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Why Israel must protect Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered his security apparatus to prevent escalation and continue cooperation with Israel, but it is uncertain how long he can hold off the desperate Palestinian street.
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Shortly after returning to Israel from his US visit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an urgent security meeting at his Tel Aviv office to address the recent wave of violence in Israel and the ways to combat it. The heads of the defense establishment were required to answer whether the Palestinians were organizing in large numbers for an intifada or if this is another short spike in terror, similar to the one that took place in Jerusalem at the end of 2014 against the backdrop of tensions at the Temple Mount.

A temporary spike in violence or a full-blown intifada call for two entirely different postures as well as responses. An all-out confrontation — an intifada — would mean declaring war on the Palestinian Authority (PA). It would also mean applying sanctions that could potentially bring about its collapse and dissolution. By contrast, operatively coping with a specific wave of violence — however intense and deadly — actually calls for continued cooperation with the PA, including closer security coordination.

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