The chances that a full-scale armed Intifada
erupting in the West Bank are slim, but the chances for popular, simmering unrest with mass demonstrations are much higher, Shin Bet Chief Yoram Cohen was quoted as saying by Yedioth Ahronoth.
In a closed meeting at a conference for Israeli ambassadors stationed worldwide, Cohen said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
wants to reach an agreement with Israel, but on his terms; and wants to resume the negotiations from the place they left off with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Amongst other things, he already wants to receive Israeli gestures, like prisoner releases and weapons transfers to his security forces, in order to strengthen his stance opposite Hamas.
Cohen's utterances are in contrast with the doctrine former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
tried bestowing upon the ambassadors – that Abbas is no partner.
The Shin Bet
chief agreed to appear at the conference despite the fact that Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo declined the invitation, fearing his comments would be leaked.
Cohen provided the ambassadors with an analysis on an array of issues and stressed that the partnership with the Palestinian Authority
and its security forces was a good one and one that it is important to pursue.
Referring to the "price tag"
phenomenon, the Shin Bet chief said that it is not aimed at the Palestinians but rather against the State of Israel and that it was intended to deter the State from removing outposts.
According to Cohen, it is difficult to catch "price tag" executors, since 12-year-olds are carrying them out without the consent of their parents, rabbis
The chief estimated that the chances for reconciliation between the PA and the Hamas are slim and that there is cooperation with Egypt in preventing smuggling into the Gaza Strip. According to Cohen, following Operation Pillar of Defense,
the Strip has remained with thousands of rockets as opposed to the 10,000 they had prior to the operation.
Itamar Eichner is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent