Indeed, after nearly 20 years of negotiation with Israel, during which Israeli settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem roughly doubled to more than 550,000, Palestinians are increasingly questioning the value of talking with Israel. By contrast, most Palestinians saw Hamas – which targeted Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with missiles for the first time – as victorious in the recent conflict, since Israel refrained from a ground invasion and made significant concessions in the cease-fire talks.
“The public is comparing the diplomatic, peaceful negotiation approach of [Abbas] that has been actually taking us from bad to worse … with the violent approach of Hamas and Gaza, and they seem to be more attracted to the Gaza model rather than the West Bank model,” says Ghassan Khatib, former PA spokesman and founder of the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre, which conducted the recent poll showing an uptick in Palestinian support for military operations. (The poll was published Dec. 20 and can be found here.)
“This is a bigger fluctuation than anything we saw in the last 10 years,” Mr. Khatib says, though he adds that it’s too soon to tell whether it’s just a temporary spike or something more enduring.
Over the weekend, an Israeli commander in the West Bank reportedly told reserve troops that a third intifada is already under way.