Because it's coming, ya baby!
According to the WSJ, the Palestinians in the West Bank have lost patience with negotiations and the US and are planning a new strategy that include non violent resistance against Israeli settlements and military presence.
"The message that Palestinians are getting back from the Arab revolutions is the power of nonviolence," said Mustafa Barghouti, an independent Palestinian politician who has organized recent protests and helped focus them on a demand to heal the split.
Right now Libya is the main show in the region, but a cloud of potential revolutions is already mushrooming on the horizon. As Gaddafi keeps digging in and refuses to flee, he is running a huge risk to become the first Arab ruler to be not only overthrown by the mob, but lynched as well. Both Ben Ali and Mubarak have escaped such an ignominious end, even though in Egypt the protesters have basically sacrificed their entire revolution and the whole agenda on a pointless campaign to get Mubarak's head. In a region where personal vendettas are soap operas of the masses, having Gaddafi torn to pieces in front of al-Jazeera cameras is bound to leave a lasting impression for the generations to come. Once the revolution in Libya reaches its logical end, another round of the reinvigorated Arab revolution is to be expected elsewhere, including the West Bank.
The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank is presently struggling to recover from a massive fallout triggered by the publication of the Palileaks by al-Jazeera. From the leaks it appears that during the last years the PA has been basically negotiating away all sacred cows of the Palestinian cause such the right of return and Jerusalem. Amidst accusations of treason and betrayal of the Palestinian cause, launching such a mass protest campaign should be the next logical step for Abbas and co. to take in order to rehabilitate themselves. If the revolutionary potential of the Palestinian Street is not channeled against Israel, the street can easily take inspiration from the revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere and turn on the leaders themselves.
In many respects, it's a return to the first Intifadah that won the Palestinians the Oslo process and return of Arafat and his Fatah to Gaza and the cities of the West Bank. As the tide is moving their way, all the Palestinians have to do now is to take their place on the wave of history and ride it together with the rest of the region. It's hard to see how they can lose here, as long as they succeed to preserve a modicum of non violence. This time the Palestinians can rely not only on the public opinion in the West and elsewhere, but also on a reaction of the recently awakened Egyptian, Jordanian and other Arab streets who finally count for something. Given that escalations of protests usually happen after Friday prayers, the beginning of the third Intifada is likely to coincide with more protests on Tahrir squares of Egypt, Yemen and other Arab countries. In terms of the global public opinion, Israel can do little to avoid having itself nicely positioned alongside Mubarak, Ben Ali and their friends.
We should have it very clear that the current situation is the culmination of a long chain of mistakes that started almost from the day one of Israel's occupation of the West Bank. The first and single most important of these mistakes was this, but to sum it all up: It was all one big mistake! The plan to establish a Palestinian state on 50% of the West Bank, floated by Lieberman very recently, is unlikely to placate the Palestinians, but even reasonable offers are now likely to be rejected. There is little Israel can do to delay the inevitable or mitigate its effect, because it's simply too late.
It's hard to know when the third intifada is about to hit the West Bank, but it can happen as soon as this or the next Friday. It does not really matter when it's going to happen. What matters is that we recognize that it's going to happen, because... Well, because it's coming, ya baby!
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