Tel Aviv, Asharq Al-Awsat – As the second intifada entered its fifth year on Wednesday, despite the high number of casualties and continued human suffering, several Palestinians and Israelis feared a third uprising is likely to erupt in the near future, bringing even more pain and loss to both parties.
In this pessimistic analysis, the latest violence in the Gaza Strip, even after the Israeli army withdrawal, the escalation in the West Bank and the constant arguments between the two leaderships as an indication the situation was likely to deteriorate dangerously and reach a “blind tsunami” as one Israel commentator wrote.
Israel continues to target the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad despite both groups halting their operations from the Gaza Strip. For their part, the parties have revealed plans to kidnap soldiers and settlers with the intent of swapping them for Palestinian prisoners, believing this method to represent a last-ditch attempt at freeing Palestinian detainees.
The second intifada, also known al the Al Qadsa uprising, started on 28 th September 2000, following the visit of then opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the al Qasa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
In the last five years, 1064 Israelis have been killed, including 745 civilians and 7462 injured. On the Palestinian side, 4224 were killed, of which 3733 are civilians and the rest armed men and an estimate 20,000 thousand were injured, mostly civilians, and 8,000 detained. Sharon became Prime Minister 6 months after the start of the intifada, in March 2001.
Despite the withdrawal of Israeli troops and the disbandment of settlements in the Gaza Strip earlier this month, a move many believed would encourage peace overtures between the two people, the situation is getting worse.
Israel has postponed the summit between the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Sharon, scheduled for 2 nd October, where the men were to discuss ways to apply the roadmap for peace.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, the adjournment was announced after the government saw no benefit in holding the meeting.
He added, “The Palestinian Authority shows willingness to resolve the obstacles but does not do anything in this respect. For its part, Israel took a giant step, which almost cost the Prime Minister his post while the Palestinians still behave in a way that encourages terrorism.”
He cited the Palestinian rockets, which have targeted Israeli towns close to the Gaza Strip and the kidnapping of Sasson Nuriel, by members of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and the group’s plans to move the confrontation to the West Bank and attack large Israeli cities as further proof of the Palestinians” unwillingness for peace.