for an Arab. Upon trying to then flee the scene, the man was shot at by a security guard and was eventually arrested for questioning. The shot grazed a passer-by.
- 17 November – Shots fired at IDF patrol near Ramallah. 1 assailant shot on site, 2 others apprehended.
- 19 November – 2 Israelis killed and 1 injured in stabbing attack in Tel Aviv. Assailant apprehended.
- 19 November – Palestinian assailant opened fire and rammed his vehicle against Israelis at Gush Etzion Junction, killing 3 people, including a U.S. citizen. Assailant apprehended.
- 21 November – 4 Israelis injured in a stabbing attack in Kiryat Gat. Assailant apprehended.
- 22 November – Israeli civilian killed in stabbing attack at Gush Etzion Junction. Assailant on site.
- 23 November – 70-year-old man and 27-year-old man injured in stabbing attack in Central Jerusalem. 2 assailants shot on site.
- 23 November – Israeli civilian injured in car ramming attack near Nablus.
- 23 November – IDF soldier killed and IDF officer injured in stabbing attack at gas station on Route 443 near Modiin.
- 24 November – 4 Israeli security personnel injured in car ramming at Tapuah Junction. Assailant shot and apprehended.
- 25 November – IDF soldier severely wounded in stabbing attack near Hebron. Assailant shot and arrested.
- 27 November – 2 soldiers injured in car ramming attack at bus station near Jerusalem. Assailant shot before causing further damage.
- 28 November – 6 soldiers injured in car ramming attack near Hebron. Assailant shot.
- 29 November – Border Policeman injured in stabbing attack near Old City of Jerusalem. Assailant shot and killed.
- 29 November – Woman injured in stabbing attack at bus stop in Jerusalem.
- 3 December – Soldier and pedestrian wounded after gunman opened fire at checkpoint near Jerusalem. Assailant shot.
- 3 December – Police officer stabbed near Old City of Jerusalem. Assailant shot.
- 3 December – Attacker opened fire at Israeli vehicle near Ramallah.
- 4 December – Two assailants stabbed and wounded soldier in Hebron. Assailants shot.
- 4 December – Attacker stabbed soldier during security check near Ramallah. Assailant shot.
- 4 December – 2 soldiers injured in car ramming attack near Ramallah. Attacker shot.
- 6 December – 21-year-old assailant rammed his vehicle into 2 pedestrians and proceeded to leave car and stab a police officer in Jerusalem. Assailant shot.
- 7 December – Israeli civilian severely wounded in stabbing attack in Hebron. Assailant shot on sight.
- 9 December – Two Israeli civilians injured in stabbing.
- 1 January – A Israeli Arab gunman opened fire on several businesses on Dizengoff Street, in Tel Aviv, killing two people and injuring seven others. He also killed a taxi driver while fleeing.
- 5 January – A 15-year-old Palestinian boy was killed after attempting to stab an Israeli soldier near Gush Etzion junction in southern Bethlehem.
- 17 January – A woman was killed in stabbing attack in her home in the Israeli settlement of Otniel, south of Hebron city.
- 18 January – A pregnant woman was stabbed in the Jewish settlement of Tekoa, south of Jerusalem
- 23 January – A 13-year-old Palestinian girl shot dead after stab attempt.
- 25 January – A woman was killed and another wounded in stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement Beit Horon.
- 27 January – A man was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in Givat Ze'ev
- 30 January – A teenage boy was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City
- 31 January – A Palestinian police officer shoots three soldiers at a check point near Ramallah before being shot and killed
- 3 February – Three Palestinian assailants launched a shooting and stabbing attack near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, killing one policewoman, seriously injuring another, and lightly injuring a civilian, before being shot and killed by other security forces at the scene.
- 3 February – Two Hamas militants die after a tunnel they were digging from the Gaza Strip into Israel collapses.
