How far will it go? Jerusalem tension spirals into Israel-Gaza escalation


Will spiralling tension in Jerusalem lead to all-out war between Israel and Gaza? Israel's outgoing prime minister has announced a stepping up of air strikes on Gaza that have already killed more than two dozen Palestinians, this after Palestinian rockets killed two women in the southern city of Ashkelon. It is already the worst cross-border fighting in seven years and what is particularly alarming is the timing.


Monday's clashes in Jerusalem's Old City included tear gas inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Coincidence of the calendar: the end of Ramadan this year falls the same week that nationalists in Israel celebrate Jerusalem Day and the retaking of the city in 1967. But even more worrying is the current political vacuum.

Israel's longest serving prime minister, currently on trial for corruption, is now on borrowed time, the conservative Netanyahu having failed to form a government. Last month, 85-year-old Mahmoud Abbas suddenly pulled plans for the first Palestinian elections in 15 years. Will this rally-round-the-flag moment play into the hands of hardliners? Who to stare down the extremists on both sides?

Reminder: it all started with plans to evict six Palestinian families, who for generations had been living in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah and replace them with Jewish settlers. East Jerusalem is of course the eventual capital of an eventual Palestinian state.

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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