Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Unnecessary Intifada

The Unnecessary Intifada

The Palestinian intifada is dying. It is being choked by Israeli Defense Forces meticulously decimating the West Bank’s terrorist infrastructure while Gaza remains hermetically sealed. Hamas or other terrorist factions can still trigger an event, such as the bombings at Hebrew University in July 2002, the commuter bus near Safed in August 2002, and the downtown Tel Aviv bus in September 2002, but they can produce nothing like last spring’s epidemic of suicide explosions. The acute suffering of the Palestinian people, combined with Yasir Arafat’s failure to link the violence since the intifada began in October 2000 to a credible political agenda, led Arafat and his Palestinian Authority (PA) to call unilaterally for a halt to attacks on Israelis in August 2002. Senior PA officials meeting with U.S. counterparts in Washington and Israelis in Jerusalem have offered to attempt to control the violence if given the authority and the room to operate. Their once and future militias are again receiving primers in counterterrorism from CIA operatives on the West Bank. Most strikingly, Abdel Razak Yehiyeh, the PA Minister of Interior prior to September’s cabinet shakeup, issued an unambiguous call for an end to the bloodshed: “Stop the suicide bombings. Stop the murders for no reason. Return to the legitimate struggle against the occupation without violence and following international norms and legitimacy.”

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