Fragile Calm and Possible Escalation

The Israeli assaults against the neighborhoods of Al-Quds last May resulted in serious confrontations between the Israeli occupation and the Palestinians. At a popular level, the Palestinians grouped in Al-Masjid and the neighborhoods where clashes took place; and militarily, an 11-day military escalation initiated between the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and the occupation.

Although the escalation stopped, the occupation continues its violations with the intention to Judaize Al-Quds' neighborhoods, mainly Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah. Extreme right settlers, from the Likud and Religious Zionism, have been insisting on organizing provocative protests to break into Al-Quds neighborhoods and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa. The extreme Zionist Itamar Ben-Gvir is leading the protest in which other Knesset members will participated.

The Palestinian resistance insists that the occupation's return to such practices will be responded to the same as before, and this had become the irreversible new rule of engagement. Both political and military leaders of the resistance made this point clear on several occasions. 

The recent escalation made the occupation's leaders take the resistance' threats seriously. The army and Shabak leaders and the inspector general recommended to prevent the protest from taking place in the Old Town, Bab Al-Amoud, and the Islamic Square; all the way to Al-Buraq arena. The security bodies believe such protest would lead to immediate escalation in Al-Quds, the West Bank and the occupied cities.

The new rule has been embarrassing to the occupation leaders. Continuing to assault the Palestinians will receive a tough response from the resistance, and taking some steps back would reflect the occupation's submission to the resistance hence announcing the latter's victory; either way it brings the Israeli deterring-power theory to the ground.

Analysis and Insight of the Situation

  1. The Israeli violations have not stopped in Al-Quds and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa which  is keeping the situation unsettled.
  2. The extreme right leaders are exercising pressure at political and military levels in the entity pushing towards the assaults and violations against the Jerusalemites and not responding with the resistance' demands since such responses could reflect the latter's victory.
  3. Some extreme right organizations are heading the assaults indicating a systemized work. Some of these organizations are Al-Haykal, Lehava, and La Familia which demand the destruction of Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa and construction of Al-Haykal instead. 
  4. Netanyahu, who failed to form the government, is showing support to the settlers' racist practices and provocative activities. He wishes to prove that he is still the most capable leader of the right.
  5. The change bloc leaders think that any escalation led by Netanyahu is mainly to help him achieve political gains. Therefore, Benny Gantz, Defense Minister, openly stated that he would not allow any political considerations to intervene in the security decision-making process.
  6. The Israeli decision-making process is fluctuating. Some want to take their revenge and restore the alleged power of deterrence, and the others want to calm the situation down and cancel any decisions that could trigger last month's escalation.
  7. The flag march is still being delayed. This reflects the political cleavage within the entity and inability to make a final decision.

Expected Scenarios

Based on the abovementioned, following are the possible scenarios:

  1. The calm continues: The occupation has backed down from the Judaization and violation policies against Al-Quds neighborhoods, and cancelled the provocative events held by the settlers. The army leaders and Shabak have shown that they are taking the resistance' warnings seriously, and expressed concerns over heading to a new confrontation amidst the great political and social cleavage within the entity.
  2. A new escalation begins: This is greatly linked to the settlers' provocative activities and violations against Al-Quds. The settlers' insistence on moving forward with the racist actions and protests supports this scenario.

It is expected that the security level is brought ahead of the political considerations and settlers' practices, and the situation is taken to a less tense level. The entity will try to protect its image and prevent the resistance from having any form of victory.

Source : PALM Strategic Initiatives Centre