The security situation in the occupied West Bank is “close to boiling point” due to the “weakness of the Palestinian Authority”, Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) said in a statement. report released on Monday. This weakness, he added, stems from the “united opposition” of factions, as well as “street gangs”.
According to the report, “The situation is still under control, thanks to the determined activity of the [Israel Defence Forces] and the Security Agency, and through security cooperation with the mechanisms of the Palestinian Authority. However, the latter “is weakened and could cease to function, while the growing frustration of the younger generation of Palestinians pushes them to think in terms of a single state of reality.”
The institute says growing international criticism of Israel “helps thwart the chances of implementing the ‘two states for two peoples’ solution and intensifies the danger of legal action against Israel and its definition as a state of apartheid”. Moreover, “the Palestinian arena is not a secondary arena that can be contained by empty illusions of ‘conflict limitation'”.
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The lack of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he added, poses a “serious threat to Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state, and to its status on the international stage”.
In Gaza, Israel currently faces the “same complex and long-lasting dilemma”. One of the reasons for this is “the need for an urgent response to the humanitarian situation, while avoiding a security escalation”. This dilemma, said the INSS, is compounded by “the pressure for the return of prisoners and missing persons held by Hamas and the prevention of Hamas from gaining further military and political control.”
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, won the “free and fair” elections held in 2006, the results of which were not accepted by Israel and its allies. Instead, they backed the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, which “postponed” long-awaited presidential and legislative elections to be held last May, the first since Hamas’ victory. His own term as president expired in 2009.