I think the situation in Palestine is fast changing to a scenario Netanyahu did not consider before launching his rampage.
When the three Israeli youths were kidnapped before it was discovered that they had been killed, Hamas denied any involvement in that affair despite the protestations of Netanyahu and his coalition partners (Naftali Bennet and Avidgor Lieberman). Netanyahu promised to make Hamas pay but at the time he was occupied with ending the never ending protests in the West Bank that followed the mass arrests carried out by the Israeli Army of Palestinian civilians in the name of tracking down the missing youths.
These protests and the crack downs led many into predicting that a short-Intifada may just be around the corner, especially after the gruesome murder of Muhammad Abu Khudair by Israeli settlers, but these protests and our expectations of an Intifada albeit a short one (since Mahmud ‘Abbas and Fatah would not allow it to spread lest they get booted out of the West Bank as traitors to the people who see them as the acolytes of Israel) soon fizzled out when Netanyahu ordered the rampage in Gaza on the pretence of Hamas firing (its harmless rockets) at Israeli ‘civilians’.
Once the Gaza Rampage began, Palestinian Security Forces and their Israeli bosses soon locked down the West Bank to prevent protests of any kind. With hundreds of Hamas members and supporters locked away in Israeli prisons.
Both Fatah and Israel believed that the West Bank and Jerusalem would remain peaceful if Gaza is set on fire by Israel, as the Hamas agitators were all sequestered in tiny cells by the Zionists.
But starting yesterday, what Netanyahu thought he had under control is bursting through the dam one leak at a time, with thousands of West Bank Palestinians taking to the streets in Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus and other towns and cities to protest the massacre in Gaza and hurl stones at the Israeli occupiers and their tanks and armoured vehicles, even at the risk of their pitiable lives.
Already, at least five of these youth and teenage protesters have been shot dead by Israeli soldiers and hundreds injured, while the Israeli government has responded by taking away the rights of Palestinian Muslims to pray at Masjidul-Aqso and the Dome Of The Rock, shutting out all males below fifty years from entering to fulfill their religious obligations.
Still the protests only keep growing as many more sectors of West Bank society are drawn into them, in a universal struggle to express solidarity with the residents of tge world largest open air prison/concentration camp (Gaza) where Israeli warplanes and tanks have dropped thousands of bombs on residential areas and killed 840 innocent civilians (and less than 30 Hamas fighters) including over 200 childrens mostly below the age of 7.
Who Directs These Protests?
Nobody. They began spontaneously and have confounded the Palestinian Security Forces whose ability to attempt to prevent them has been neutralized by the sheer numbers of Palestinian peoples coming out to rally against Israeli war crimes.
The people of the West Bank all have relations near or far in Gaza, and they have come out to join th struggle against the Israeli occupiers in the only way available to them: protests.
Can Israel Control Or Prevent Them?
No. Israel, cannot use force or coercion to control them. As long as Gaza is under Israeli attack, using force will be counter-productive against raw public anger. It will kill plenty of Palestinians but it will only strengthen their resolve to keep up the rallying and protesting. Should Israel continue to shoot and kill the ever increasing numbers if Palestinian protesters, it will only turn public opinion against itself until even its staunchest allies in Australia, France and the US would have no choice but to join the rest of the world to condemn its actions (albeit mildly).
From crackdown to crackdown until a full blown Intifada is born.
How Can Israel Stop An Intifda From Begining?
Well. Right now, only very drastic measures can stop an Intifada from breaking out.
I would recommend that Israel agrees to a ceasefire with Hamas. Hamas cannot accept a ceasefire that gives Gaza anything less than the end of the 8-year blockade, if not it will lose all the support of the Palestinian people especially Gazans, and will find itself run out of Gaza by the Palestinian Islmic Front, in the near future. Israel accepting a ceasefire plan that lifts the blockade but keeps the Palestinians from the Gilad Shalit deal that Israel rearrested in the jails where are now, would take the wind out of the protesters’ sails. But such a deal will be political suicide for Netanyahu and will see him thrown out of office, while saving countless Israeli lives that would have been lost if an Intifada breaks out.
Failing that, Israeli could just unilaterally end its rampage of Gaza, but that will be handing Hamas an enormous morale-boosting victory that will also drive Netanyahu out of government.
If Israel chooses to ride out the protests while its rampage in Gaza continues, it would either continue bombing Gaza indefinitely or bow down to the pressure of the protests and cease its rampage.
Unless Mahmud Abbas is an idiot, Israel will not find a cooperative ally in him. He cannot afford for the Palestinian public to focus its anger on him as a collaborating traitor if he tries to even clamp down on these popular protests in anyway. He can only support.
So yes an Intifada is around the corner unless Israel makes radical sacrifices.
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