JERUSALEM – The holy city of Jerusalem, a tinderbox of competing religious and political claims, has repeatedly triggered bouts of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
This time around, there have been some additional sparks, including Jewish extremists who, emboldened by their political patrons’ recent election to parliament, staged a provocative march to Jerusalem’s walled Old City chanting “death to the Arabs.”
Over the course of a few days, nightly Jerusalem street brawls between Israeli police and disaffected Palestinian residents of the city escalated to cross-border fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Islamic militant Hamas. Gaza militants fired an intense barrage of rockets into southern Israel and Israel launched several airstrikes at Gaza.
Political posturing by Israeli and Palestinian leaders has added to the tense atmosphere.
Here is a closer look at what’s been driving the violence:
HEART OF THE CONFLICT:
Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians claim all three areas for a future independent state, with east Jerusalem as their capital.
Israel annexed east Jerusalem, home to the city's most sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, after the war and views the entire city as its unified capital.