On Wednesday, terrorists in the West Bank opened fire at an IDF checkpoint, killing Bar Falah, a thirty-year-old major. Falah’s comrades quickly killed the shooters, one of whom was a Palestinian Authority (PA) security officer. Last week, thanks to good luck and the vigilance of police, a major terrorist attack in Tel Aviv was thwarted. Yoni Ben Menachem believes these and many other recent incidents are not so much the result of the aging PA president Mahmoud Abbas losing his grip on the reins of power, but of his decision to resume violence:
Abbas is trying to blackmail Israel and the U.S.; he sees the new wave of terrorism that broke out independently in the field as a lever of pressure on Israel in everything related to creating a “political horizon” and renewing negotiations about the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Abbas, who has reached the end of his political career, is not interested in calming the situation. So long as the armed terrorists do not threaten the Muqata in Ramallah, [the Palestinian equivalent of the White House], and he has American and European backing as well as that of moderate Arab countries, he feels that this is the right time to squeeze major concessions out of Israel. . . .
Next week the PA president will go to New York to deliver his annual speech at the UN General Assembly. The PA has been engaged in a political campaign for several weeks now with the aim of obtaining the agreement of the United Nations to recognize “Palestine” with full membership in the organization. Today it has the status of an observer state. Israel strongly opposes this move. President Biden also opposes it, and last week he sent Barbara Leaf, a U.S. assistant secretary of state, to Ramallah. Abbas refused to meet with her, but in a meeting with Hussein al-Sheikh, [his deputy and likely successor], she clarified her position that the U.S. might veto the Palestinian request in the Security Council.
Abbas is playing with fire and if he doesn’t come to his senses he may end his rule just like Yasir Arafat: Operation Protective Shield in 2002 resulted [effectively in the end of Yasir Arafat’s political power]. If Abas pushes Israel into a corner, another IDF operation in Judea and Samaria in the style of Protective Shield may bring him closer to the end of his rule.