10/19/2015, 00.00
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
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As a barrier goes up dividing Jews and Palestinians in Jerusalem, more deaths ensue in Israel

Six freestanding concrete slabs separate the Palestinian district of Jabal Mukaber from the Jewish settlement of Armon Hanatziv. For Israeli authorities, this is a temporary security measure without “political meaning”. In Beersheba (southern Israel), attack leaves three dead, including an Eritrean migrant, mistaken for a terrorist. Netanyahu opposes an international presence on the Esplanade.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israeli authorities have begun erecting a barrier between two East Jerusalem neighbourhoods. Following the government ‘s decision, work began yesterday to put up six freestanding concrete slabs, each about five metres tall and marked ‘Temporary portable police barricade’.

More than two weeks after the start of the ‘stabbing intifada,’ which has already caused more than 40 deaths among Palestinians and seven among Israelis, Israeli authorities have erected a barrier in East Jerusalem, to separate it from Jewish Jerusalem.

For the first time since 1967, a barrier will divide Jerusalem, which is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. However, “This has no political meaning,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahson said. “It’s one more aspect of our security measures.”

According to local media, the barrier will run some dozens of metres and will be removed when the violence ends.

Like the one in the West Bank, the concrete barrier is designed to stop people in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Jabal Mukaber from throwing stones and Molotov against the nearby Jewish settlement of Armon Hanatziv.

Meanwhile, tensions remain high in Israel, as "lone wolves" continue to carrying out attacks and engage in gunfights with police.

The latest incident took place yesterday at Beersheba bus station, southern Israel. Three people died: the Israeli Arab attacker, a 19-year-old Israeli soldier and a 29-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker, Habtom Zerhom. At least ten people were wounded, including five police agents.

“Terrorists arrived at the central station fence and began shooting and stabbing people. They were Palestinian terrorists,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

In reality, there was only one attacker, Mohannad Al-Oqbi, from the town of Hura, which is near Beersheba in the Negev desert, not a Palestinian from the West Bank or the Occupied Territories.

Initially, police had reported a second attacker, but later announced that he was in fact an Eritrean asylum seeker, mistakenly shot by security after he began running when mayhem broke out. As he lay on the ground wounded, he was attacked by a mob that tried to lynch him. He died in hospital a few hours later.

In Tel Aviv,  local authorities banned cleaners and maintenance workers from schools during school hours fearing possible attacks.

Meanwhile, in Nablus, Palestinian police rescued youth from a Talmudic orthodox school from an angry mob set on lynching them. The students wanted to reach the recently attacked "Joseph's Tomb" without authorisation or escort.

Palestinians accuse Israel of seeking to change the "status quo" on the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem in order to allow Jews to pray on what, according to Jewish tradition, is Temple Mount.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected some accusations, as well as a French proposal at the UN Security Council for an international presence on the site.

Responding to the latter, the Israeli government summoned the French ambassador in Israel for "clarifications". According to local sources, the proposal has "enraged" the Israeli prime minister.

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