Explainer: How did the latest Israeli-Palestinian crisis emerge?

Tensions have been simmering for over a month, but this week they boiled over as violence exploded between Israel and the Palestinians.

Thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza and while Israel initially responded with airstrikes, on Thursday its artillery began targeting positions in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

But what prompted the latest escalation of violence?

Roots of the current crisis

Tensions started to brew at the start of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan in mid-April when Israeli police put up barriers at the Damascus Gate on the north side of Jerusalem’s walled Old City, where Muslim worshippers gather after their evening prayers at the Al-Asqa Mosque.

Thousands of Palestinians descended on the area to protest the policy, with dozens hurt in clashes with police and nationalist Israelis that saw crowds hurl firecrackers, stones and other objects while police responded with stun grenades and water cannons.

Elsewhere, in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, tensions were high over a long-running legal case that left four Palestinian families facing eviction from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers. The case was set to be heard by Israel’s Supreme Court, although the hearing was postponed as protests grew.

Source: Explainer: How did the latest Israeli-Palestinian crisis emerge?

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