Israeli intel assessment: Abbas will escalate diplomatic war – i24news
PA said to believe Netanyahu goal is to buy time, believing next US president will be friendlier to Israel
The Palestinian Authority leadership, also under pressure from the international community to resume the peace talks with Israel, does not believe negotiations with Israel will produce any results, and therefore plans to step up its anti-Israel activity in international forums, intelligence officials say, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Wednesday.
According to the officials, most of Israeli’s intelligence agencies predict that the PA will adopt a confrontational stance and try to undermine Israel’s standing in international agencies – not only the United Nations, but also dozens of other organizations – such as the recent proposal to ban Israel from FIFA.
The US, according to the report, is trying to persuade the PA to refrain from any moves in international forums that Israel would consider extreme, like its application to join the International Criminal Court earlier this year, at least until after the controversial Iran deal is signed at the end of June.
In any case the Palestinian struggle, according to Haaretz, will remain largely nonviolent as its leaders set their sights on the international arena rather than a violent third intifada, and most likely would try to prevent any outbreak of violence that it would have trouble controlling.
“PA President Mahmoud Abbas has despaired of negotiations both because of their lack of results during the sporadic talks he held during Netanyahu’s two previous terms and because of Netanyahu’s conflicting statements about the two-state solution in recent months. Abbas is apparently convinced that Netanyahu’s sole goal is to buy time until US President Barack Obama’s term ends in January 2017. Regardless of who succeeds Obama – whether a Republican or leading Democratic contender Hillary Clinton – both Abbas and Netanyahu think the next US administration will be friendlier to Israel than the current one,” Haaretz wrote.
However not all the sides aspiring for an independent Palestinian state are interested in peace and quiet.
According to a Jerusalem Post‘s report, the Israeli military and Hamas in Gaza are quietly preparing for the possibility of another round of violence.
Over the recent months Hamas has been renewing its rockets’ arsenal and digging new tunnels along the border with Israel. Hamas’ military wing, Izzadin Kassam, is holding combat training drills just a few kilometers from the Israeli communities on the other side of the border.
The IDF in response is also deploying new ways to defend the southern border.
The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday that new electronic sensor fences around the border communities are being installed. The fences are linked up to IDF company and battalion control rooms, who in turn can scramble forces that are always nearby.
IDF forces are still deployed on a permanent basis in some of the communities due to their proximity to the Gaza Strip.
Against the threat of tunnels, destroyed during last summer’s war in Gaza, but currently being dug all over again by Hamas, IDF has begun deploying components of a new hi-tech underground tunnel detection system, although the system is still at an early stage, and it is incomplete.
And according to recent reports Hamas is also building a new road that connects its border with Israel, near Khan Younis, and personnel from its military wing can be seen, armed with machine guns, guarding the road works, observing Israeli military movements that they can see.
Israel, on its part, has large numbers of mobile field intelligence units move around the region, and some of them look back into Israel, scanning for infiltrators.
Responding to the threat of short-range rockets fired into Israel last summer, the IDF has begun receiving new radars that track short-range fire, and provide longer alert times for local residents, the Jerusalem Post says.
Ban Ki-moon: End unilateral actions ‘that erode trust’
Meanwhile Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used the 65th anniversary of the UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees to appeal Tuesday for an immediate resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and an end to unilateral actions “that erode trust.”
Ban told a UN conference marking the anniversary of the UN Relief and World Agency that UNRWA was never meant to exist for 65 years, but “it exists because of political failure.”
He said they “face an existential crisis on many fronts,” blockaded in Gaza by Israel, living under fear of detention by the Israeli army in the West Bank, and trapped by “a merciless siege and violence” in the Yarmouk refugee camp outside the Syrian capital Damascus.
“Their isolation, exclusion and dispossession represent a time bomb for the region, a denial of dignity and rights that must be addressed,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said.
Hanan Ashrawi, the special representative of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said the refugee population now spans four generations and continues “to endure grave hardships and deprivation,” upheavals and successive conflicts.
Yet, she said, “despite enduring the longest occupation in modern history and despite nearly seven decades of exile endured by millions of Palestine refugees, their national identity remains strong and their conviction in the justness of their cause remains unwavering as they seek to realize their long-denied inalienable rights.”