John Kerry, give it a rest. If an intifada breaks out, it won't happen because the current round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians fails. The level of expectations from these talks is so low on both sides, that freezing them will not leave any traumatic scars on either side.
Israel and the Palestinians accepted the Kerry initiative in July out of an understanding that this move serves great American interests and that they had better cooperate with them. Neither side felt that the US president had any fire in his belly on the issue and no one really believed in Kerry's vision for a permanent agreement within nine months.
Op-ed: Palestinians want full sovereignty; if Israel wants to live, it must knock over negotiating table
The talks began with a feeling of "let's start and see, maybe we'll get something out of it after all." Each side planned how to benefit the most from actually sitting down together.
Abbas fulfilled an old Palestinian dream which even Arafat did not live to see: The release of 104 life prisoners symbolizing "the deception of Israel," which failed to release them as it had committed to in the Oslo Agreements. Israel wants them to be released in four stages, by April? Whatever. We'll show restraint. The Americans want to present an interim plan for an agreement in January? Tfadal, let them present it. We Palestinians won't object until the last prisoner is released. And what next? We'll see. We'll present new demands, to get responsibility for Area C, for example, which is being swallowed by the Jewish settlement blocs.
Next stage: Battle over Area CFor Netanyahu, the talks are a paradise of buying time. Tzipi Livni is busy. The Israeli demand to continue construction has received American-Palestinian approval. Despite the protests, with each stage Israel announces further construction. Habayit Hayehudi is happy, Lieberman is happy, the coalition is kicking, and Bibi receives a decoration of valor for both talking about peace and building.
No one is running to an intifada because of a crisis in the talks. The talks are scheduled to end ahead of Passover. Two months later it's Ramadan, and then the Jewish Holidays. If the Palestinians want to blow up the ground, they will start with a diplomatic intifada in the international institutions. Abbas is not a leader of a military intifada. If the ground starts burning up, it will happen because the Palestinian Authority or Israel lose control. Of all days, the PA has chosen these days of a crisis in the talks to launch a wide-scale military operation in Nablus' refugee camps to regain its governance.
The wise person in this story is former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. As a private businessman, he is walking about looking into business initiatives in the Israel-controlled Area C. He must know something we don't know: In the next stage, the PA is planning to launch a battle over Area C rather than an armed intifada.