The Palestinian Authority is not planning a new intifada, but Israeli “provocations” and the ongoing stalemate in the peace process could trigger widespread protests in the Palestinian territories, a senior PA official in Ramallah said Wednesday.

The official’s comments came in response to a Haaretz report earlier this week to the effect that the Palestinians could launch a third intifada during 2012.

Citing an intelligence assessment by the Foreign Ministry, the report said that the stalled peace process and instability in the Middle East are liable to push the Palestinians in the West Bank to turn increasingly violent against Israel.

The Israeli government was “obviously interested in seeing the Palestinians erupt into violence so that it could use that as an excuse to avoid peace talks and step up military aggression against our people,” the PA official told The Jerusalem Post.

“If there is going to be another intifada, it will be because of Israel’s practices on the ground, including invasions, arrests, killings and settlement expansion,” the official added.

The PA leadership does not support violence and continues to believe in peaceful means as a way of achieving Palestinian rights, the official told the Post.

“The Palestinians believe in popular resistance against the occupation,” he said. “President Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that there will be no return to suicide bombings and other forms of violence because this is not in the interest of our people.”

Hussein Sheikh, head of the PA’s General Authority for Civil Affairs, denied Wednesday that the PA has decided to halt security coordination with Israel. However, he said that “all options remained open,” but did not elaborate.

Sheikh said that the Palestinians would study their next steps after Abbas returns home from his current visit to Turkey. He said that the PA leadership would consider resuming its efforts to unilaterally achieve UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

Several international parties have been exerting pressure on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table with Israel unconditionally, Sheikh said.

The PA, he added, will not resume peace talks unless the Israeli government freezes construction in the settlements and accepts the pre- 1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

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