Statements from the U.S. State Department that Israel might be using “excessive force” to confront a wave of stabbing attacks have generated a storm of criticism by senior Israeli officials as tensions escalate between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters after two weeks of clashes.
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon accused Washington of "misreading" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arguing that shooting “knife-wielding Palestinians” was self-defense, while Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called the U.S. remarks "foolish," Reuters reported.
However, it’s not only Washington that considers Israel’s response to attacks and protests by Palestinians excessive. The United Nations envoy in Palestine, Riyad Mansour, said last Thursday that the Palestinian Authority asked the organization to consider deploying a protection force in occupied East Jerusalem to help quell violence.
Mansour added that situation was "very explosive" and that the Security Council must find ways of "providing protection" to the Palestinians. Officials say at least 32 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israelis from Oct. 1. Seven Israelis have reportedly died in the same period.
Meanwhile, deadly clashes continue between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in the occupied territories. Analysts have warned of a possible third “Intifada" or Palestinian uprising against Israel’s regime, which has deployed a series of hash measures against civilians.
The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to travel to the region to try to calm the violence that has been further exacerbated by what Palestinians see as increased Jewish encroachment on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, a holy site revered by Muslims around the world and also respected by Jews and Christians, as well as settler harassment against Palestinians.