|Outside the Ofer prison in north Jerusalem this week [Image Source]|
But there's a different kind of impact that the Arab/Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh describes in an article today on the Gatestone Institute website.
Palestinian Authority officials have in recent months expressed concern over the lack of interest in the Palestinian issue both in the US and Israel... The Palestinians have been absent from speeches delivered by Obama over the past few months, and the majority of parties that ran in the last Israeli elections did not even mention the Palestinian issue. But now that all eyes are once again turned toward the Middle East in anticipation of Obama's planned visit, the Palestinian Authority is working hard to draw the world's attention to the Palestinian issue, and hoping to achieve its goal by encouraging clashes between Palestinian protesters and the IDF and Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Although the violence has thus far remained on a low flame, it is expected to intensify as the date of Obama's visit approaches [more]He believes the PA is probably not seeking full-scale between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis but rather a "mini-intifada" so that
scenes of daily clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the West Bank will prompt Obama to exert pressure on the Israeli government to make far-reaching concessions to the Palestinian Authority [more]The signs are certainly there. The massive marketing campaign now underway to iconize and promote the issue of Palestinian Arab prisoners in Israeli custody and now on hunger strike, like the convicted felon we described two days ago ["20-Feb-13: Samer Issawi and the efficacy of hunger strikes as a mask for ongoing terrorism"]. And the stage-managed clashes outside an Israeli prison earlier this week featuring about a hundred stone-hurling 'protestors' and a horde of press photographers gathered on the fringes.
Abu Toameh reminds us of previous efforts to artificially whip up Palestinian Arab passions for the cameras and the foreign reporters, like when
the Palestinian Authority leadership encouraged Palestinians to protest against Israeli "plans" to destroy the Aqsa Mosque and replace it with the Third TempleThe ends that justify the means are fairly clear:
By encouraging a "popular intifada," the Palestinian Authority leadership is hoping to bring the Palestinian issue back to the top of the agenda of the US Administration and Israel.And will it work?
The belief in the Palestinian Authority is that the violence on the ground will push Obama to exert pressure on the Israeli government to comply with the Palestinian conditions for resuming the peace process, namely a full cessation of settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. There is also talk in Ramallah about organizing demonstrations during Obama's visit to the West Bank, where he is scheduled to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas. The demonstrations will be held to protest against US "bias" in favor of Israel. The Palestinian Authority leadership is hoping that the anti-US protests will scare Obama and force him to exert even more pressure on Israel. The Palestinian Authority's message to Obama: You must act quickly against Israel before things get out of hand.When - like Mahmoud Abbas - you take the trouble to equip yourself with bona fide terrorists among your foot-soldiers, engineering matters so that things "get out of hand" is not that hard to do. And it usually pays dividends.