Joseph Dana writes: After months of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, most observers can barely contain their views on whether this is the start of the third Palestinian intifada. In the past few days, Israel has arrested hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a Palestinian woman blew herself up near an Israeli settlement, injuring one police officer, and the Israeli air force fired missiles into the Gaza Strip, killing a 30-year-old pregnant woman and her two-year-old daughter.
It is still too early to call this cycle of violence an intifada but the direction of events on the ground doesn’t bode well for an immediate cessation of fighting. Regardless of the outcome, there are several salient aspects to this latest uptick of unrest that will have a lasting effect on the conflict as a whole.
Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, under the Oslo Accords, has proven itself to be an effective enforcer of Israeli security and occupation, even better than the Israeli military or Shin Bet. For several years, the PA security forces have routinely crushed any form of Palestinian dissent towards Israel or the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. Without the PA keeping a lid on Palestinians, there would have been a third intifada months ago. [Continue reading…]