Israel Palestine conflict: What started the fighting?

Israel Palestine: Iron Dome intercepts rockets in Fox broadcast

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At least 212 people, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza, according to its health ministry. In Israel 10 people, including two children, have been killed, its medical service says. Israel conducted further airstrikes on Gaza early on Tuesday, while Palestinian militants fired rockets towards Tel Aviv, as US President Joe Biden called for a ceasefire.

How did this start?

The tensions between Israel and Palestine go back to the 1920s, with a long and complex history relating to the formation of the Israeli state and battles over sacred spaces for both Judaism and Islam.

Over the years, violence has erupted numerous times, sometimes into a full-blown war, sometimes just simmering tensions.

But despite attempts to resolve the issue, there hasn’t been peace in the region in more than 100 years, with the threat of conflict always bubbling under the surface, ready to boil over.

The latest spate of fighting was brought about by a set of events which, combined, has led to some of the worst violence seen in years.

The first rumbles of unrest came in April, when Israeli police entered the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and cut the cables to the loudspeakers broadcasting prayers so as not to drown out the Israeli president speech at the nearby Western Wall.

The event happened on April 13, the first day of Ramadan and Memorial Day in Israel.

The loudspeaker incident was followed almost immediately by a police decision to close off a popular plaza outside the Damascus Gate, one of the main entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem.

Young Palestinians typically gather there at night during Ramadan.

While Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its “undivided capital”, this is not recognised by a majority of the international community and is rejected by Palestinians who claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The Damascus Gate incident compounded the sense of discrimination felt by Palestinians and led to clashes.

Majed al-Qeimari, a 27-year-old butcher from East Jerusalem, told the New York Times: “It made it feel as though they were trying to eliminate our presence from the city.

“We felt the need to stand up in their faces and make a point that we are here.”

Another compounding factor in the uprising came as the decades-long attempt by Jewish groups to use the courts to evict Palestinian residents from Sheikh Jarrah, which lies at the heart of East Jerusalem, came to a climax.

The Palestinians, numbering more than 70, come from six families who relocated to East Jerusalem after fleeing their homes in West Jerusalem during the foundation of Israel in 1948.

Settler groups say the land where the threatened families have their houses was owned by Jews prior to 1948.

Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim such lands but has no similar provision for the many Palestinians dispossessed in the same conflict, even if they still reside in areas controlled by Israel.

An Israeli supreme court ruling due on Monday 10 May was postponed the day before amid mounting protests by supporters of the Sheikh Jarrah families.

That same day, a series of events coincided dangerously.

Israeli nationalists marked the anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem in 1967 with their annual “flag march”.

Police fired teargas and stun grenades on stone-throwing Palestinians marking Ramadan at the Haram-al Sharif compound – home to al-Aqsa mosque, again at the centre of the conflict.

Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Israeli Parliament and former chairman of the World Zionist Organization, said: “All the enriched uranium was already in place.

“But you needed a trigger. And the trigger was the Aqsa Mosque.”

And as violence flares in Palestine, Tel Aviv in Israel has also come under fire after Hamas militant’s launched 250 rockets towards the capital.

Many were able to be intercepted to avoid casualties, although two are believed to have hit apartment buildings and one struck an empty school.

Rioting from Arab Israelis has also broken out in some neighbourhoods, with synagogues and Jewish schools reported to have been set on fire.

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