The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, visited Israel this week after days of increasing violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Last week, 10 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank city of Jenin, when Israeli forces mounted a raid against a cell which Israel said was planning to carry out an attack. The next day, six Israelis and a Ukrainian were killed when a Palestinian opened fire near a synagogue in East Jerusalem. The deaths triggered rocket fire into Israel from Gaza and air strikes from Israel.
Secretary Blinken says the immediate priority is to restore calm, but how realistic is this, and why has the situation become so violent and volatile again?
Tensions have been bubbling beneath the surface for years but, after the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel now has the most radically nationalist governing coalition in its history. Meanwhile, Palestinians are dealing with the near collapse in control by the Palestinian Authority in parts of the occupied West Bank, with an ageing leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who has been in power for 18 years with no successor on the horizon. So how much is this a factor in the escalating violence? What possible solutions might any party bring to the table? And, as the situation gets bloodier, is there any chance of a peaceful compromise?
Ritula Shah is joined by:
Martin Indyk has held a number of key diplomatic posts, including as President Barack Obama's special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from July 2013 to June 2014. He also served as U.S. ambassador to Israel from 1995 to 1997, and again from 2000 to 2001.
Nour Odeh is a Palestinian political analyst and former journalist, based in Ramallah.
Prof Efraim Inbar is the president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, a think tank with a conservative outlook.
Boaz Bismuth, member of Knesset for the Likud party
Hosam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian mission to the UK
(Photo: Israeli settlers (back) carry an Israeli flag as Palestinian and Israeli activists (front) march during a protest against the eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, Jerusalem. Credit: Atef Safadi/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)
Producers: Pandita Lorenz and Ellen Otzen
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