- 4 February – Stabbing attack in Ramle – one Israeli wounded by Arab teens
- 6 February – Stabbing attack in Rahat – one Israeli wounded
- 7 February – Stabbing attack in Ashkelon – one IDF soldier wounded
- 8 February – Stabbing attack in Ramle – one Israeli wounded
- 9 February – Attempted stabbing attack in Carmei Tzur and in Jerusalem
- 9 February – Stabbing attack in Nev'e Daniel – one Israeli wounded
- 13 February – Stabbing attack in Hebron - one bystander wounded
- 13 February – Three Border Policemen injured in car-ramming attack near Ma'aleh Adumim
- 14 February – Shooting attack near Hinanit
- 14 February – Attempted stabbing attack near Jerusalem
- 14 February – Attempted stabbing attack in Hebron
- 14 February – Shooting attack in Beit El
- 14 February – Shooting attack in Jerusalem
- 15 February – Attempted stabbing attack in Jerusalem
- 18 February – One Israeli stabbed to death by two Arab teenagers, and one injured in a stabbing attack at the Sha'ar Binyamin Industrial Zone.
Between 8–9 March there were six Palestinian attacks against Israelis inside the Green Line and East Jerusalem. In these attacks 1 civilian was killed while 6 perpetraters were shot dead by security forces. A total of 15 were injured. These include:
On 8 March, an American MBA student on a study trip to Israel was killed, and 10 other people injured (including the pregnant wife of the American MBA student) when a 22 year old Palestinian from the village of Kalandiya went on a stabbing spree in the port city of Jaffa. Four of the injured were reported as serious. That same day two Israeli police officers were wounded by an Arab gunman outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem and an Israeli man was moderately wounded in a stabbing attack in Petah Tikva. The victim managed to remove the knife from his neck and stabbed the assailant to death. On 9 March, a 50 year old Palestinian man from Beit Hanina injured in his vehicle near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem when two Palestinian assailants from Kafr Aqab shot at him. Police shot and killed the two assailants.
Throughout March 2016, 1 American citizen was killed and 26 Israelis were injured. The Shin Bet recorded 4 attacks from the Gaza Strip: 2 rocket shooting (a total of 5 rockets were shot); 2 small arms shootings, 117 attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem: 6 shootings (2 in Jerusalem); 9 I.E.D; 6 stabbings (1 in Jerusalem); 2 vehicular; 1 attempted attack and 92 firebomb (33 in Jerusalem) attacks.
Escalation in June and July 2016
On 8 June 2016, two Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a Max Brenner Cafe in the Sarona Market, killing four people and injuring seven others. Both of the attackers, cousins from the Palestinian city of Yatta, south of Hebron claimed in investigation that they were inspired by the Islamic State and Hamas. Israeli government response was to suspend 83,000 Palestinian entry permits to visit families in Israel for the Ramadan were suspended following the attack, a move that was described as "collective punishment" by Knesset member Haneen Zoabi and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. The IDF imposed a closure over the entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the wake of the attack, which was scheduled to end on 11 June after the end of Jewish holiday of Shavuot Palestinian Media, Hamas and PIJ celebrated the attack.
On 30 June a 17-year-old Palestinian stabbed and killed Hallel Yaffa Ariel while she was sleeping in her bedroom in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. The assailant was fatally shot by security guards. That same day, a Palestinian assailant stabbed two Israeli civilians in Natanya, north of Tel Aviv and was shot dead by an armed civilian. On 1 July Palestinian gunmen fired at an Israeli family vehicle south to Hebron causing it to flip over. The father of the family died while his wife and two daughters were injured. PIJ said in a statement that: "the escalation in attacks against settlers reflects the persistence of the Palestinian intifada to continue"
Throughout June 2016, 5 Israelis and 6 Palestinians were killed, while 21–30 Israelis and 167 Palestinians were wounded. The Shin Bet recorded 1 attack from the Gaza Strip (small arms shooting), 100 attacks from the West Bank and East Jerusalem: 10 I.E.D (Pipe bombs and an improvised grenade); 2 small armes shooting; 1 stabbing; 1 vehicular and 86 firebomb (29 in Jeruslaem) attacks, and 2 attacks inside the Green Line (in Tel Aviv and Natanya). 1 Jewish attack was recorded: Two vehicles were set on fire and three were sprayed with anti-Arab hate speech in Nazareth and Yafa an-Naseriyye (in northern Israel).
