As journalist Khaled Abu Toameh reports, PA head Mahmoud Abbas is hoping to create an atmosphere in the country in advance of Obama’s arrival that will force him to push Israel for more concessions... The whole point of renewed Palestinian unrest is to manufacture a sense of crisis that requires U.S. intervention. Any escalation of violence, no matter how much it is the product of a political decision rather than a popular protest, will generate a lot of negative press for Israel. Even the most restrained measures of Israeli self-defense will be denounced as disproportionate.Seems like a good time and place to mention an interesting paper that explains the background to the so-called second intifada - the Arafat War - that erupted here in 2000. Entitled "The Palestinian Authority’s Responsibility for the Outbreak of the Second Intifada: Its Own Damning Testimony", it was published just yesterday as calls for this latest "spontaneous" uprising are being heard in the Palestinian Arab world, it documents what the Palestinian Arab leadership said in the days leading up to the outbreak of the previous round - and the role taken by the Palestinian Authority leadership under Arafat. It's written by Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi, a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, he served previously as an advisor to the Policy Planning Division of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
But although the Palestinians are certainly capable of churning up enough violence and suffering to get more attention for their cause, their obvious disinclination in making peace on any terms makes it difficult to sustain the interest of even the most sympathetic of foreign leaders. Their refusal to return to the negotiating table with the Israelis even after Obama had pressured Prime Minister Netanyahu to freeze West Bank settlement building and their decision to abandon the U.S.-led process in favor of a dead-end bid for UN recognition may have finally made it obvious to the administration that any political capital expended on them would be wasted.
Nor, even under U.S. duress, is there much chance that Israel will consent to a West Bank withdrawal that is likely to duplicate the situation in Gaza, where Hamas terrorists used land vacated by the Israelis to create a terrorist state. This means that while the Palestinians have the capacity to make themselves troublesome, they do not have the ability to take advantage of the good will felt for them by many in the administration.
Another intifada will be a trial for the Israelis and an annoyance for President Obama. But it will be a tragedy for the people of the West Bank. Until they are ready to throw off a leadership that is incapable of ending the conflict or recognizing a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn, they will continue to suffer...