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Israel concerned new intifada could erupt
Published Monday 25/02/2013 (updated) 26/02/2013 21:29
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Israeli soldiers take position during clashes with protesters in Hebron,
Feb. 24. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel's homeland security minister voiced concern on Monday that a surge of protests in the occupied West Bank could erupt into a new intifada if confrontations turned deadly.

A Palestinian's death in an Israeli jail on Saturday and a hunger strike by four other prisoners have raised tension in the West Bank, where stone-throwers have clashed repeatedly with Israeli soldiers in recent days.

"The previous two intifadas ... came about as a result of a high number of dead (during protests)," minister Avi Dichter told Israel Radio. "Fatalities are almost a proven recipe for a sharper escalation."

Israeli soldiers turned out in force on Monday for the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, 30, who was arrested just one week ago for throwing stones at Israeli cars in the West Bank.

Palestinian officials say he died after being tortured. Israel said an autopsy, carried out with a Palestinian coroner present, was inconclusive and that injuries, such as broken ribs, could have been caused by efforts to revive him.

Palestinian frustration has been fueled by Israel's settlement expansion in the West Bank, a peace process in limbo since 2010 and a persisting rift between President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which runs Gaza.

"We have no choice but to continue the popular resistance and escalate it in the face of the occupation, whether it be the army or the settlers," Mahmoud Aloul, a senior member of Abbas's Fatah movement, told Reuters.

'Dead children'

Dichter said Israel had to tread carefully in dealing with any protests, accusing the Palestinians of trying to portray themselves as victims before US President Barack Obama's visit to the region next month.

"I don't think the Palestinian Authority will gain from an intifada, just as it didn't achieve anything from the first or second intifadas," he said.

"But I would say that after conducting themselves with poor and warped thinking over the years, they don't always recognize what's in their best interests," he added.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Abbas aide, said Israel's treatment of prisoners and anti-Palestinian violence by Jewish settlers were "the cause of the deterioration".

Israel demanded on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority put a lid on the protests, many of which have taken place in areas outside the PA's jurisdiction. Abbas has said he would not allow a third armed Intifada, but Israeli officials cautioned that events could spiral out of control.

"They (the Palestinians) are trying to drag us to a situation where there will be dead children," Dichter said.

Palestinians have rallied to the cause of the four hunger-strikers, two of whom are being held without trial on suspicion of anti-Israeli activity.

Some 4,700 Palestinians are in Israeli jails and Palestinians see them as heroes in a statehood struggle. The death of any of the hunger-strikers, one of whom has been refusing food for more than 200 days, would likely lead to more widespread violence.

The first Palestinian uprising began in 1987 and ended in 1993, when the Oslo interim peace accords were signed.

The second Intifada broke out in 2000 after the failure of talks on a final peace agreement. Over the following seven years, more than 4,500 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces. Over 1,000 Israelis died, half of them in suicide attacks mostly against civilians.
1 ) AKeenReader / UK
25/02/2013 12:36
What else do these idiot Israeli govt expects with their brutal beahviour. These Israeli politicians continue to take advantge of Palestinians patience and continued resistance. There's a limit to their patience and peaceful protests.

2 ) Julie / USA
25/02/2013 13:16
"a situation where there will be dead children," << THAT right there is premeditation that izrael intends to murder more children. izrael murders, then blames Palestinians...typical izraeli hasbara, as always. Palestinians are CLEARLY the victims of innumerable izraeli war crimes & crimes against humanity, daily! it appears izrael is intentionally inciting a 3rd intifada so they can falsely justify bomb-blasting the entire population of the WB & Gaza with more illegal weapons & tactics.

3 ) Zainab / UK
25/02/2013 15:28
..."Dichter said Israel had to tread carefully in dealing with any protests, accusing the Palestinians of trying to portray themselves as victims before US President Barack Obama's visit to the region next month" ... - For more than 65 years now Palestinians have been the victims of occupation & oppression, so it is unlikely that they would allow themselves to be tortured, maimed, bombed, & killed, in order to portray themselves as victims just because a US President may visit. THEY ARE VICTIMS!

4 ) Mel / USA
25/02/2013 16:09
Israel's never"concerned"re:new intifada's!It ENJOYS them!
It PROVOKES Arab resistance& uprisings,coz it's a DISPROPORTIONATE KILLING MACHINE! Its"4th most powerful military"with,Chem-Bio,miniature FISSILE,weps,tanks,F-16's,missiles,nerve-gas&armed Jewish colonists!Versus hungry,poor,civilians with only STONES in unprotected hands!Against IOF in FULL military gear,shields,hot MAGS/GAS!Israel PROVOKED BOTH I's B4,& fired 1 MILLION LIVE ROUNDS,in the first 2 days of I-2 at MAINLY non-combatants!

5 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
25/02/2013 18:26
If Israel were really concerned, would its government regularly turn a blind eye to criminal abuses inside Israeli jails and in the streets and homes of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, if not justify them ?

6 ) Maureen / Australia
25/02/2013 20:44
Obama already knows it is the Palestinian people who are the victim, but being just another Zionist puppet he will continue to turn a blind eye to the opression perpetrated by the spoilt belligerant entity that claims to be the only M.E. democracy!

7 ) gabi / australia
26/02/2013 01:50
another intifida? Oh, I wonder why. Actually, I wonder why the Palestinians have taken all the BS they have had to put up with all these years.

8 ) Rami / Palestine
26/02/2013 10:28
Dear old Dichter, the Palestinian Authority didn't exist during the first intifada an that's why they didn't "benefit" from it. Logic is an amazing thing, isn't it?

9 ) Mel / USA
26/02/2013 19:19
It's time for another intifada! But,one that's diiferent from the last 2 where Israel's military DISPROPORTIONATELY BRUTALIZED oppressed Palestinian refugees,with its massive killing machine.Israel's OCCUPATION is the root cause of Palestine's RESISTANCE.Arabs&Jews for REAL,POSITIVE,peace SHOULD JOIN forces against Nazi ZIONISM,for the sake of both Israel &Palestine equally! Zionism can't beat THAT unity!Watch&Listen!

10 ) blah blah / usa
26/02/2013 21:39
These pallywood folks just want another reason to not work. THey prefer to throw rocks and set their tires on fire. No wonder nobody pays any attention to them. they are like children always whinning and throwin hissy fits.

11 ) gabi / australia
28/02/2013 06:34
# 10 - are you talking about the Haredim?
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