Observers expect violence to escalate in occupied territories at weekend

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Palestinians run for cover from Israeli forces at the northern entrance of Ramallah, near the Israeli settlement of Beit El, in the occupied West Bank, on April 11, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
AMMAN — Diplomatic efforts to ensure a calm Ramadan this year in the occupied Palestinian territories failed to prevent a new cycle of violence from breaking out. اضافة اعلان

Following a series of attacks by Palestinians, carried out inside Israel in the past few weeks by lone attackers with no clear affiliation to militant groups, Israel launched a wide-ranging “security” operation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem earlier this week. So far, the Israeli operation has resulted in the killing of at least four Palestinians, including two women, and the arrest of more than 100 Palestinians. Israel is also threatening to storm the Jenin refugee camp at any moment, but the most serious escalation could take place late Thursday and early Friday as radical Jewish settlers and politicians have called for storming Al-Aqsa Mosque to mark the Jewish Passover.

This would be a recipe for carnage, observers say.

Professor of international relations and conflict resolution Hasan Al- Momani told Jordan News that there is a fertile ground for escalations that would lead to a military confrontation, but it is difficult to predict whether a confrontation will be triggered by another “lone wolf” Palestinian attacker or if the Israeli response will spark a violent Palestinian reaction.

“There have always been Israeli provocations, either by government forces or by Jewish extremist groups, at Al Aqsa Mosque, which always create tension. As we saw last year, there was a military confrontation between Hamas and Israel due to the events at Al-Aqsa mosque,” Momani said.

He added that Jerusalem is always at the center of tensions as both Israelis and Palestinians see the city and holy places as a test for legitimacy.

Momani added that Israeli extremist groups are interested in increasing tensions and creating a new reality in Jerusalem and at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The current Israeli government, he said, might not be able to control these extremist groups since far-right Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wants to save his coalition and the only way to do that is by appeasing these groups.

According to Momani, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being marginalized, especially now that the West is busy with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Political analyst Amer Al-Sabaileh told Jordan News that there is a real danger of war breaking out “due to escalations and violations”. He noted that some Jewish groups want to use religious festivities to create political and religious crises, “which could result in a confrontation”.

“All previous diplomatic efforts were good, but not enough to affect the ambiguous scene in Palestine and Israel,” Sabaileh said.

He added that the international community is currently occupied with the Ukrainian conflict, “therefore the Palestinian-Israeli issue might not be at the center of attention. However, there could be attempts by the international community to calm the situation down”.

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