Abbas seen passing on Arafat route, ‘third intifada’

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WASHINGTON — Israel’s intelligence community has determined that the
Palestinian Authority would avoid a military confrontation with Israel in

Israeli sources have told U.S. officials and analysts that the PA was
not interested in what they termed a “third intifada” or uprising, in the
West Bank.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Jan. 30. /AFP/Abbas Momani

They said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the ruling Fatah movement would threaten and encourage civilian unrest, but avoid the suicide bombings and other lethal attacks that took place a decade ago under his predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat.

“The assessment by Israel is that any new intifada would play into the hands of Hamas,” a U.S. official said.

On March 27, Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, reported a similar Israeli assessment. Satloff, who met with the Israeli leadership, said the government was convinced that Abbas would not support another uprising against Israel.

“The general consensus is that the calm that currently exists will stay for the forseeable future,” Satloff said.

“And for all the posturing by Abu Mazen [Abbas] and his coterie, they
are doing nothing to change either the economic or the security
cooperation,” Satloff said. “I have my own doubts about this.”

The Israeli assessment was conveyed amid warnings by PA and Fatah
leaders of an imminent conflict with Israel. In late March, former Fatah
secretary-general Marwan Barghouti, regarded as a potential heir to Abbas,
called for another uprising.

“The launch of large-scale popular resistance at this stage serves the
cause of our people,” Barghouti said in a statement from an Israeli prison

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