Israeli forces moved to shut down access to Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem on Wednesday as the government put in place security measures to counter ongoing violence across Israel and the Palestinian territories.

"These police actions and operations are intended to fairly respond to the wave of terror and knifing, within the framework of trying to return law and order to all citizens of the state," said Luba Samri, an Israeli police spokeswoman.

The moves came a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he would soon travel to the Middle East to help calm the situation. It wasn't immediately clear when he planned to go.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to make his nation more secure.

"Today we ... decide on a series of vigorous steps in our fight against the sources of terrorism and incitement," the Prime Minister said. "They will be implemented as quickly as possible."

In addition to cordoning off Palestinian neighborhoods, Israeli authorities will be allowed to demolish the homes of attackers, a statement from the government said. No rebuilding will be allowed.

In addition, the Israeli police force will be expanded and backed up by the military. An additional 300 more security guards will be recruited for duty on public transportation. Several recent attacks have taken place on buses or at bus stops.

The Prime Minister's office announced last weekend that about 1,600 reserve border police officers have been mobilized in Jerusalem, where many recent attacks have occurred, and throughout Israel as "a primary preventive and deterrent measure."

Human Rights Watch condemned the new security measures.

"Locking down east Jerusalem neighborhoods will infringe upon the freedom of movement of all Palestinian residents rather than being a narrowly tailored response to a specific concern," said Sari Bashi of Human Rights Watch.

"The recent spate of attacks on Israeli civilians would present a challenge for any police force," she said.. "But exacerbating the punitive policy of home demolitions is an unlawful and ill-considered response."

Bloody Tuesday

Israel's response followed a bloody day of attacks against its citizens. They were carried out by men that Israeli authorities claim have ties to Palestinian terrorist groups.

At least three Israelis were killed and many others wounded.

Two of those deaths came in an attack on a bus in the Armon Anatziv area of Jerusalem, which elicited praise from Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.

"The Hamas movement blesses the heroic operations in Jerusalem," the group tweeted, "and hails the heroes who (carried them out)."

There was additional bloodshed in Haifa where an Israeli Jew stabbed a man he mistakenly thought was Arab outside an IKEA. In another incident, an Israeli Arab was hit on the head with a stick on a Netanya beach, according to police spokeswoman Luba Samri.

The was also violence in Palestinian areas as Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians.

The official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, reported at least five Palestinians were wounded by "live ammunition" in northern Gaza at the Beit Hanoun crossing point Tuesday. Eighteen were reportedly shot and injured the previous night at the Huwwara military checkpoint.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 37 people were injured in Gaza. An additional 155 people received medical treatment in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Most of them inhaled tear gas, but some were shot and beaten, the agency said.

The third intifada?

Some have suggested the widespread violence represents the start of the third intifada, or uprising, by Palestinians. But others have dismissed that assertion, saying the unrest is simply the consequence of the absence of any progress toward peace.

Whatever the label, some Palestinians insist they are fed up with the status quo.

"We've tried negotiations and it didn't work," a Palestinian youth in the West Bank city of Hebron told CNN. "So now we will fight."

And the Israeli government appears ready to fight back.

"Israel will settle accounts with the murderers, those who attempt murder, and all those who assist them," Netanyahu said. "Not only will they not enjoy their privileges, but we will exact from them the full cost.

"Anyone who raises his hand to harm us -- will pay dearly. And we will not hesitate to use all means at our disposal to restore peace to the cities of Israel."

Courtesy CNN