Yuval Diskin says conditions in place for a massive uprising in West Bank; urges inclusion of Egypt and Jordan in peace talks
Amid rumors of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks hitting an impasse, and two days after Hamas called for a new violent uprising against Israel, a former head of the Shin Bet security agency warned Monday of the likelihood of a â€œPalestinian Arab Spring.â€
â€œAll of the conditions exist in our situation for the Palestinian masses to rise up,â€ Yuval Diskin told a conference at the Finance Ministryâ€™s Budget Division. â€œIn the West Bank, the intense tension and frustration is worsening among the Palestinians, who feel that their land is being stolen from them, that the state they strive for is getting further away, and the economy is no longer something that they can take comfort in.â€
Diskin also called for Israelâ€™s neighbors to be given an active role in the negotiations with the Palestinians.
â€œWe must bring in Egypt and Jordan to the early stages of the negotiation process. Their entrance into this story will give [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas legitimacy to make critical decisions.â€
Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin speaks at the ‘Suckers’ movement demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday (photo credit: Tali Mayer/Flash90)
Diskin struck a pessimistic note about Israelisâ€™ confidence in the prospects of peace with the Palestinians. â€œIt is also clear,â€ he said, that there was no chance of the Israeli public demanding a push for the peace process, â€œat least according to the political picture that emerges at the moment.â€
The comments come three months into renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Only US Secretary of State John Kerry is authorized to report on progress at the negotiations, but insiders have been quoted repeatedly in Israeli and Palestinian media as saying that little headway is being made and no breakthrough appears imminent, and each side is blaming the other for the impasse.
Still, on Saturday Abbas told German TV that peace talks were moving ahead, and on Sunday chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni said she was confident in the talks.
The negotiations have come under scrutiny from both sides recently, with some Palestinians officials publicly branding them as fruitless and some Israeli politicians calling to suspend them in the wake of a series of terror attacks in the West Bank over the last month. Nonetheless, reports Monday said Netanyahu would be approving the second of four phases of Palestinian prisoner releases next week, as agreed within the framework of the renewed talks.
On Saturday, the Gaza-based Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called for Palestinians to wage a â€œpopular uprisingâ€ in the West Bank. Urging a renewal of intifada â€œresistance,â€ Haniyeh praised the â€œheroic martyrsâ€ responsible for a series of recent terrorist attacks in the West Bank, in which two soldiers were killed, a retired army colonel was bludgeoned to death, and a nine-year-old girl was shot and lightly injured. In the latest suspected terrorist attack, on Thursday, a Palestinian man rammed a tractor through the gate of an army base north of Jerusalem and was shot dead by IDF forces.