JERUSALEM — Three Israelis were killed and nearly two dozen injured in a series of Palestinian attacks Tuesday, sparking calls by Israeli officials to cordon off Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and a decision by the security cabinet to place soldiers in city centers to support the police amid rising bloodshed and unrest.
Almost two weeks of daily violence, including a spate of attacks by knife-wielding Palestinian teenagers, has left Israelis deeply shaken and fearful of another sustained Palestinian uprising.
In Tuesday’s attacks, Palestinians used knives, a car, a gun and a meat cleaver to kill and injure Jewish Israelis.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli parliament: “Israel will settle the score with the murderers and those who help them. We will cut the hands of whoever tries to hurt us.”
Palestinian leader and former peace negotiator Saeb Erekat blamed the Israelis for the escalation. He asserted that Israel’s 48-year military occupation of the West Bank has spread “a culture of hate and racism that justifies atrocities, including collective punishment and coldblooded executions.”
Eight Israelis have been killed and dozens injured in the past two weeks, and at least 28 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis. According to Israeli authorities, a dozen of the slain Palestinians were attackers; the rest died in clashes with Israeli forces.
Israeli and Palestinian leaders accuse each other of incitement, but Palestinian leaders appear to have little control over the actions of the mostly young attackers.
In the most serious attack Tuesday, two Palestinian assailants boarded a bus in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv and began shooting and stabbing passengers, Israeli police said. Medics and police reported that two Israelis were killed and 16 wounded, several seriously.
The attack harks back to early last decade — during the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada — when buses were among the main targets.
Ruby Matbi, 18, was on the bus when the attack started. “There was shooting and then the bus driver got out and ran,” he told Walla News, an Israeli Web site. “I fought with the terrorist, and then I managed to get away from him and open the door of the bus and let everyone get out.”
One of the Palestinians was shot dead at the scene, and the other was wounded and later died at a hospital, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
As an atmosphere of fear and vengeance spread, a young Jewish Israeli stalked an Ikea parking lot in Kiryat Ata, a town in northern Israel, apparently looking for Arabs to attack. He repeatedly stabbed a man who turned out to be Jewish himself.
The victim, 22, was moderately wounded, police said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called for police to restrict movement in Palestinian neighborhoods in mostly Palestinian East Jerusalem. Later in the day, the Israeli cabinet backed the move as well as the deployment of Israeli soldiers in city centers to support the police.
Israeli media reported that of 23 attacks by Palestinians against Israelis in the past two weeks, 18 were carried out by East Jerusalem residents.
Netanyahu convened his security cabinet in an emergency meeting Tuesday and announced that Israel would demolish the family homes of Palestinian attackers from East Jerusalem and the West Bank within the week. Normally, such demolitions take a year or longer. In a step recommended by the security cabinet, the families of Palestinian attackers from East Jerusalem would be stripped of their Jerusalem residency or Israeli citizenship and be sent to live in the West Bank under the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority.
The current escalation was sparked, in part, by Palestinian resentment over restricted access to the compound at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City. The site is revered by Muslims, who refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews, who call it the Temple Mount.
Netanyahu has repeatedly promised that Israel will not change the delicate status quo agreements that protect the site and reserve it only for Muslim prayer. Jews regard the Temple Mount as the holiest place in Judaism.
The Israeli leader called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “to stop lying, stop inciting.” Netanyahu added: “A real leader needs to take responsibility, stop the incitement coming out of the Palestinian Authority, not only about the Temple Mount but also about the legitimate ways our security services are trying to stop the violence.”
The militant Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, praised the attacks in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel and called for more. About 50 Gaza protesters were injured by Israeli fire along the Gaza fence Tuesday.
Palestinians are also frustrated by their own weak leaders. On social media, the Palestinian Authority was mocked Tuesday for spending the day hosting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and writing letters to the United Nations demanding protection for Palestinians.
The most recent U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed last year. Relations between Netanyahu and President Obama are rocky after a bitter fight over a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the United States. The accord was reached in July over Netanyahu’s strenuous objections.
In addition to the bus attack, a Palestinian rammed his car into a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Geula. The attacker was an employee of Israel’s national phone company Bezeq, police said, and was driving one of the company’s cars.
Security camera video showed the car slamming into two men wearing ultra-Orthodox black clothing, the impact throwing their bodies into the air. The assailant jumped from the vehicle swinging a meat cleaver and struck eight or nine blows before he was confronted by a security guard who shot him. When he tried to get up, he was shot again.
Also acting to subdue the assailant was a young man who swung a selfie stick at the attacker’s head and used pepper spray.
The assailant killed an Israeli rabbi and injured three others.
There were two other knife attacks in the city of Raanana, in central Israel. In the first, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem slashed at a group of Israelis, seriously injuring three. The attacker ran away, pursued by the crowd. A civilian used his car to knock down the assailant, who was arrested.
A second knife attack in Raanana took place outside a hospital. One Israeli suffered serious injuries; the attacker was overpowered by civilians.
Across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, meanwhile, Palestinian activists called for a “day of rage” to protest the Israeli occupation and the tough, often lethal measures employed by Israeli forces against demonstrators.
The Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry reported that Israeli forces have shot more than 1,300 Palestinians with rubber-coated bullets and live rounds since unrest began almost two weeks ago, according to the Maan News Agency.
The ministry says at least 30 Palestinians, including rock throwers and knife attackers, have been killed by Israeli forces and civilians. Palestinians say that several of their dead were shot and killed without cause.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Tuesday appealed for calm, saying the violence in Israel endangers the future for everyone in the region.
“This violence and any incitement to violence has got to stop,” he said during a news conference in Boston. “This situation is simply too volatile, too dangerous.”
Kerry said he was not assigning blame and urged both sides to return to negotiations.
“What we need is to have leadership that condemns the tit-for-tat, that is determined to reach out across difficult lines, bring people to the table in order to work out a procedure where the grievances that are now so many years in the building can ultimately be addressed,” he said.
The first Palestinian intifada, marked primarily by stone throwing, lasted from 1987 to 1993. Then, after a period of less turmoil ushered in by the Oslo peace accords, the second intifada began in 2000 after a controversial visit to the area of al-Aqsa by Ariel Sharon, then an opposition leader who later became prime minister. That uprising ended about five years later, leaving an estimated 1,000 Israelis dead from suicide bombings and other attacks and 3,000 Palestinians dead amid a massive armed crackdown by the Israelis.
Hazem Balousha in Gaza City and William Branigin and Carol Morello in Washington contributed to this report.