Part 1 of article
There are fears that Jerusalem will be turning into the focal point of an outburst that would prompt the next intifada. It will be a civilian rather than armed intifada, although it may certainly escalate into a bloody uprising.
This intifada may spread like wildfire across the rest of the West Bank and its main centers of activity will be protests around the settlements and mostly near the security fence.
Bilin will turn into a focal point that will spread along the fence area.
There are indications already that attest to involvement and action by the Palestinian Authority government, and mostly by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, towards this type of activity. We are dealing with part of the political strategy he has been adopting for many years now: Establishing the Palestinian state without dialogue and cooperation with Israel, but rather, simultaneously.
This is manifested through the establishment of physical, economic and “military” infrastructure – the latter is materialized through security agencies whose activity is clearly apparent on the ground and often assisted in thwarting attacks, either on the part of Hamas or PA opposition factions.
Bibi learned nothingHence, the events on the Temple Mount, with young Palestinians - some of whom masked - barricading themselves inside the mosques and hurling stones in all directions, constitute a spark that can light a great fire within a very short period of time.
We can point to several elements that contribute to this fire, including Israel. The declaration regarding the heritage sites initiated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proves that he has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. His move also constitutes an insult to our patriotic intelligence – do we have to be reminded that we are indeed the people of this land? That we are citizens rather than immigrants? We do not need constant reminders that we belong in this country.
The fight over symbols heightens the tension on the Palestinian side, because it places on the agenda the absolute truths of both religions; Judaism on the one hand and Islam on the other. This kind of conflict has no solution whatsoever. We must not even touch it.
The safest and healthiest way is to keep these visions as values that cannot be materialized.
Part 2 of article to be published Wednesday evening
Prof. Shaul Mishal from Tel Aviv University is a Hamas and radical Islam researcher