The Third Intifada

(Ha'aretz) Danny Rubinstein - * There is a certain amount of similarity between the situation today and that in the summer of 2000, after the five years of the interim agreement in the Oslo framework came to an end. The summit meeting of then prime minister Barak and PA chairman Arafat at Camp David failed - and the result of that dead end ultimately was the second intifada. * Now we can expect a similar outcome. The focal points of the coming crisis are clear: Although Marwan Barghouti has called from prison to hold huge victory celebrations after Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip, official Palestinian spokesmen are reiterating that the withdrawal from there is not a withdrawal as long as Israel does not hand over to them control of the land, sea, and air border-crossing points. There is hardly any chance for an agreement on these matters. * Although the Egyptians are talking about the border at Rafah (the Philadelphi route), there, too, an agreement is not in sight in the near future. The trap for Israel is clear: If the Israel Defense Forces remain on the Philadelphi route, the border strip will turn into a battlefield - and if we withdraw from it, vast amounts of materiel will flow into Gaza. * An equally important locus of crisis is the security fence around the West Bank, in general, and around eastern Jerusalem, in particular - and to this must be added the almost permanent problems concerning the security of the Palestinian public. Groups of armed men have turned the West Bank into the Wild West. * The first intifada was called the intifada of stones. The second intifada's headline was suicide attacks on buses and in Israeli entertainment centers. The third intifada, signs of which have already been seen in Gaza and Sderot, will be an intifada of mortar shells, rockets, and missiles. * The means for manufacturing them in Gaza - which will no doubt reach the West Bank as well - are rather primitive and these weapons usually do not exact many victims. But they do cause fear and panic, and thus are the most effective weapons at the disposal of the PA once the evacuation of the Strip is completed, and when the walls and fences are completed in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

2005-06-21 00:00:00

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