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World

Israel Steps Up Security Amid Increasing Violence In Jerusalem

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories continued today. This despite the fact that the Israeli government is taking new steps to stop it, including setting up roadblocks and deploying soldiers to back up the police. NPR's Emily Harris begins our coverage from Jerusalem.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: A crane unloads big concrete blocks and lines them up, closing a road to the East Jerusalem neighborhood where police say several recent Palestinian attackers have come from. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld says roadblocks are one key measure to bring recent violence under control.

MICKY ROSENFELD: No cars will be coming in and out of this entrance, only from other entrances and, therefore, have more control of the situation of who is coming in and from where in order to prevent those attacks from happening.

HARRIS: But human rights groups say roadblocks smack of collective punishment. Sari Bashi with Human Rights Watch also raises concerns about government plans to take away residency rights of convicted attackers and to destroy attackers' family homes but not permit their families to rebuild.

SARI BASHI: It is punishing the family members of those who carried out attacks who have no responsibility whatsoever for those attacks, and it's against international law.

HARRIS: But Israeli officials say families and Palestinian society do encourage attacks by calling those who do them martyrs and heroes. Dore Gold, director of Israel's foreign ministry, says that the new government actions to fight the recent rise in violence are fair, defensive measures.

DORE GOLD: Israel will adopt the measures that are necessary to bring quiet. We have to bring this violence to an end quickly.

HARRIS: In violence today, police say one Israeli woman was injured in a stabbing, and a similar attack was thwarted. Both suspected Palestinian attackers were shot and killed. Emily Harris, NPR News, Jerusalem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.