On June 12, three Israeli teens were kidnapped while hitchhiking through the West Bank city of Hebron. In response, the Israeli army launched a severe crackdown in the West Bank, arresting hundreds of Palestinians. Two weeks later, the bodies of the Israeli teens were found and Israel blamed their murders on the militant group Hamas. Then last week, the body of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was found in East Jerusalem after being burned alive in a revenge attack carried out by right-wing Israelis.
Inside Israel and throughout the West Bank, the killings set off massive demonstrations the likes of which have not been seen since the Second Intifada more than a decade ago. Meanwhile, the Israeli military has been carrying out airstrikes over the besieged Gaza Strip in an effort to root out Hamas, which has launched hundreds of homemade rockets over the southern border of Israel during the past several weeks. Despite mounting criticism and civilian causalities, Israel has vowed to increase its military operation in Gaza in the coming days.
VICE News is in Israel and Palestine amid the mounting tension as Israelis and Palestinians prepare for the next round of violent confrontations. In this first dispatch, we go to a protest in the mixed Israeli-Palestinian town of Acre and speak with Palestinians intent on using peaceful means to make their voices heard.