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With Violent Clashes On The Rise, Israel Builds Wall In East Jerusalem

Israeli border police order a Palestinian to lift his shirt at a checkpoint as he exits the Arab neighborhood of Issawiya in Jerusalem.
Mahmoud Illean
Israeli border police order a Palestinian to lift his shirt at a checkpoint as he exits the Arab neighborhood of Issawiya in Jerusalem.

Update at 6:13 p.m. ET: Deadly Attack At Israeli Bus Station

Israeli police say at least 10 people are wounded and another two are dead, after an attacker opened fire at a bus station in the southern city of Beersheba Sunday. An Israeli soldier and the gunman, an Arab attacker, according to the AP, were killed.

NPR's Emily Harris, reporting from Jerusalem, tells our Newscast unit:

"The wounded also included security forces — more have been deployed in public places. Police say the attacker in fact took a weapon from a soldier after shooting him, then used that. Images from police show windows of the bus station shot out and blood on the floor.

A bystander, an Eritrean man, was also mistakenly shot and injured by security forces, Emily says.

Our original post continues:

In a sign that tensions continue to simmer between Israelis and Palestinians, the Israeli police Sunday began erecting a concrete barrier between a Jewish and Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem, according to the Associated Press.

This comes a day after Israeli officials say five stabbing or attempted stabbings of Israelis by Palestinians assailants took place in Jerusalem and in the West Bank on Saturday. Officials say most of the people targeted appear to be members of the security forces.

At least four of the assailants were killed, according to the Washington Post.

Also taking place on Sunday, the Israeli military has removed at least 30 Jews, the AP reports, who "descended upon the Joseph's Tomb compound in Nablus, a site revered by Jews as the tomb of the biblical figure Joseph."

The wire service also reports, the Israeli military said the group had no permits to be there. When the group arrived, they were confronted by Palestinians and violent clashes erupted.

In an earlier report from Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris told our Newscast unit that Palestinians on Friday set fire to Joseph's Tomb. The shrine is in a Palestinian city in the West Bank and the Israeli government restricts Jews from praying there without protection from the military, Emily reports:

"A few days ago, Palestinians set fire to the tomb, which has also happened during tense times in the past. Palestinian security forces dispersed that crowd and put the fire out. [Saturday] night, Jewish religious students went to the tomb, without military permission. They later told Israeli police Palestinians attacked them, accusing Palestinian security forces of participating in the fight. In the end, Israeli forces detained five of the Jewish students to question them about illegally entering the area."

According to Reuters, at least four cities in Israel have temporarily banned Arab laborers from working in their schools, as the spike in Palestinian street attacks have surged in recent weeks. Reuters also reports:

"Israel's cabinet also imposed more security measures on Sunday after further Palestinian stabbings this weekend, widening police stop-and-frisk powers that will effectively allow them to search anyone on the street.

"A party representing Israel's Arab minority called the municipalities' edicts 'racist'.

"Israel's Interior Ministry, which oversees the municipalities, said it appealed to 'all mayors to continue to act with respect and equality towards all their workers, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or gender'. It did not ask them to repeal the restrictions.

"Forty-one Palestinians and seven Israelis have died in recent street violence, which was in part triggered by Palestinians' anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound."

Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Sunday he would be meeting separately with both Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the coming week. The meetings are part of the U.S. effort to restore calm.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.
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