Claims of extrajudicial killings and use of excessive force by Israeli security personnel
Human rights organisations such as B'Tselem and Amnesty International, and Palestinian leaders including Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, have alleged that the shooting of a number of alleged assailants constitutes extrajudicial killing.
On 22 September, Palestinain woman Hadeel al-Hashlamon was killed at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron while on her way to school. The official account of the Israeli Defense Forces was that al-Hashlamon had a knife and was shot whilst attempting to stab a soldier. However, eyewitness reports were conflicted as to whether or not she held a knife; the Army has refused to release video recordings of the shooting. Amnesty International published a report stating that evidence showed the shooting of al-Hashlamon was an extrajudicial killing. Around a month after the beginning of the October escalation, the IDF released a report, saying the operating soldiers could have neutralized Hadeel without killing her but the army decided not to charge the soldiers. According to some Palestinians, this incident marks the start of the escalation in violence.
In a B'Tselem report from 16 December 2015, the human rights' organization listed twelve incidents in which Israeli soldiers and other security forces allegedly used excessive force against Palestinians, by shooting the assailants or suspected assailants even after they no longer posed any danger. B'Tselem has accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of overseeing a "new pseudo-normative reality" in which a "shoot to kill" approach should always be adopted by police officers or armed civilians regarding suspected Palestinian assailants.
In February 2016, Defence for Children International accused the Israeli army of the intentional killing of Palestinian children in the West Bank. It said that the army has killed more than 180 Palestinians since the escalation in October 2015, including 49 children. It said: “Repeated killing and shooting of children by Israeli army, and preventing paramedics from offering medical aid to them is considered a form of extrajudicial killing”.
In a poll done by the Israel Democracy Institute, a majority of Jewish Israelis (53%) said they agreed with the statement that "any Palestinian who has perpetrated a terror attack against Jews should be killed on the spot."
Hebron shooting incident
On 24 March 2016, two Palestinian assailants stabbed an Israeli soldier and moderately wounded him in Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron. Both assailants were shot by Israeli soldiers. One of the assailants died and the other, Abed al Fatah a-Sharif, remained badly wounded. A video published by B'tselem showing an IDF medic aiming weapon at motionless a-Sharif lying on the ground, and shooting him in the head went viral on Israeli social media, sparking controversy. The video prompted the IDF to launch an investigation into what it said was “a very grave” incident. The soldier was initially treated as a murder suspect, but on 31 March prosecutors told a court they were looking into manslaughter charges. The initial investigation found that the shooting occurred three minutes after IDF soldiers shot and neutralized the knife-wielding assailants and pathologists ruled that his shot was responsible for the assailant's death and not his previous wounds. The soldier’s attorney has claimed he feared the assailant had an explosive vest hidden under his shirt and could have used it to kill the people surrounding him but IDF officials rejected the claim saying the assailants had already been checked for explosives, and the soldier did not follow the procedures for such concerns before opening fire. The soldier also claimed several times during the investigation that the assailant tried to reach for a knife that was 'within reach' of him, while the documentation in the video presents a different situation, in which the knife was a significant distance away from the assailant, who was in serious condition as it is." The soldier’s shooting drew widespread condemnation, including from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called it a violation of the army’s ethical code. Ya'alon said "The incident is highly severe, and completely contrary to the IDF's values and its combat morals. We must not allow, even as our blood boils, such a loss of faculties and control. This incident will be dealt with in the strictest manner." IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Moti Almoz said it was "a very severe incident. This is not the IDF culture or the Jewish people's culture." The controversy turned into a bitter political debate, splitting Israel’s rightwing government and inspiring demonstrations in Ramle and Beit Shemesh in support for the soldier. The soldier whose name was not officially revealed, has also attracted widespread support on Israeli social media with more than 13,000 people joining Facebook support groups and another 50,000 signing a petition backing his actions. Supporters of the soldier posted a video online of the moments before the shooting, which they say shows supports the soldier’s claim that he feared the assailant may have had an explosive device. The two most prominent figures who have given vocal support to the soldier and his family have been the far-right Israeli education minister, Naftali Bennett, whose "The Jewish Home" party organised the demonstration in the city of Ramle, and the former foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman. Israeli lawmakers from the center-left reacted harshly, warning of the dangers of moral decline and of loose rules of engagement in the military. The military prosecution announced on 14 April that the soldier will be charged with manslaughter. An IDF document leaked to Vice News described that the soldier had actually killed the Palestinian knifer because he thought he "needed to die" since he was a terrorist. It also stated that he had changed his version of events during his questioning.
