VIDEO: Israeli police clash with residents in ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem, following reports Palestinian flags were hung

Thursday 02 November 2023

Israeli police have clashed with residents in Mea Shearim, an ultra-orthodox community in Jerusalem, following reports Palestinian flags were being hung in the neighbourhood.

Footage posted to X shows an officer throwing a man to the ground, before an onlooker and other officers rush in.

Local media described the residents as anti-Zionist Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Israeli police said officers were in the Mea Shearim neighbourhood on November 1 to “locate and erase Nazi graffiti” when a “disturbance began that included throwing various objects including eggs, water, bottles, as well as throwing stones at the police officers.”

The police were in the neighbourhood to take down Palestinian flags when the fight broke out, according to news reports.

What is the Israel-Palestinian conflict about and how did it start?

The war between Israel and Hamas militants who stormed Israeli towns and kibbutzes from the Gaza Strip on October 7th is the latest in seven decades of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that has destabilised the wider Middle East.

In Hamas' rampage, some 1,400 Israelis, mainly civilians, were killed and 229 were taken hostage.

In response, Israel carried out airstrikes before troops and tanks poured into Gaza in a ground assault, all with the declared aim of wiping out the Islamist militant group.

Medical authorities in Hamas-run Gaza said on Nov 1 that 8,796 people - including 3,648 children - had been killed in the enclave.

WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF THE CONFLICT?

The conflict pits Israeli demands for security in what it has long regarded as a hostile Middle East against Palestinians' aspirations for a state of their own. Hamas rejects the two-state solution and is sworn to Israel's destruction.

In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly agreed a plan to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states and for international rule over Jerusalem. Jewish leaders accepted the plan giving them 56 percent of Palestine land. The Arab League rejected the proposal.

Israel's founding father David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the modern state of Israel on May 14, 1948, establishing a safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution and seeking a national home on land to which they cite deep ties dating to antiquity.

Violence had been intensifying between Jews and Arabs however, and a day after Israel was created, troops from five Arab states attacked.

In the war that followed, some 700,000 Palestinians, half the Arab population of what was British-ruled Palestine, fled or were driven from their homes, ending up in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Palestinians lament this as the 'Nakba', or catastrophe. Israel contests the assertion that it forced the Palestinians out.

Armistice agreements halted the fighting in 1949 but there was no formal peace. Palestinians who stayed put in the war and their descendants today make up about 20% of Israel's population.

WHAT ATTEMPTS HAVE THERE BEEN TO MAKE PEACE?

In 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty.

In 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Arafat shook hands on the Oslo Accords establishing limited Palestinian autonomy. In 1994, Israel signed a peace treaty with Jordan.

U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Arafat took part in the Camp David summit in 2000, but failed to reach a final peace deal.

In 2002, an Arab League plan offered Israel normal relations with all Arab countries in return for a full withdrawal from the lands it took in the 1967 Middle East war, the creation of a Palestinian state and a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees. The presentation of the plan was overshadowed by Hamas, which blew up an Israeli hotel full of Holocaust survivors during a Passover seder meal.

Further peace efforts have been stalled since 2014.

Palestinians stopped dealing with U.S. President Donald Trump's 2017-2019 administrationafter he broke with decades of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

WHERE DO PEACE EFFORTS STAND NOW?

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has focused on trying to secure a "grand bargain" in the Middle East that includes normalisation of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, custodian of Islam's two holiest shrines.

The latest war is diplomatically awkward for Riyadh as well as for other Arab states, including some Gulf Arab states next to Saudi Arabia, that have signed peace deals with Israel.

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