Violence between Israelis and Palestinians intensifies as on Thursday three Israelis, a Palestinian and an American teenager died in two separate attacks.
Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that yesterday was the most lethal day since the beginning of the current tide of violence 50 days ago.
The Associated Press reported that the two attacks were carried out by Palestinians in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem. At the first attack, a knife-wielding man stabbed and killed two Israelis in an Israeli commercial centre in Tel Aviv. Hours later, a Palestinian motorist opened fire on a line of cars stuck in traffic in Gush Etzion, an area south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. The motorist then drove his vehicle to pedestrians. That attack killed three people, a Palestinian man, an 18-year-old American and an Israeli.
The young American, Ezra Schwartz, was studying in Israel. According to the Israeli Government Press Office, Schwartz studied in a Jewish seminary outside Jerusalem and had come to the country on Masa, a program that brings young Jews from abroad to live in the country.
“Ezra came to Israel not only to study but also to be a part of the vibrant Israeli experience. This makes his death even more tragic,” said Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency, which works closely with the government to promote Jewish immigration to Israel.
Overall, according to AP, the Palestinian attacks have claimed the lives of 17 Israelis since the start of the Israeli Palestinian clashes. Moreover, at least 84 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.
UN official says a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine would help curb terrorism
On 19 November, Special Coordinator on the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the UN Security Council, that “establishing a Palestinian state, while addressing Israel’s substantial security concerns, would yield major dividends not only for Israelis and Palestinians alike, but for the entire region.”
Mladenov, spoke to the Council via videoconference, and called on all parties to implement steps to end the violence, including “immediate efforts by all political, religious and community leaders to stop the hate-fuelled incitement that glorifies the murder of Jews or that brands all Palestinians as terrorists.”
The status quo on the major religious site in Jerusalem that houses the El Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, known as Haram-Al Sharif to Muslims and the Temple Mount to Jews, must be maintained, he said, and Israel must address the apparent impunity for settler violence against Palestinians.
He also called for bolstering security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to prevent any further deterioration of the situation, and said the use of firearms by Israeli security forces should be employed only when less extreme means are insufficient to address an imminent threat of death or serious injury.
“Dealing with the threats that kill the prospect of a two-state solution is also critical,” Mladenov warned, voicing concern at the recent Israeli decision to issue tenders for 436 housing units in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo, the first such announcement in over a year.
The UN official called on the Security Council to provide additional guidance on developing a new peace architecture for resolving the conflict.
“I refuse to be convinced that Israelis and Palestinians want to live ‘by the sword’ and in a state of perpetual violence,” he concluded. “We owe it to the many Palestinians and Israelis who, despite endless setbacks and disappointments, have continued to maintain hope that negotiated peace can be realised.