Dan­ger­ous time for Is­rael

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS -

by Jewish ex­trem­ists to carry out vig­i­lante at­tacks against Pales­tinian civil­ians are also on the rise, which will lead to fur­ther cy­cles of terror. Mean­while, the lead­ers of both sides seem in­ca­pable of en­gag­ing in any­thing more than mu­tual re­crim­i­na­tions while com­ing un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure at home.

Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu is be­ing crit­i­cised both by the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion for hav­ing failed to de­liver se­cu­rity and also by mem­bers of his own gov­ern­ment for “re­strain­ing” the se­cu­rity forces. This week, three Likud min­is­ters joined set­tle­ment coun­cil heads protest­ing out­side the prime min­is­ter’s res­i­dence. For now, MrNe­tanyahu is re­sist­ing calls to launch a wider op­er­a­tion in the West Bank or ex­pand set­tle­ments in ret­ri­bu­tion for the mur­der of Is­raeli cit­i­zens.

Mr Ab­bas, like­wise, seems re­luc­tant to push mat­ters too far. Last week at the UN he threat­ened to end se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion with Is­rael. For now, his secu- rity chiefs want to re­main in con­trol, pro­tect­ing their vested in­ter­ests and con­tin­u­ing the se­cu­rity co-or­di­na­tion.

But the lack of any prospect for a re­newal of the diplo­matic process and the pre­oc­cu­pa­tion of for­eign gov­ern­ments with events in Syria and Afghanistan mean that any pe­riod of rel­a­tive calm could be fleet­ing.

Mr Ab­bas will con­tinue to face crit­i­cism of “col­lab­o­ra­tion” with Is­rael while the Ne­tanyahu gov­ern­ment must deal with a grow­ing num­ber of “price tag” at­tacks by Jewish ex­trem­ists.

In such a febrile at­mos­phere, a more wide­spread wave of blood­shed could break out fol­low­ing any sort of event — a provo­ca­tion by ei­ther side on Tem­ple Mount; a traf­fic ac­ci­dent of the sort which sparked off the First In­tifada in 1987; even a riot at a football match be­tween Beitar Jerusalem and an Is­raeliArab team.

Events on the ground could hap­pen very fast and spi­ral out of con­trol. That is the real threat — what­ever any­one chooses to call it.

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