Events described as a potential Third Intifada
In 2008, Al Jazeera reported that Hamas leadership had called for a Third Intifada, but analysts have observed that these calls never came to fruition. Some commentators have suggested that the Silent Intifada, a term used to describe a period of increased violence during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, was in fact a Third Intifada. Other sources have identified a period of renewed violence in September and October 2015 as a potential Third Intifada, but the Palestinian leadership has refrained from calling these events a Third Intifada. Nohad Ali, a sociologist from the University of Haifa, also suggested that the events in October 2015 were not a Third Intifada. Other commentators also note that the 2015 events are different from previous Intifadas because the uprising lacks both an organizational framework under an acknowledged political leadership and a clear set of goals. It has also been noted that the events of the first two weeks in October were mainly restricted to Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, and did not reflect general participation from the West Bank as in earlier Intifadas.
The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously called on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel. Eliot Engel said that "This wave of violence isn’t some random flare-up. It’s the product of years and years of anti-Israel propaganda and indoctrination — some of which has been actively promoted by Palestinian Authority officials and institutions." A Shin Bet senior officer said that much of the incitement is coming from Hamas.
On 14 October Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian media claimed that 13-year-old Ahmed Manasra, who was documented committing an attack in Pisgat Ze'ev this week, had been "executed" by Israel, but Dr. Asher Salmon, the deputy director of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, said Thursday that the boy was alive and was in light-to-moderate condition. Photos of Manasra from the hospital were released to support those statements. In an English translation of Abbas' speech released by the PLO, however, the Palestinian President was quoted as saying Israel "shoots" Palestinian children in cold blood "as they did with the child Ahmed Manasra," replacing the word "executions" with more moderate language. Actually, while Manasra's cousin Hassan was shot to death, Ahmed was not shot – he was hit by an Israeli vehicle, suffering a head injury.
Glorification of attacks
On 6 October, Sultan Abu Al-Einein, Mahmoud Abbas' adviser, explicitly glorified the attacks on his Facebook page. He called the Lions' Gate stabbings which left two dead and two wounded including a two-year-old child, a "heroic operation". He also posted a picture of the stabber, and "saluting" those "protecting Jerusalem" he wrote: "Kiss their foreheads, and do not forget their hands".
On 17 October, Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian Authority ruling party Fatah said in an interview that "These are clearly individual operations, but they require heroism, courage, and a value system, which forces the Palestinian elite and the Palestinian national forces to see in the final words of one of those heroes, written in a blog, a document that could be taught in schools in a lesson about the meaning of martyrdom..."
Incitement by the Islamic State
While the threat of border clashes with Islamic State terrorists fighting in the Syrian civil war has concerned Israeli leaders for some time now, the recruitment of Israeli Arabs to form their own terror cells or launch lone wolf attacks inside of Israel — akin to the Paris or San Bernardino attacks late in 2015 — has recently become a more serious threat for the Jewish state.
According to a cyber-security expert opinion of INSS, the a new trend started during the "wave of terror" in Israel, with the Islamic State organization flooding social media platforms with messages tailored to Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
The Shin Bet security service announced that the terrorists, who murdered four people at Tel Aviv tourist attraction, were inspired by the Islamic State group. Reportedly, this confirmed the assessment, previously made by Palestinian security services on the night of the attack. Following the June 2016 Tel Aviv shooting, Israeli newspaper "Haaretz", wrote that first signs emerged of ISIS-inspired lone-wolf terrorism in Israel.
