Car Rams Israeli Soldiers, Palestinians Killed in Post-Trump Plan Violence

(Bloomberg) -- Simmering tensions over the Trump administration’s proposal for Middle East peace erupted into deadly violence on Thursday, with three Arabs killed and more than a dozen Israeli security personnel wounded in a spate of back-to-back confrontations.

It was the deadliest day since the plan was unveiled after a long delay last week, and the Israeli army reinforced its combat troops in the West Bank as the spike generated fears of broader and fiercer violence. The Palestinians have rejected the plan out of hand because it dismisses many of their cherished dreams, including sovereignty over all of the West Bank and the eastern sector of Jerusalem.

Two of the incidents took place in the contested city. In the first, a driver plowed his car into a group of Israeli soldiers headed to a swearing-in ceremony, seriously injuring one. Later in the day, an Israeli Arab man was shot dead after opening fire on border police in the Old City.

In the West Bank city of Jenin, Israeli forces who had gone in to demolish a house belonging to a militant were attacked by gunmen and protesters hurling firebombs, and opened fire in response, killing an assailant, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said. Palestinian media said the dead man was a police cadet.

A second Palestinian man was also shot and killed in Jenin clashes, Palestinian media reported.

The frictions over the Trump plan first turned deadly on Wednesday, when Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes with protesters in the West Bank town of Hebron. In all, three Palestinians have been killed since the proposal’s Jan. 28 release.

The plan’s tilt in Israel’s favor has touched off low-level protests across the West Bank, where some demonstrators have assaulted Israeli security forces with rocks and firebombs. Rocket and mortar attacks from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip have also multiplied, as has the launching of balloons carrying explosive devices across the border into southern Israel.

Israel has responded with airstrikes on the militant group’s facilities, and reduced the zone in the Mediterranean Sea available to Gaza fisherman. The violence from Gaza comes amid efforts in recent months to reach a more durable cease-fire.

Israelis and Palestinians are also facing off on the economic front in a showdown that predated the Trump plan. A Palestinian ban on importing Israeli calves, an apparent step toward reducing dependence on the Israeli economy, has widened to include a two-way produce boycott.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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