Israeli troops killed a Palestinian who they said tried to stab a soldier in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the latest in a months-long series of attacks that Israel’s defense minister described as declining.
The violence since October, with almost daily stabbings, shootings and other attacks by Palestinians targeting Israelis, has been fueled in part by Palestinian frustration at failed statehood talks and a dispute over a Jerusalem holy site, with Muslims angered by perceived Jewish encroachment.
The man shot dead near Hebron on Thursday brought the number of Palestinians killed since Oct. 1 to at least 144. Israel says 92 of these were assailants, while most of the others died in clashes with Israeli security forces.
Palestinian attacks have killed 24 Israelis and a U.S. citizen over the same period.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel had prevented the violence from escalating into an armed Palestinian revolt with preemptive raids and arrests, and he predicted that the grassroots violence would stop.
“We are managing to foil plans by the organizations, the terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to carry out attacks. If it were up to them, there would be suicide bombings and gun attacks here every day,” Yaalon told Israel Radio.
“The fact that we are succeeding lends salience to the attempted stabbing or car-ramming attacks. We will also prevail over this phenomenon, I say, but this is a process that takes time. Statistically, we see a waning of this.”
Sweden’s foreign minister has called for an independent investigation into whether Israel has carried out extrajudicial killings of Palestinians, pointing to the high number of attackers, and suspected attackers, shot dead.
In response, Israel summoned the Swedish ambassador on Wednesday, saying it was “enraged” at the comments by Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom.
Israeli energy minister Yuval Steinitz went as far as to call Wallstrom “anti-semitic, whether consciously or not”, and Israel’s deputy foreign minister has said Israel will “close its gates” to officials from Sweden.