Hamas attacked Israeli settlers again Wednesday, vowing a wave of violence that could shift today's Israeli-Palestinian peace talks from settlements to security.
Two Israelis were injured in a drive-by shooting northeast of Jerusalem on Wednesday, just hours after four victims of a shooting the day before near Hebron were buried. Tuesday's shooting was the worst militant violence in more than two years, and the first of what Hamas has pledged will be a string of attacks.
Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with their Israeli counterparts has substantially improved in recent years, rounded up dozens of suspected Hamas operatives across the West Bank.
But the uptick in militant violence could shift the focus of peace talks to security instead of Palestinian demands to end Israeli building in the West Bank, which settler leaders resumed in anger this week despite a settlement freeze in place until Sept. 26.
"The mood has changed everywhere and every level. This operation also casts a shadow over Washington,'' says Nabil Amr, a member of the Palestine National Council in Ramallah. "This operation gave Netanyahu a strong card especially on the security issue. He wants to put the security issue as key.''