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West Bank welcomes Hamas back with excitement - and apprehension

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But the Islamist renewal in the West Bank has also been accompanied by an uptick in clashes with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), spurring questions in Israel about whether the sides have reached the threshold of a new Palestinian uprising. Some analysts believe years of calm and stability in the West Bank are coming to an end.  

Around the same time as the Nablus demonstration, hundreds of Palestinian youth in Hebron clashed with Israeli soldiers after the funeral of a local teenager who was killed by the IDF two days ago. According to the army, the minor attacked a solder with a fake gun, which a second soldier who opened fire believed to be real. Israel Radio reported today that security forces were bracing themselves for a new round of clashes following weekly prayer services.

Nathan Thrall, a Middle East analyst with the International Crisis Group, says tensions began rising after Palestinian protests against economic austerity measures several months ago. Those protests first were directed at the PA, and then at Israel.

"Tensions really have increased since the Gaza war. It’s clear that there’s less restraint than there had been a month ago," he says. "Protests had already started in September, when people had been challenging the PA and Israel in a way they hadn’t in some time. The Gaza war continued that."

Reconciliation or politics?

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