The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has not been seen on a scale like this for years, but the tension is always there.

You can follow it back decades, centuries, even millennia. This devastating flare-up has its roots in years of mistrust and anger. Yet its immediate cause can be traced to just a few days ago.


It’s the final Friday of Ramadan. 70,000 Palestinian worshippers are at the third holiest site for Muslims (it’s also the holiest site for Jews), worshipping at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Tensions are high over restrictions imposed by Israeli officials on Palestinians trying to get to the site during Ramadan, and over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians from their homes in east Jerusalem. There are protests.

Large numbers of Israeli police are deployed. Video from the scene shows Palestinians throwing items such as chairs, shoes and rocks, while the police fire rubber bullets and stun grenades.

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Israeli police clash with protesters at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on 7 May

At least 205 Palestinians are injured, with more than 85 requiring hospital treatment, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service. Some 17 Israeli officers are injured and six require medical treatment.


In east Jerusalem, border police patrol in full riot gear. Outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate, protesters throw water bottles and stones at the police. They light fires and tear down barricades with confrontations continuing into the holiest night of Ramadan.

Police respond with stun grenades and a water cannon.

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Fires and barricades in east Jerusalem outside Damascus Gate on 8 May

The Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, which is where the Palestinians threatened with eviction from their homes live, also sees violence.

Several arrests are made by Israeli police, who say at least one officer is hit in the face. Palestinian medics said at least 100 Palestinians are injured that day.


Overnight into Sunday, Israel says Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fired a rocket into Israel. It fell into an empty area, causing little damage.

Shortly after, Israel carries out a strike against a Hamas military post in southern Gaza.

Friction at the boundary continues throughout Sunday and into the early hours of Monday. Palestinians start fires and militant groups aim more rockets towards Israel. These missiles set off air raid sirens in and around the southern city of Ashkelon.

As night falls, confrontations between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police start up again in Jerusalem. Arab students clash with police at Israel’s Hebrew University. Stun guns are used there, and at Damascus Gate.

Sky News observes a ‘skunk’ water cannon being used there which leaves those hit by it covered by a strong smell. Correspondent Mark Stone says it appears to be fired “without justification” and it hits small children.


Monday marks Jerusalem Day, an Israeli celebration of the annexation of east Jerusalem in 1967. Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of the future state they wish to create. This is one of the key factors contributing to the decades of conflict.

Protesters gather early in the morning at Al-Aqsa Mosque. They barricade the gates into the sacred site.

Around 7am, violence breaks out. Police use tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against protesters. The demonstrators throw stones back.

The clash moves inside the mosque.

Nearby, Israelis worshipping near the Western Wall are pelted with stones by protesters, according to police.

The violence escalates. Israel says at least 150 rockets are fired into the country. Six rockets are aimed at Jerusalem, with one falling on the western outskirts of the city.

Dozens of rockets are intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome.

Israel fires missiles towards Palestinian areas, many landing in northern Gaza.

By the end of the day, reports state at least 20 Palestinians are dead, including nine children. Some 700 are hurt, with 500 taken to hospital.

Several Israeli officers are injured and an Israeli civilian is injured by a Gazan anti-tank missile, according to the Israeli military.


Strikes on both sides continue into Tuesday.

The fighting claims the lives of at least 28 Palestinians and three Israelis.

Throughout the day, Israel sends 80 jets to bomb Gaza.

A 13-story residential tower in Gaza is hit and collapses, with Israel claiming the building has links to Hamas. A second high-rise is hit during morning prayers. Israeli gives warnings ahead of the strikes.

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Residents of the tower and people living nearby had been warned to evacuate the area around an hour before the airstrike.

Rockets from Gaza are fired continuously throughout the day, with Israel’s Iron Dome system seeming overwhelmed at points.

Israel claim some Gazan rockets are falling short and injuring Palestinians.

The first Israeli deaths occur in the southern city of Ashkelon as two women die in a rocket strike.

Rockets also reach as far as Tel Aviv.

Take-offs at Israel’s international Ben Gurion airport are paused, with interceptor missiles spotted above the runways.

A 50-year-old woman dies when a rocket hits her building in the city’s suburb of Rishon Lezion. Three people, including a five-year-old girl, are injured when a bus in Tel Aviv is hit.

Hamas says it launches a total of 130 rockets throughout Tuesday.


In the early hours of Wednesday, Israel launches dozens of airstrikes at Gazan police and security buildings. A nine-story residential and commercial tower is also hit, which Israel claims also housed Hamas intelligence offices.

A Palestinian rocket kills an Arab-Israeli man and his teenage daughter when it hits their home in the Israeli city of Lod.

Hamas also launches 100 rockets at Beersheba.

Fighting between Jewish Israelis and Israeli Arabs is seen in a number of locations across Israel, including in Lod, Ramle and Acre.

Lod saw disturbances on the street after crowds gathered for the funeral of an Arab man who was allegedly shot by a Jewish gunman. A synagogue and vehicles were set on fire.

In Ramle, ultra-nationalist Jewish demonstrators were filmed attacking cars belonging to Arabs, while in Acre, protesters torched a Jewish-owned restaurant and hotel.

Most of Israel’s population is Jewish – but around 20% are Israeli Arabs – descendants of the Arab population that remained after the state of Israel was created in 1948.

The Data and Forensics team is a multi-skilled unit dedicated to providing transparent journalism from Sky News. We combine traditional reporting skills with advanced digital analysis of data sets, satellite images, social media posts and other open source information. Through multimedia storytelling we aim to better explain the world while also showing how our journalism is done.