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Palestinian gunmen attend the funeral of the Palestinians who were killed in an Israeli army raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Jan. 7, 2024.

Ayman Nobani/REUTERS

Iran throws more sparks into a tinderbox

Even as the war in Gaza rages, tensions in the occupied West Bank continue to rise, and there is fresh evidence that Iran – a longstanding backer of armed Palestinian groups – has been flooding the territory with weapons over the past couple of years.

A New York Times investigation found that Tehran has been smuggling thousands of handguns and rifles into the West Bank. The weapons are routed either through the long, porous West Bank-Jordan border or via smuggling networks running through Lebanon and Israel itself. The Iranian commander assassinated last week by an Israeli airstrike in Damascus is thought to have been involved.

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Muslim worshippers participate in the evening 'Tarawih' prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the Al-Aqsa compound, known to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem on March 10, 2024.

REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Will tensions burst at Al-Aqsa Mosque?

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Monday that the restrictions Israel is imposing on access to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, which Jews call the Temple Mount, during Ramadan could lead to an “explosion.” Israeli police reportedly stopped thousands of Palestinians from praying at Islam’s third-holiest site on the first night of Ramadan, occasionally using batons to beat back crowds.

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Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate outside the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the day of a public hearing to allow parties to give their views on the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories before eventually issuing a non-binding legal opinion, in The Hague, Netherlands, February 19, 2024.

REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

Israeli occupation on trial at ICJ

Palestinian Authority Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Monday delivered an opening statement before the International Court of Justice at the Hague in a case about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian Territories since 1967. The UN-backed court will hear from more than 50 countries and three multinational organizations – the largest case in the ICJ’s history – but a decision could take months, and it would be non-binding.

This is separate from South Africa’s case alleging Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

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Skilled workers wait for their interview and skill test at a Haryana state government recruitment drive to send workers to Israel, at Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak, India, January 17, 2024.

REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

Indian workers rush to fill gaps in Israel’s labor market

As an Israeli ban on Palestinian laborers begins to tax its own economy, foreigners are looking to fill the void.

In the days after October 7th, Israel closed its border with the occupied West Bank almost entirely, shutting out the roughly 150,000 Palestinian workers who previously crossed into Israel regularly for jobs in agriculture, construction, and other sectors.

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Map of the West Bank

Louisa Vieira

The West Bank: What is it?

While much of the world’s attention is on the Gaza Strip, tensions and violence are rising in the West Bank. Here are the basics:

What is the West Bank? A 2,200-square-mile enclave — larger than Rhode Island, smaller than Luxembourg — that has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. It has a population of 3 million Palestinians, and nearly 700,000 Jewish settlers who live in communities known as “settlements,” which are illegal under international law.

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Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah in the West Bank on Nov. 5, 2023.

Thaer Ganaim apaimages via Reuters

Israel-Hamas war, 31 days in

A month in, and there’s no end in sight for the Israel-Hamas war. At least 1,400 Israeli civilians are dead, and 240 remain hostages, while some 9,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. Protests around the world are calling for an end to the fighting, but there is no sign that a cease-fire is in the cards for either side.

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Mourners carry the bodies of three Palestinians who were killed in an Israeli drone strike, during their funeral at Jenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank October 25, 2023.

REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

West Bank is heating up

While much of the world’s attention remains on Gaza, the situation is deteriorating fast in the occupied West Bank, where security operations by Israel and violent attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians have increased over the past two weeks.

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Israeli soldiers stand guard near the Israeli-Lebanon border in the northern town of Shlomi.

Fadi Amun via Reuters

Fears of a wider war grow

Could the war between Israel and Hamas engulf other areas and actors in the region?

The biggest concern is that Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite Muslim political party allied with Iran – and deemed a terrorist organization by the US – will open a second front along the Israel-Lebanon border.

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