The incident comes after more than a year of ongoing violence in the West Bank, where Israeli forces conduct raids almost nightly in response to Palestinian attacks on Israelis. It also followed the outbreak of five days of fighting between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip.
More than 250 Palestinians have been killed since Israel’s raids on the West Bank in March last year, according to a tally by The Associated Press, of which 112 have been killed so far. Israel says most of the dead were militants, but youths who opposed the invasion and people who did not take part in the clashes were also killed. Last week, 33 Palestinians were killed during fighting in Gaza, 18 of whom were identified as militants.
Since the violence escalated last year, 51 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
Tensions were expected to rise again this week, when nationalist Israelis hold an annual march through majority-Palestinian neighborhoods in Old Jerusalem. The march, which commemorates Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, is often eventful, with participants shouting anti-Arab insults. Palestinians view the parade as a provocation.
In 2021, after weeks of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem, authorities changed the march’s route at the last minute to avoid Palestinian territory. But it was too late, and Hamas militants in Gaza fired a round of rockets at Jerusalem as the procession got underway. This started 11 days of heavy fighting in Gaza.