Israel Is ‘Lighting Matches’ in Jerusalem
Charges Erekat, dimming hopes for peace deal
As Nahum Barnea told Liel Liebovitz, there is no organizational structure to the current Arab riots in Jerusalem—which has been met in the past few days by IDF countermeasures—a third intifada is a distinct possibility. But according to Jordanian journalist Razi Sa’adi, today quoted in The Jerusalem Post, if it did happen, it’d be instigated by Israel, lately accused by Palestinians of having altered course on peace negotiations in favor of settlement expansion and a sustained pushback against Washington policy. The Post today also quotes Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat as saying that Israel is “is lighting matches in hopes of igniting a big fire,” while P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas says the violence in Jerusalem is a direct result of Israel’s desire to “Judaize” the city.
Even if this is bluster, the reason behind the bluster matters. Abbas is taking heat from Arab leaders who believe the rumors and news reports that he backed off of advancing the Goldstone report—the United Nations investigation into the Israeli assault on Gaza that blamed the IDF for war crimes—to the U.N. Security Council. Seen as a devastating blow to Israel’s international standing, the report was to have been the P.A.’s easy cudgel to wield against Israel—but Abbas, according to this narrative, buckled under White House pressure not to jeopardize any prospective deal with the Netanyahu government. The riots have only added to the sense that Abbas has lost whatever remaining confidence Palestinian supporters had in him to re-establish a unity government with Hamas and strengthen his hand against Israel. The fear, then, is that politics has gone out of the politicians and into the hands of aspiring terrorists.