Jerusalem officials told Ynet Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fears a third intifada this summer ahead of a planned Palestinian declaration of statehood in September.
"Netanyahu fears he will not be able to stop (what will happen in) September," a top official told Ynet. "The prime minister is making an effort to convince European states that if riots begin after the declaration of statehood responsibility will not fall on Israel."
The defense establishment presented decision-makers with a number of possible summer scenarios recently. Officials say that violent clashes may take place between security forces and Arabs and Palestinians.
"There is one scenario in which many thousands, or possibly tens of thousands, begin a march that becomes riots and serious conflicts with the IDF," the official said.
"The fear is that Israeli-Arabs will also join the riots, leading to internal and external instability at this sensitive time."
Israel also fears the possibility that the Palestinian declaration will cause the 250,000 Jewish people living in Jerusalem neighborhoods defined as outside the 1967 lines – such as Gilo, Ramot, and Har Homa – will lose their legitimacy to live there.
"It's a very serious problem, and it remains unclear how we will handle it," the official said, adding that the upcoming Gaza flotilla was also a sensitive matter that must be properly dealt with.
Meanwhile Netanyahu is planning a trip to Eastern Europe soon, to visit Poland, Romania, and Hungary in an attempt to convince leaders to oppose the Palestinian declaration. No specific details are available as of yet, but sources say Netanyahu's goal is to enlist at least 20 opposing states.
Officials add that the US is still attempting to convince France to change its stance and oppose the move. "France is a major player, but we cannot know how it will act at this stage," one source said.