Wave of terror attacks widens gulf between Israeli, Palestinian authorities

Read the Full Transcript

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    We return now to the recent wave of attacks in the Middle East.

    Earlier today, the Islamic State group posted a video calling on Palestinians to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians. Meanwhile, on the ground, tensions remain high after a weekend of more deaths.

    Special correspondent Martin Seemungal from Jerusalem.

  • And a warning:

    This story contains graphic images.

  • MARTIN SEEMUNGAL:

    Israelis woke up this morning to another barrage of violence in the news, a terror attack the night before, this time at a bus station in the southern town of Beersheba. An Israeli Arab Bedouin armed with a pistol shot and killed an Israeli soldier, then grabbed his assault rifle and opened fire, injuring several people in the station, before being shot and killed himself.

  • MICKY ROSENFELD, Spokesman, Israeli Police:

    We have six people that were injured, four of them being police officers injured inside the Central Bus Station.

  • MARTIN SEEMUNGAL:

    A security guard at the station also shot this man, thinking he was a terrorist. An angry mob attacked him while he was on the ground. He turned out to be innocent, an Eritrean asylum seeker, 29-year-old Haftom Zarhum.

    That fury is driven by a deep and growing fear among Israelis. In East Jerusalem, the epicenter of the recent wave of terror, police and army continued to escalate their security presence, setting up roadblocks at the exit points of several Arab areas.

    Jabel Mukaber is the most extreme example of Israel's determination to fight this recent wave of terror. There are army checkpoints all around and they are in the process of building a wall to separate the Arab village from the Jewish neighborhoods on the other side.

    The Palestinians view the operation as a form of collective punishment.

    Thaer Oraga says it only makes people here angry.

    THAER ORAGA, Jabal Mukabir resident: All the people make attack from Jabel Mukaber? I am guilty? I am guilty of the attacks? No.

  • MAN:

    I don't think so, not at all. This doesn't prevent attacks. This just leads to extremism, I think. It doesn't lead to peace.

  • MARTIN SEEMUNGAL:

    The Jewish town is called Armon HaNetziv. David Dahan says the wall and the extra security is necessary.

    DAVID DAHAN, Armon Hanatziv resident: Whatever they need to do, they should do. You know, if it's to check them every morning, it's something that should be done. It's not optimal to live when you are checked every day, but if it's good for the security, they should do so.

  • MARTIN SEEMUNGAL:

    The fiery attack recently on Joseph's Tomb near Nablus also inflamed tensions. Some of the young Palestinians who carried out the attack were arrested by Palestinian security forces. But Nabil Shaath, a senior member of the ruling Fatah Party in the West Bank, says it is becoming increasingly difficult to control young Palestinians there.

    NABIL SHAATH, Senior Advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: What can you do? If the occupier doesn't take the first step, there is no way you can stop it. I am telling you this with alarm, with grief.

  • MARTIN SEEMUNGAL:

    Palestinian anger is fueled by a belief that Israel intends to change the status quo involving the Al-Aqsa Mosque located in the area Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. Jews call it the Temple Mount. Jews can visit the Temple Mount, but by agreement cannot pray there.

    Reported attempts by right-wing Jews to pray have triggered clashes. Israel's prime minister has asked Jewish leaders not to visit while tensions are high.

    Dore Gold is the director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry with close ties to Netanyahu.

    DORE GOLD, Director-General, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: We are not taking measures against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. That is a total lie that is extremely dangerous.

  • MARTIN SEEMUNGAL:

    The gulf between the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, and Netanyahu's government grows wider every day.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is now stepping in.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: You have to sit down and talk to each other in order to explore those kinds of possibilities. So, I don't enter this discussion with a specific expectation, except to try to understand better for all of us.

  • MARTIN SEEMUNGAL:

    Kerry is expected to meet Netanyahu in Germany on Thursday, and Abbas in Jordan over the weekend.

    Reporting from Jerusalem, I'm Martin Seemungal for the PBS NewsHour.

  • Editor’s note:

    The transcript accidentally identified the attacker as an Israeli Arab veteran. He was an Israeli Arab Bedouin. We regret the error.

Listen to this Segment