Analysis: Palestinians see consent in Abbas' silence

An escalation in violence in the West Bank, a stabbing attack in Netanya and a shooting attack on route 60 is a nightmare scenario for the security establishment.

July 2, 2016 18:08
3 minute read.
Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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After weeks of relative quiet, signs foreshadowing the escalation of violence in Israel were raised following the fortification of the al-Aska Mosque by a number of Palestinian youth earlier this week.

Alarmed by the event, the defense establishment immediately recommended the temporary closure of the Temple Mount to both Muslims and Jews.

At first, political leaders expressed surprise as to why Jews should pay a price... after all, it was Palestinians who were disrupting the fragile "status quo" presiding over the contentious holy site.

In a terse response, defense officials made their assessment clear: "A one-sided closing will lead to attacks."

At this point the ball moved to the Palestinian side.

Messages were quickly passed to the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mammoud Abbas, from the Israeli defense establishment urging him to "calm the area," expecting him to fully cooperate and publicly convey the importance of keeping the peace in the last week of Ramadan.

To their surprise, however, Abbas chose differently.

In Ramallah, the situation only deteriorated further with an incident no less serious. On June 30, nine Israeli-leftist activists were rescued by the IDF and Palestinian Authority Security Forces in a joint operation after local Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at their vehicle. The activists had entered the West Bank in hopes of participating in a fast breaking ceremony for a Ramadan event.  

Here the signature of the PA  leader was well seen. The nine were invited to the 'Mukataa' (PA government complex) to pass out flowers and candy and their extraction from the city was announce by the PA as a rescue from "the terror outside of Ramallah."

And for good reason. Abbas knew well that such an event, if turned deadly,  in a large municipality like Ramallah, Jenin or Nablus would have the IDF charging in.

And not coincidentally, Abbas knows well that the murdering of the nine "peace activists" would open the hatch of another Intifada followed by IDF military operations in the West Bank. These two events, commotion at the Temple Mount and the near-lynching in Ramallah, shows that Abbas controls the area and directs it at his convenience.

These two events, along with wild incitement, during the period of Ramadan in the Palestinian sector led to to a brutal terror attack in which a Palestinian youth successfully mocked the security establishment by infiltrating a fortified settlement,  penetrating into a private home and committing a horrendous murder of a young girl in her bedroom while she slept.

Abbas is silent and the Palestinian sector immediately interprets the silence as consent. An escalation in violence in the West Bank, a stabbing attack in Netanya and a shooting attack on route 60 is a nightmare scenario for the security establishment.

It appears that defense officials were also negligent in their duties and failed in their responsibilities. A senior IDF officer stated on Friday that "successful attacks that end in casualties lead to more attacks. Given the situation that incitement in the PA is not diminishing, every attack, such as a little girl being murdered in her bed, nourishes the next attack."

Security forces are correctly analyzing events on the ground but with a delay of 24 hours. The attack in Netanya should have been a yellow traffic light, the moment just before changing in to red.

The security establishment has now identified the threats, yet it remains unclear as to why the enclosure of Hebron and the use of infantry reinforcements didn't come before the shooting attack on route 60.

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