The violence that has beset Israel and the West Bank over the course of the past several weeks is showing no signs of abating. Over the weekend, the death of a 22-year-old Palestinian man brought riots to Israel's north, usually an area of relative calm.
According to Israeli police, Khayr al-Din al-Hamdan was shot by Israeli forces after he approached a police van armed with a knife. Police say that they fired a warning shot, however, video footage of the episode has drawn that narrative into question and ignited claims that the police acted improperly by carrying the wounded Hamdan into a police van instead of calling for an ambulance. The police maintain they feared for their lives. On Sunday, the Israeli Justice Ministry announced an investigation into the death.
Following the incident, riots broke out across the north as well as East Jerusalem. Israeli flags were burned, roads were blocked by lit tires, and dozens of Palestinians were arrested for throwing stones. There were also protests in Tel Aviv along with a general strike in a number of communities.
The violence carried over into Monday with two separate knife attacks. Hours after an Israeli soldier was critically wounded in Tel Aviv, a 24-year-old woman was stabbed to death in the West Bank by a Palestinian attacker. Two others were injured before the assailant, who was affiliated with the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad, was shot by security forces on the scene. The man later died of his wounds.
The response from Israeli politicians varied from the muscular to the measured. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's earlier calls to strip Palestinians living in Israel of their citizenship if they call for Israel's destruction, and blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for inciting violence.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told the Israeli site Ynet that "Terror must be fought against but it must be understood that everything is connected—Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Gaza, Judea and Samaria." Meanwhile, Finance Minister Yair Lapid warned against revenge attacks: "There is no place for calls for revenge in a country which values life just as there is no place for chants of ‘Death to the Arabs.’ Instead of strengthening us at this difficult time, it weakens us.”
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