Israeli Analyst: Palestinians Sense Israeli Weakness

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Friday's terror attack that killed a teenage girl in the West Bank is indicative of the Palestinian exploitation of what is seen as Israel's increasing weakness and capitulation.

Writing in the Times of Israel, veteran analyst Avi Issacharoff writes that the attack "was far from a bolt from the blue given the current atmosphere among Palestinians in the West Bank. And there are growing concerns that things could get far worse."

The ferment among West Bank Palestinians, the growing calls for violence and the escalation in terrorism are being stirred from Gaza by its ruling terror group, Hamas, in its ongoing face-off with Netanyahu. What Netanyahu’s bitter critic and former defense minister Avigdor Liberman described Friday as the prime minister’s “surrender” to the terrorists — his agreement to allow Qatar to distribute funds in Gaza to needy families (and in the past to Hamas employees), the easing of certain restrictions at border crossings, the improved electricity supply — amid intermittent rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, is seen on the Palestinian side as proof of weakness. Weakness to be exploited.

Israel is understood to be capitulating to Hamas demands, more than in the past, precisely when the level of violence is rising — with the rocket attacks, attempts by armed infiltrators to breach the Gaza border fence, violent demonstrations at the border and more.

"The Israeli government," says Issacharoff, "is seen to be following a policy of seeking to pay off Hamas in return for relative calm."

"This is being internalized in the West Bank too," he adds, "which means not only that more terrorism seems likely, but that the West Bank is generally in greater ferment, with Fatah activists also perceiving an Israeli capitulation."

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