Israel has started deploying soldiers to cities in an effort to quell escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
NPR’s Emily Harris reports that in recent weeks, at least seven Israelis and more than two dozen Palestinians have been killed.
As The Associated Press reports, the deployment comes after a particularly bloody day in Jerusalem in which Palestinians killed three Israelis.
The AP adds:
“The government has thus far been unable to stop the violence, carried out mostly by young Palestinians unaffiliated with known militant groups and apparently acting on their own.
“Israeli security officials, however, said Tuesday’s seemingly coordinated attacks indicated that the outburst of violence was starting to take on a more organized fashion, from groups behind the planning and those carrying out attacks. The officials, speaking anonymously according to regulations, said Israel expects the current wave to last at least a few more weeks.
“The attacks have caused panic in Israel and raised fears that the region is on the cusp of a new round of heavy violence.”
Emily says the deployment was authorized by Israel’s security cabinet, which also authorized police to close off sections of Jerusalem that are “deemed to be centers of friction, potentially Palestinian neighborhoods. But critics say this could also create additional friction and instead raise tensions.”
The Washington Post reports that this most recent escalation in violence has been sparked in part by “Palestinian resentment over restricted access to the compound at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City.”
According to the newspaper’s count, eight Israelis and 28 Palestinians have been killed in the past two weeks. Israelis tell the Post that 12 of those Palestinians attacked Israelis; the others have died in clashes with Israeli forces.
The Post adds:
“In an attempt to restore calm, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that he would visit the region soon, an announcement received with mixed feelings in Israel after he linked the uptick in violence by Palestinians to an increase in settlement construction.
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also said that Israel was making the situation worse, criticizing excessive force by Israeli security forces.
“Palestinian leader and former peace negotiator Saeb Erekat blamed the Israelis for the escalation. He asserted that Israel’s 48-year military occupation of the West Bank has spread ‘a culture of hate and racism that justifies atrocities, including collective punishment.’ ”