Wed, 29 Nov 2023

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RAMALLAH, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli-Palestinian peace process seems to have reached an indefinite impasse that may stoke more tensions and violence between the two sides in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, said Palestinian analysts.

Protests, strikes and closures almost broke out daily in West Bank cities after the killing of Palestinians in clashes with Israeli soldiers who raided the cities of Jenin, Nablus and adjacent refugee camps for suspects, or when Palestinian gunmen attacked Israeli settlers and soldiers.

According to official Palestinian figures, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank this year, half of whom in Jenin and Nablus. Meanwhile, more than 18 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks in Israeli cities since March.

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In separate interviews with Xinhua, Palestinian observers stressed that the use of forces has soured the political atmosphere necessary for revitalizing the stalled peace process.

The Palestinian and the Israeli sides trade accusations over responsibility for growing hostility, with the former saying that the daily Israeli raids have impaired the Palestinian security's ability to quell the conflicts, while the latter accuses the Palestinian Authority (PA) of standing aside when the Palestinian militants took their toll in Jenin and Nablus.

"Resorting to escalation drags the region into a cycle of violence and causes the greatest harm to the Palestinian people," said Omar Awadallah, an aide to the Palestinian foreign minister.

Awadallah said Israel has attempted to evade its due responsibilities before the international community and use victim-blaming rhetoric against the PA by saying the PA has failed to prevent the spread of Palestinian militants, which is unacceptable and should be rejected.

Awadallah also criticized the United States for following a double-standards policy in dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli issue.

The Palestinians and Israelis have been grappling with renewed tension since their direct peace talks came to a halt in March 2014 due to profound differences over Israeli settlement expansion and the recognition of a Palestinian state.

The Palestinians want to establish an independent state alongside Israel on the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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According to Talal Okal, a Gaza-based political analyst, Israel has escalated its military actions "particularly in areas under the Palestinian security's control" in the West Bank, the move of which only lead to more clashes and confrontations in the Palestinian territories.

"Under such a policy, Israel should expect that Palestinians will turn the tables on all those who have delusions of the possibility of exploiting their blood for special Israeli interests," he added.

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Ghassan Al-Khatib, a professor of political science at Birzeit University in Ramallah, said the West Bank is on a downward spiral toward more conflicts, as Palestinians meet the violent Israeli measures with mounting popular and armed resistance.

"The absence of a political horizon, Israeli settler groups' provocations, escalating Israeli military ground operations, as well as restricting the movement of the Palestinians and demolishing their homes ... all are factors leading to more tensions," he added.

Al-Khatib stressed that "Israel verbally calls on the authority to take its role, but in practice, it takes measures that weaken it and make it unable to work."

As Israel's legislative elections scheduled for Nov. 1 are approaching, Palestinian officials and observers believed that the Israeli rightists seemed to count on flexing muscles to the Palestinians as a way to win more votes.

"The Israeli government is not looking to launch a large-scale military operation in West Bank before the election, but the continuation of the incidents could drag the army precisely into such a move," wrote Amos Harel in his opinion piece published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

"It's clear that a more intensive military confrontation in the West Bank, with a rising Palestinian death toll, is liable to bring down the voting rate among the Arabs in Israel," he added.

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