Israel bristled at US suggestions it may have used excessive force to confront Palestinian stabbings, and also published hospital images it said refuted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' allegation a teen suspect had been "executed". Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was using legitimate force and any other country would do the same to confront attacks.
"Israel is using exactly the kind and the amount of legitimate force that any one of those governments, those municipalities and those police forces would use if they had people wielding knives, meat cleavers, axes, trying to kill people on their streets," he said.
Some 32 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in the past two weeks of bloodshed. The Palestinian dead include 10 knife-wielding assailants, police said, as well as children and protesters shot in violent demonstrations.
At a daily press briefing on 14 October, a US State Department spokesman said Israel, which has set up roadblocks in Palestinian neighbourhoods of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem to try to stem attacks, has a right and responsibility to protect its citizens. But he said there had been "what many would consider excessive use of force".
Asked at a news conference for the foreign media in Jerusalem about those remarks, Netanyahu said: "What do you think would happen in New York if you saw people rushing into crowds trying to murder people? What do you think they would do? Do you think they would do anything different from what we're doing?"
The State Department's comments touched a nerve in Israel, especially after allegations by Abbas, in a televised speech in Arabic on 14 October, that Israeli forces were "executing our sons in cold blood, as they did with this child, Ahmed Manasra, and other children in Jerusalem and other places in Palestine".
Netanyahu accused the Palestinian authorities of spreading false stories after it was confirmed Manasra was alive. He told the news conference on 15 October: "And now we have a new big lie. That new big lie is that Israel is executing Palestinians.
"Yesterday, President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of putting to death, executing an innocent Palestinian boy. First of all, he is not dead, he is alive. Secondly, he is not innocent, he tried to kill, murder, knife to death an innocent Israeli youngster, 13-years-old, riding a bicycle."
US secretary of state John Kerry has said he plans to travel to the Middle East soon to try to calm the violence. "I'm talking about a suggestion that was raised, that John Kerry and I and King Abdullah and others would meet. I have no problem with that. We did that a year ago, it was actually fruitful. It could happen again. Why not?" said Netanyahu, adding that he was willing to meet Abbas.