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Worse yet to come

Jul 07,2014 - Last updated at Jul 07,2014

The heightened tension in the occupied territories cannot be more obvious. Thousands of Palestinians took part in the funeral of a murdered Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, last Friday.

During the procession, Palestinians expressed their wrath by throwing stones and rocks at the Israeli forces, who in turn responded by firing rubber bullets.
Saying that the Palestinian street has been boiling over the past week would be an understatement. 

Many Palestinians find it hard to avoid the realisation that only another intifada can help them realise their national objectives. This is not only because of Israel’s harsh security measures. 

First, the breakdown of the peace talks in April ushered in a new era where, for instance, Israelis accuse Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of choosing unity with Hamas over peace with Israel. 

By the same token, Palestinians from across the political spectrum argue that the Israeli government is only buying time and its sole objective is to carry on with its settlement project.

Many Palestinians now feel that there will be nothing to lose if they resort to another intifada. The level of desperation is so high that many have began to see violence as the only way that could reverse the Israeli intransigence. 

Of course, we have seen this movie before in the few months that preceded the outbreak of Al Aqsa Intifada in 2000. 

It was the failure of the Camp David summit that fuelled the rising tension and triggered the intifada. 

Perhaps, one should remember that the anger at the grassroots level is always dangerous and in some cases unpredictable.
Back then, it was impossible to contain that anger. 

It is worse when bilateral relations get to a stage of revenge, retribution and tit-for-tat violence. 

But whether an intifada is going to erupt or not, one should also examine the root causes of the recurrent violence. 

It is the persistence of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. Obviously, it seems no one has learned anything from the past. Peace requires trust, and this is a rare commodity.

Rather than working with the Palestinian Authority to figure out where the three kidnapped Israelis were, the Israeli government placed the blame on Hamas.

The latter’s insistence on being innocent did not sway the Israeli government and, therefore, Netanyahu resorted to military measures.
Abbas is in an unenviable position.

At a time he managed to bring Hamas into a unity government, he has to answer his people how to respond to the pressing situation.

Immediately after the Israeli government announced the abduction of three teenagers, Abbas strongly condemned the incident.

While a majority of Palestinians do not feel that they should be held responsible for the abduction of the three Israeli teens, many believe that they have become the subject of collective punishment.

Barring some immediate action to assure the Palestinians, it seems that the door is wide open to another intifada. Abbas has been subject to pressure even from within his own Fateh faction and was humiliated in the last meeting with Fateh members. 

In a nutshell, the world cannot expect the Palestinians to act differently while the occupation continues unchecked.

This is the real issue that should be addressed. Short of putting an end to the Israeli occupation and empowering the Palestinian people to establish their own independent state, another intifada will always be looming.

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