Politicians and government officials
Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour said of the cycle of violence and retaliation that the situation was "extremely dangerous" and accused "extremists on the Israeli side" of seeking to "impose a Jewish presence" at the Temple Mount. He warned that such attempts would cause a religious confrontation that would have "ramifications in all corners of the Middle East and beyond. Religious confrontation is what ISIS is dreaming of."
After a death on the night of Rosh Hashanah in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held an emergency meeting to decide on new legislation for minimum sentences for stone throwers, heavy fines on parents whose children threw stones and the use of multiple sniper fire Ruger 10/22 against rioters throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. A pay increase for border police throughout Jerusalem and the calling up reserve forces of police and Border Guard forces was also enacted by the security cabinet. Netanyahu later accused Arabs, especially the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Movement in Israel of inciting and fanning flames, while prohibiting all Members of Knesset (MK's) from going to the Temple Mount, although some Jewish and Arab Joint List MK's said they would ignore the rulings.
The mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat encouraged "licensed gun owners to carry their weapons to increase security" and compared it to "military reserve duty." Later the mayors office commented that "Many terror attacks in Jerusalem have been prevented or neutralized due to the quick actions and response of responsible bystanders", and Netanyahu said that "Civilians are at the forefront of the war against terrorism and must also be on maximum alert".
Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat's advocacy for licensed gun owners to carry firearms for security reasons was read as a "declaration of war" on all the city's Palestinian residents by the Palestinian official for Jerusalem, Adnan Husseini.
On 20 October, Israeli troops rearrested Hassan Yousef, a senior Hamas figure in the West Bank, accusing him of "fermenting violence and conflict against Israel among the Palestinian public."
According to policy makers in the Israeli security apparatus, there is a correlation between the knife attacks and a dramatic drop in suicides within Palestinian society since the onset of the attacks in late 2015. They think that this factor is a crucial element for understanding what motivates some of the attacks, by teenagers of both sexes from problematical homes, for women accused of dishonouring their families and with people suffering from mental disabilities. By unsheathing knives, they secure themselves a martyr's death.
France – France called for the placing of international observers to the Temple Mount in October 2015 in order to preserve the status quo. Israel however rejected it, saying that that action would violate the said status quo.
Germany – Angela Merkel met with Benjamin Netanyahu on 21 October to discuss the wave of violence. She said that Germany expects Mahmoud Abbas "to condemn everything that constitutes an act of terror. One can’t have open talks with Israel if this does not happen." She also said that "young Palestinians need a perspective and unilateral steps are not helpful".
Jordan – After talks with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron, King Abdullah II warned Israel, on 9 September, that "any more provocation in Jerusalem will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel. Jordan will not have a choice but to take actions, unfortunately."
United States – State Department spokesman John Kirby, on 9 September, condemned "all acts of violence" at the Temple Mount – and called on Israel not to lift restrictions for Jewish visitors. "The United States is deeply concerned by the recent violence and escalating tensions surrounding the Haram al-Sharif Temple Mount. We strongly condemn all acts of violence. It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserve unchanged the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif Temple Mount, in word and in practice." He added that all sides should "exercise restraint."
In a joint statement with the Israeli NGO B'tselem, Amnesty International stated that in some instances Israeli forces have engaged in extrajudicial killings, which Israeli politicians are accused of openly endorsing as a response to Palestinians merely suspected by police of terrorist intentions of unarmed civilians. Prime Minister Netanyahu made a point of saying when the US killed the San Bernardino shooters, nobody said they were extrajudicial killings. He then explained how Israel is unfairly criticized. Human Rights Watch, raising the possibility that Israel may be engaged in violations of international law, has expressed concern over what it calls Israel's "indiscriminate and even deliberate" shooting of protesters.
- Silent Intifada (2014)
- 2015 in Israel
- Palestinian political violence
- Racism in Israel
- Racism in Palestine
- Settler violence
- Temple Mount entry restrictions
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