Palestine Israel clash May
Huwwara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus (Image: EPA/Alaa Badarneh)

Much of the imagery and reporting coming out of Jerusalem, central Israel, and the Gaza Strip in recent days has been stomach turning. The emerging mainstream narrative is that it is all the fault of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is trying to capitalise on the tension and violence in his struggle to remain prime minister; the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s President Mahmoud Abbas for being inept; and the Hamas leadership for pouring gas on a fire to advance its own political interests.

There is truth to these assessments. Netanyahu and Hamas have potentially much to gain from the violence.

But the convulsions that began with the evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem speak to something deeper, and more profound: two communities engaged in a struggle to deny each other’s identity.