Israel report: West Bank Palestinians may turn to violence if peace talks freeze persists (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Barak Ravid 02/28/12)
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The stalled peace process and instability in the Middle East are
liable to push the Palestinians in the West Bank to turn increasingly
violent toward Israel, the Foreign Ministry said in its annual
The assessment also states that a potential Israeli military
operation in Gaza would generate a severe response from Egypt.
The ministry´s intelligence report, which was presented a few weeks
ago to the ministers in the security cabinet, runs more than 50
pages. Parts of the report were obtained by Haaretz, including the
sections relating to the Palestinians, ties with Jordan and Egypt and
the Iranian nuclear issue.
The assessment puts forth a scenario of a third intifada breaking out
during 2012, either as a result of a Palestinian Authority leadership
decision or as a popular uprising influenced by the wave of
revolutions in the Arab world.
"On the ground, at this point, neither the Palestinian leadership nor
public opinion seems to want a violent escalation with Israel," the
report states. "Still, the continuing freeze of the diplomatic
process, combined with any drastic Israeli moves in the military
and/or economic realm and the continuing stormy situation in the
Middle East, could bring about a change in this approach."
The report states that the Palestinian leadership does not see the
Israeli government as a partner with which it can make progress on
the peace process. Therefore, the report says, PA President Mahmoud
Abbas worked to increase the involvement of the international
community in the events of the West Bank and Gaza.
According to the report, the PA is interested in working with the
rest of the world to obtain better opening terms for any future
negotiations with Israel.
The PA is liable to renew its application to the UN Security Council
to get Palestine accepted as a full member in the United Nations, or
to ask the General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a state, albeit
a non-member state, the Finance Ministry report says.
It also warns of increased tension in ties with Jordan and Egypt.
"The Israeli government is viewed by the Jordanians as not being
committed to the two-state solution," the report says. "Israel´s
policies are being translated into the Jordanian leadership´s deep
lack of trust in the Israeli leadership."
The report was written before the talks sponsored by Jordan´s King
Abdullah in Amman had broken down. Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu´s aides say they don´t think the Jordanian monarch blames
Israel for the talks´ failure.
The report also notes that last year´s attack on the Israeli Embassy
in Cairo demonstrates that the Egyptian "street" has succeeded in
forcing its opinions on the military leadership.
"[Egypt´s] Supreme Military Council is aware of the benefits of the
peace agreement, but even there, there are some elements that are
dissatisfied with parts of the agreement," the report says. One of
the first things the new Egyptian government will do after it takes
office will be to change the security appendix to the peace agreement
to allow Egypt to increase its military presence in the Sinai
Peninsula, it says.
The change of government in Egypt is also expected to limit Israel´s
freedom of movement in Gaza.
"Incidents deemed provocative, such as a military operation in Gaza
or in the Sinai, will likely lead to a tougher, sharper response than
in the past," the report says.
Like other Israeli intelligence bodies, the Foreign Ministry is
pessimistic that anything can be done to get Iran to abandon its
The report says Tehran will try to maneuver so that it can continue
its nuclear program while paying "prices it perceives as tolerable,"
the report says.
Iran sees its subversive behavior and support for terror "as an
important tool in solidifying its regional position and as a way to
weaken its rivals, including Israel and the United States, and to
settle accounts with them," the report says. (© Copyright 2012
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