Is a Third Intifada Starting to Erupt in West Bank?

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Today’s Top Stories

1. AP picked up on Israeli concerns that a Third Intifada is erupting. The main reason for those fears? First of all, there’s the issue of Hamas trying to reactivate its West Bank sleeper cells — as described in the Jerusalem Post. And then there’s the PA allowing  a Hamas anniversary event in the West Bank.

But most of all is an army patrol in Hebron that got into trouble — in front of cameras. Amir Mizroch writes:

The video of six soldiers seeking refuge inside butchery in Hebron is symbolic, and scary. Symbolic, because the Israeli troops were this close to being dead meat themselves.

The video shows a serious operational error by the IDF. The IDF says the soldiers were on a “routine patrol” in the Hebron market. But the situation on the ground is no longer “routine.” Since the UN vote granting the Palestinians statehood, it seems that things on the ground are changing . . .

The bottom line folks: things in the West Bank are changing. They see what Gaza’s rulers have achieved [standing up to Israel, visits by the heads of state and prime ministers of of Turkey, Qatar and Egypt] and they want change too. Keep your eyes peeled.

By the way, the soldiers in this video later said they felt their hands were tied by commanders more worried about the presence of foreign reporters. The Times of of Israel writes:

The soldiers speculated that the presence of a large number of press photographers in the area persuaded commanding officers to deny permission.

There are always a lot of photographers there, but this time there were even more and apparently in order to prevent certain images they decided to endanger us instead,” a soldier said of his commanders in the Maariv report.

2. Palestinian leaders say they’re ready to re-start peace talks with Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post, Abbas wants the talks to A) resume from where they left off with Ehud Olmert, B) with the ’67 borders being the basis for talks, and C) a six-month settlement freeze to accompany the negotiations. See also the Times of Israel.

Maybe I’m missing something, but the most unique aspect of the Olmert-era talks was the introduction of land swaps that Abbas wants to do away with as a pre-condition. In any event, Abbas squandered the last settlement freeze, and Benjamin Netanyahu wants talks without preconditions, so stay tuned for political jousting.

3. Former hostage Terry Waite visited Beirut to make peace with Hezbollah. You can see the full effects of his Stockholm syndrome at the Daily Telegraph, which accompanied Waite to Beirut. See reports one and two, plus Terry’s take.

4. Check out and share HonestReporting’s sharable graphic marking Hamas’s 25th anniversary.

Israel and the Palestinians

By promoting an anti-Israel petition, has the Times of London crossed a line?

The Economist buys into the phony hype that E1 development will bisect the West Bank. A separate staff-ed makes a similar assertion:

Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, responded by announcing the next day that Israel would . . . build in the E-1 corridor, a swathe of desert and rock separating Jerusalem from Maale Adumim, a large Israeli settlement to the east, which would bisect the West Bank’s northern and southern halves.

Staff-eds in the  NY Daily News and the Abu Dhabi-based The National heap scorn on Hamas. The latter writes:

But this popularity masks the costs of a failed strategy. Blinded by its narrative of resistance, Hamas is unable to see how clearly it is failing its own people. Gazans are unemployed, angry and desperate. Certainly Israel’s blockade is primarily to blame, but Hamas’s rocket fire will do nothing to improve life in the Strip . . .

Had Meshaal and others focused on political compromise, rather than conduct the purge of Fatah members from Gaza in 2006, Palestinian politics would not be as divided as it is today.

Dore Gold’s worth reading: Israeli diplomacy within the corridor of Palestinian unilateralism

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