Last week, as a gesture of good faith to get political negotiations back on
track, Israel released the third (and second to last) wave of Palestinian
terrorists who were being held in Israeli prisons.
This group was
composed of 26 terrorists with blood on their hands.
Israel is complying
with the schedule set during recent negotiations, and yet these negotiations do
not seem to be progressing at all. Apart from a number of statements made by US
Secretary of State John Kerry that a negotiation framework will soon be signed,
nothing has happened.
So what is going on and what should we expect to
happen in the near future? Shin Bet data show that since the beginning of the
current round of negotiations with the Palestinians, there has been a slight,
but steady, increase in the amount of violent incidents in Israel. The number of
terrorist attacks increased during this period; in November alone, 20 bombs
exploded and even more Molotov cocktails were thrown at innocent people in Judea
Inside the Green Line, there were two stabbings; in the
first one, an IDF soldier was killed and in a second, a female soldier was
In a third incident, a bomb was left on a bus in Bat Yam, but no
one was hurt since an alert rider noticed it before it was detonated. The number
of clashes between the IDF and Palestinians has also been rising consistently,
and as a result of these, there have been more casualties and deaths. Not
surprisingly, this has brought about a sharp rise in the number of revenge
attacks carried out by Palestinians.
The current round of
Israel-Palestinian negotiations began with no preconditions and yet it is clear
that both sides have redlines they are not willing to cross. Israel is not
willing to give up settlement blocs that Palestinians claim should be theirs,
and the Palestinians will not relinquish Jerusalem as their capital even though
Israel has proclaimed that Jerusalem will never be divided.
Palestinians are demanding that the Jordan Valley be demilitarized, whereas
Israel insists that the IDF must remain in the region in order to ensure
Israel’s safety. The Palestinian side is demanding that all Palestinian refugees
be allowed to return to homes they abandoned in 1948, but Israel strongly
opposes this and will only agree that they return to areas that will be under
Israel is demanding that the Palestinians recognize
Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, but the Palestinians refuse to do
And we must not forget that the Palestinian Authority with which we
are negotiating is actually made up by two completely separate entities, only
one of which communicates with us. The other one is a terrorist organization
that continuously shoots rockets into Israel.
In July, I wrote that
nobody believes something concrete will result from these talks. It is clear
that Netanyahu is not in a position to grant the Palestinians what they desire
and that Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) cannot offer the Palestinians a deal they
In any case, the majority of the Palestinian
community does not support Abu Mazen and the Palestinian leadership, and so the
Palestinian Authority will never be able to make any significant decisions. The
conclusion is that the current round of negotiations will most likely fail just
as all previous ones have. The Americans know this is true, but they don’t
really care since their main goal was to create a dynamic that would serve two
goals. Their first goal is for the US to be seen as an active, leading world
power whose position in the region is stronger, which could counteract Russia’s
growing dominance. Their second goal was for the negotiations to have a calming
effect in the region, as much as this is possible. Their hope is that holding
negotiations will give both sides hope, lower the flames, prevent the situation
from deteriorating even more and keep the conflict from escalating.
Kerry said this week that his goal was only to reach a “framework agreement,” in
which the two sides would apparently reach a consensus about which issues they
will discuss during future negotiations.
What this means is that meetings
are being held between the two sides without any real progress whatsoever. Kerry
is using these meetings as an opportunity for great photo-ops of himself
together with the Israeli and Palestinian representatives.
themselves are part of an amazing political move for him and the Americans.
Exacting results from these meetings is secondary.
Nothing concrete has
or will come of these meetings, since nothing has been agreed upon. The only
significant result of the talks has been an increase in terrorist attacks and
violent incidents to which IDF then responds and which unfortunately usually
result in additional deaths.
The Palestinian people are becoming more and
more frustrated. Their economic situation is precarious at best and they have no
reason to believe that it will improve anytime soon. From their point of view,
the Zionist regime is responsible for this and for the many deaths that occur as
a result of the violent clashes with the IDF.
Most of these recent
incidents are being carried out by local groups, and not terrorist groups based
outside of Israel, and the success of such attacks increases their desire to
carry out more attacks on their own. As a result, other local individuals decide
to carry out attacks on their won.
Every couple of months another group
of terrorists is released to Judea, Samaria and Gaza and they are welcomed
warmly into an atmosphere of celebration and triumph.
One needs to be
blind, deaf or stupid not to see the current writing on the wall that is written
in bright gold lettering. The third intifada is on its way. Early signs of this
can already be seen. The Palestinian Authority has been planning for this for
some time now and no significant move will change this situation or bring new
hope. And no political agreement will be reached. This is exactly how things
looked just before the second intifada. The only difference is that last time
Palestinian Authority leaders initiated the fighting.
This time, the
violence will come directly from the people on the street.
The writer is
a former brigadier-general who served as a division head in the Shin Bet (Israel
Translated by Hannah Hochner.