Israel: July 8, 2001

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The deadlock over starting the "ceasefire process" (seven days of as yet undefined peace) continues. Meanwhile, the violence is escalating in new ways. More Israeli terrorist groups are emerging, with Palestinians being ambushed more frequently. Palestinian attacks on Israeli troops and settlers in Palestinian territory are increasing in frequency and intensity. The basic problem remains. Long term Palestinian grievances created overwhelming popular enthusiasm for continued violence, making it politically risky for the Palestinian Authority (already disdained because of long time corruption and tyranny) to crack down. On the Israeli side, the current government got into power with the settlers and their supporters leading the way. To turn against the settlers (by ousting them from Palestinian territory) would probably bring down the government. Surveys indicate that 75 percent of Palestinians back continued violence and 82 percent of Israelis believe there won't be a ceasefire. But 52 percent of Israelis do favor evacuating some of the more isolated and exposed (to Palestinian attack) settlements. International law does not recognize the 200,000 Israeli settlers living in Palestinian territory.  Perhaps reflecting the reality of the situation, new barriers (trenches, walls and blockades) are being built along the border between Palestinian territory in the West Bank and Israel.  

 

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