Op-Ed via Al Jazeera English

Behind the headlines in Jerusalem

Jerusalem has been in the spotlight again recently as tensions reached the boiling point after the mid-July attack on Israeli forces in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. Despite the apparent resolution of the immediate crisis owing to mass Palestinian civil disobedience, which forced Israel to reverse its attempt to change the status quo that has been in place since 1967 at the historic Noble Sanctuary mosque complex, the underlying issues remain in place.

Media coverage of Jerusalem has tended to focus on clashes as and when they erupt, and to frame these as the harbingers of an emerging "religious war". However, this approach fails to address the history of and context in which such clashes unfold, and the explicit aims of the Israeli government.

The reason why these and other similar protests have been erupting for years is opposition to Israeli policies to "Judaise" Jerusalem - in other words, to ensure and expand Jewish political, demographic, territorial and economic control over the city, which Israel illegally annexed shortly after it began its military rule of the West Bankfollowing the 1967 war, while further evicting and dispossessing Palestinians.

Unless this trajectory is stopped and reversed, Palestinians will continue to take to the streets in protest. To understand why, it is worth examining how Israeli policies play out in Palestinian lives.

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