Two attacks on Israelis were reported on Wednesday as the military deployed 300 soldiers to reinforce 4,000 police officers i cities across the country, the Associated Press reports. In east Jerusalem, authorities erected concrete barriers outside Arab neighborhoods.
Eight Israelis have been killed in attacks this month, including three on Tuesday. On Wednesday, a 70-year-old Israeli woman was stabbed a bus station in Jerusalem. The 23-year-old attacker was shot and killed. There was also an attempted attack on police officers outside the Old City. That attacker, 19 years old, was also shot and killed.
The deployment of soldiers alongside police in Israel is an apparently unprecedented move, Al Jazeera reports. “This is a conscript society, people are used to seeing people in uniform with guns walking through the streets,” Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from West Jerusalem, said. “However the formal nature of this, the fact the government has formally asked the Israeli army to provide companies is going to strike the Israeli psyche very much.”
The Israeli security cabinet also approved stripping attackers of their Jerusalem residency rights and demolition of their homes. Palestinians warned that the escalated security measures would only heighten tensions, the AP reports, calling them “collective punishment.”
From the AP:
Israel said that as part of the new measures, the bodies of dead Palestinian attackers would not be returned to their families for burial.
Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the funeral processions of Palestinians who killed Israelis often turn into “an exhibition of support for terror and incitement to murder.” He said Israel should not allow them to “enjoy respect and ceremonies” after their deaths.
The funerals are a frequent flashpoint for clashes and often include calls for revenge. Erdan suggested the attackers be buried without fanfare in distant cemeteries where Palestinian killers have previously been buried.
Besides the eight Israelis killed in a string of stabbings, shootings and the stoning of a car, 31 Palestinians also have died — 14 of them identified by Israel as attackers and the rest killed in stone-throwing clashes with Israeli forces.
“Israel is an occupier in Jerusalem. It should end its occupation. This is the key to peace and stability,” a top Palestinian official, Saeb Erekat, told the AP.
“Decisions such as the ones adopted by the Israeli Cabinet pour gasoline on the fire,” he said. “Measures of collective punishment and killings and arrests and demolishing houses and confiscation of lands will only lead to the escalation of the situation.”