Violence escalates in Israel and Palestine
Palestinians have repeatedly carried out knife attacks against Israelis within Israel and in East Jerusalem since the start of the month. Israel has tightened its security laws, while soldiers and police have opened fire on attackers and demonstrators. A third Intifada threatens to break out, some commentators warn. Others are optimistic that the conflict will take a peaceful turn.
Threat of a third Intifada looms large
The Palestinians' frustration at Israeli occupation could explode in a new rebellion any time now, the centre-left daily The Independent warns: "It was a sense of powerlessness among the Palestinian population that drove the previous intifadas, and that can be found in abundance today. Ten years of relative peace (within Israel, if not Gaza or the West Bank) has failed to bring a diplomatic solution to the conflict any closer. The Palestinian Authority (PA), which controls the West Bank, has rarely looked weaker, and attempts to drive forward its cause through engagement with international bodies, such as the International Criminal Court, have so far come to nothing. Most of the ingredients are there for a collective explosion."
Peace not impossible
Despite the escalating violence the outlook there are signs that a peaceful turn in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians could be in the making, writes the conservative daily ABC optimistically: "Because in Obama Israel has a mediator less sympathetic to their cause than it has had for decades, an escalation in the conflict would hardly be in the Israelis' interests. And the Palestinians, intent on enhancing their reputation to achieve diplomatic recognition, more violence could destroy all they have accomplished so far. Moreover, the politicians on both sides are unlikely to find a more propitious moment to take a step towards peace that will be rewarded by the international community, appalled as it is at the prospect of the fighting in the region cementing the conflict for all eternity."
Israel is not the only target of the Palestinians' anger, writes the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "It's significant that the unrest is probably not controlled by Hamas or other groups. Perhaps an anger is emerging on the Palestinian side that has more to do with the 'Arabellion' than with the Intifada of the past: a rebellion not just against Israel but also against the (unsuccessful) course of their own leaders. It's good that [US] Secretary of State Kerry wants to try and mediate. However he will be dealing once again with Netanyahu and Abbas, whose irreconcilability is part of the problem."