A wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks is taking place inside Israel. Most of the attackers are young individuals probably organized and activated by the radical Islamist organization Hamas.
As Israel has managed to control suicide bombers, the technique employed by the terrorists is mostly stabbing. The main purpose of these assaults is to terrify the Israeli population, and force Israeli security forces to react harshly in order continue the world campaign against Israel.
As I write these lines, human rights organizations and others are targeting Israel or suggesting Israel should be more humane in treating these stabbers.
The fact that a man or a woman with a knife in his or her hand is a frightening situation that requires a life-or-death decision is irrelevant for these professional saints.
However, the most important element here is the attitude of the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas. Nothing embodies the perverse situation Israel has to confront more than the Palestinian Authority.
During his last speech at the United Nations, Abbas declared that the Palestinian Authority is no longer bound by the agreements with Israel.
Later, he asserted without any evidence that Israel was trying to change the status quo on the Al-Aksa Mosque. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat, categorically rejected this accusation by clearly stating that the Israeli government respects the status quo — according to which Jews and visitors can enter the site but not pray on it.
This policy was set in 1967 by then Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.
In fact, the Israeli police restricted access to the site as part of broader limits on access to the Old City after a Palestinian man killed two Israelis on a street in the historic neighborhood.
It was a temporary preventive measure that reflected the increasing tensions during the Jewish high holidays, where the number of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount increased dramatically.
Abbas remarked, also without any proof, that Israel was desecrating Al Aksa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcre.
Furthermore, Abbas saluted the “masses who are fighting the occupation,” thus giving justification to the bloody attacks against Israelis.
All of these reckless comments provided a green light to Hamas and others to carry out terrorist attacks.
After all, Hamas does not feel bound by the Palestinian Authority agreements with Israel either. Hamas saw these declarations as a victory for its intransigent positions, and felt free to act accordingly.
Curiously enough, as the situation began to deteriorate, it was reported that the Palestinian Authority and Israel were working together to contain the violence.
How do we understand this contradiction?
Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are highly unpopular in the Palestinian street. The Palestinian Authority is seen as a corrupt kleptocracy. The PA survives only thanks to the security cooperation the Israeli Defense Forces provide.
In other words, it is the occupation that the PA repudiates that helps this government survive.
Otherwise, Palestinian leaders would have fallen to a Hamas coup d’état as they did in Gaza in 2007.
Paradoxically, this deficit of legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority is automatically compensated by incitement against Israel.
However, when the PA saw the extent of the escalation, it began to fear for their own power which without the occuping power would not have survived.
If Abbas and the Palestinian institutions stop the incitement, they would eliminate a useful scapegoat to distract the Palestinian masses. The murder of Israelis by Palestinians is fine with the Palestinian Authority; but if the attackers rise up against the Palestinian Authority, it would be a real problem for them.
Thus, it has to resort to Israeli protection and Israel complies just because the alternative is worse. Thus, Israel is condemned to live with this circular bloodsucking as long as no viable Palestinian leadership exists.
The question remains. Is peace possible under these circumstances? This must be the point of departure of anyone seeking a solution to the problem. If there is a viable one.
Luis Fleischman has worked as adviser for the Menges Hemispheric Security Project at the Center for Security Policy on issues related to Latin America, hemispheric security, democracy, and U.S policy in Latin America. He is the author of "Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era: The Threat to U.S. Security." Fleischman is an adjunct professor of sociology and political science at Florida Atlantic University Honors College and FAU Lifelong Learning Society. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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