In the past two weeks, a rash of terrorist attacks on Jews in Israel has left several seriously injured. The Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, has called upon his people to take to the streets, and has threatened to end security cooperation with Israel. Much like the wave of stabbings, car-rammings, and other low-grade attacks in 2015 and 2016, this outbreak of violence has led to speculation in the Israeli press that another intifada could be in the making. Moshe Elad argues that such a development is as unlikely as it was four years ago:
During every crisis in recent years—the eruption over the metal detectors at the entrance to Temple Mount, the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, [and so forth]— Mahmoud Abbas has issued a call to “take to the streets.” And every time it bounced back like an echo in an empty chamber. The Palestinians in the West Bank don’t flood the streets anymore. They have lost all energy and are disdainful toward the corrupt leadership of the Palestinian Authority.
Whenever Abbas is displeased at some international decision or other, he takes to his balcony and declares an end to security cooperation with Israel. But since the mechanism was [created] in 1995, it has ceased its activities only once, following the riots over the Western Wall tunnels in September 1996, and only then at Israel’s initiative. Hundreds of threats later, the cooperation is business as usual.
Abbas and his people know very well that the Israeli army is present in the West Bank mainly to protect the roads and the settlements within it, but as a byproduct, it also protects the Palestinian Authority. Every Palestinian security officer knows that without the IDF, Abbas would have been forced to escape underground, just as his men did when Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007.
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