Palestinians burn tires during clashes with Israeli border police in east Jerusalem Photograph: Mahmoud Illean/AP
Behind the campus of the Hebrew University a scrubby hill drops steeply to the East Jerusalem village of Isawiya.
Two weeks ago a squad of riot police was hiking down the path to the first houses. Who the police were chasing was evident immediately: handfuls of Palestinian youths – many very young – one group jogging across the cemetery below trying to approach close enough to throw their stones.
A week later – and a few short miles away across the city – it was a different scene: an arm under a plastic sheet was all that was visible of Ibrahim al-Akari, lying where he was shot after driving his van through two groups of pedestrians at a tram stop in Jerusalem, killing two.
These scenes connect two of the dots in Jerusalem’s increasingly violent tensions of recent months which – in the past three weeks – have threatened to metamorphose into something more dangerous.
A background of continued provocation on both sides since mid-summer has created the context for more serious events, including two lethal hit-and-run attacks and the attempted assassination of a far-right Jewish religious activist – Yehuda Glick – all in Jerusalem.
Among those killed in the hit-and-run attacks have been a three-month-old child, Chaya Zissel Braun, struck in her stroller, a Druze border policeman, Jedan Assad, and a 17-year-old religious student, Shalom Baadani.
Written by Peter Beaumont
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