Palestinian protesters burn tires during protests in the West Bank over the Gaza conflict and tensions at the al-Aqsa Mosque, May 16, 2021

'Silent intifada': West Bank is at boiling point

Analysis: 34 Palestinians have been killed in past month - more than during any other month in the last decade - as tensions persist over Gaza conflict and clashes at al-Aqsa Mosque; these events and cancelation of parliamentary elections have left PA weaker and Hamas stronger

Elior Levy |
Published: 06.22.21, 14:50
There has been a significant increase in the number of terrorist attacks, clashes, demonstrations and disturbances in the West Bank between Palestinians and security forces since the start of the conflict in Gaza last month.
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  • Close inspection of these incidents shows that this is not limited to a particular area, but is occurring across the entire West Bank.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    מפגינים פלסטיניים בגדה המערבית
    מפגינים פלסטיניים בגדה המערבית
    Palestinian protesters burn tires during protests in the West Bank over the Gaza conflict and tensions at the al-Aqsa Mosque, May 16, 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The most disturbing statistic shows that during the past month, at least 34 Palestinians were killed in terror attacks and clashes - more than during any other month in the past 10 years.
    By comparison, in April just one Palestinian was killed in clashes, none were killed in March and one was killed in February.
    Even when comparing the data over the past month to previous periods of security tensions, this is an unusually high number of deaths. For example, at the height of the wave of knife and car-ramming attacks of 2015-2016, which was the most significant escalation in the West Bank in the last decade, an average of 26 Palestinians were killed each month.
    The high death toll, growing number of terrorist attacks and other disturbances all point to an extremely fragile situation in the West Bank.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    מהומות בירושלים
    מהומות בירושלים
    Jerusalem police forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, May 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    There are multiple triggers for this "silent intifada." The Palestinian Authority has lost much of its public legitimacy following the cancellation of the parliamentary elections that had been scheduled to take place in May. This led to an increase in sympathy for the Hamas terror group in the areas controlled by the rival Palestinian Authority, as was illustrated in a poll published last week.
    Other triggers were the tensions at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during the month of Ramadan and the 11-day conflict in the Gaza Strip. And while the cause of the Jerusalem tensions eased and the fighting in Gaza ended, the scale of clashes and riots in the West Bank has remained high.
    The most significant flashpoint of recent days has been the daily clashes involving residents of the Palestinian village of Beita south of Nablus, who are protesting the recent establishment of the illegal outpost of Eviatar, which has already brought in 50 families.
    In this hotspot alone, four Palestinians have been killed in clashes with security forces over the past month.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    הפגנה ו הטרדה לילית של פלסטינים באזור הכפר ביתא נגד מאחז אביתר
    הפגנה ו הטרדה לילית של פלסטינים באזור הכפר ביתא נגד מאחז אביתר
    Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces outside the illegal West Bank outpost of Eviatar, June 2021
    (Photo: AFP)
    There have also been violent clashes have also been recently in the Fawar refugee camp, in the Jericho area and the Salem crossing near Jenin.
    For its part, the Israeli defense establishment has in recent weeks increased the number of arrests of Palestinians in the West Bank, with most of the detainees being Hamas operatives or people affiliated with the organization.
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