Israel Bars Palestinians from Jerusalem Old City for 2 Days
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Israeli police announced Sunday that Palestinians will be banned from entering Jerusalem's Old City for two days after two attacks in less than 12 hours that saw the killing of two Israelis and two Palestinians.
On Sunday morning, a Palestinian man was shot dead by police after he stabbed an Israeli teenager in the Bab Al-Amoud area of Jerusalem.
Earlier on Saturday night, two Israeli men were killed and a woman and her son injured in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian man in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City.
The Palestinian was identified as 19-year-old Muhannad Halabi from the city of al-Bireh in the central occupied West Bank, 15km north of Jerusalem, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday.
Israeli police said access to the Old City in East Jerusalem was now limited to residents of the area, local business owners, students who attend school in the area, Israelis and tourists.
Police said the restrictions would last for two days.
Saab Erekat, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), told Al Jazeera that the latest Palestinian violence against Israelis was a reaction to "Israel's systematic cycle of violence, its occupation and building of settlements".
"The Israeli actions are an indication that (Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin) Netanyahu is trying to avoid his obligations to end this conflict and is trying to legitimise the illegal building of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories," Erekat said.
"Netanyahu is obviously trying to copy the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's 2002 military operation 'Defensive Shield', which was the biggest Israeli offensive against the West Bank since the 1967 war."
"Netanyahu is trying to have his own 'Defensive Shield' by sealing off Jerusalem and closing off the entire West Bank, while the world is looking elsewhere in the region."
Israeli soldiers evacuated the al-Aqsa Mosque compound after arresting at least 40 worshippers following the first attack on Saturday.
Netanyahu was due to convene an emergency meeting with security officials later on Sunday, his office said, and a security cabinet meeting on Monday.
Violence has risen in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.
Israeli police and Palestinians have clashed frequently at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest site, and at other Arab parts of the city.
Palestinians have said they fear that increasing visits by Jewish groups to the compound, revered by Jews as the site of Biblical temples, are eroding Muslim religious control there.
Israel has pledged to maintain Muslim prayer rights at al-Aqsa Mosque, but, citing security concerns, has frequently banned young Muslim men from entering the area.
According to a 50-year long agreement, Jews and people of other religions are allowed to enter the compound between 7:30am and 11:30am local time, but are not allowed to pray.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, lands Israel captured in a 1967 Middle East war, for a future state.
But Israel continues to build Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, a policy deemed illegal by the UN.
The last round of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis collapsed in 2014.