Gideon Levy writes: Only rarely does a cliche as well-worn as this one hit the mark so precisely: The writing is on the wall, indeed. My readers will pardon me; no response, explanation or analysis seems more pertinent, at this juncture, when the danger of a third Palestinian Intifada breaking out seems greater than at any time in the last decade. Anyone claiming to be surprised has not been living in the Middle East over the last 10 years. Anyone who claims to be surprised has, along with most Israelis, been burying his head in the sand for a decade. The only surprising thing is that a renewed uprising has taken a decade to occur.
Israeli security figures are still trying to minimise the obvious, insisting that this is only a “wave of terror,” not an Intifada. They said exactly the same thing when the two previous Intifadas erupted. When the first Intifada began, I met members of the entourage of the then Minister of Defence Yitzhak Rabin, visiting the United States at the time, in a large New York department store. There was no reason to hurry home to Israel, they said; everything was under control. Nor was the second Intifada exactly anticipated. Yet both erupted, intensely, the second worse than the first. The dimensions of the third will be greater still.
Not yet clear is whether the events occurring right now will develop into a full-blown Intifada or not, but meantime there will be no period of quiet between the Jordan River and the sea any time soon. It’s true that there have been various factors preventing, thus far, the outbreak of a third Intifada: the heavy price paid by the Palestinians for the second Intifada that failed to achieve anything whatever for them; the absence of a leadership moving the people toward another broad uprising; internal Palestinian divisions, greatly intensified in recent years, between Fatah and Hamas; the international isolation of the Palestinians amid growing international indifference; and the slightly improved economic situation on the West Bank. [Continue reading…]