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Desperate Palestinian leadership could choose armed struggle

With the Trump administration clearly on Israel’s side, Palestinian leadership might resort, once again, to armed struggle.
Palestinians clash with  Israeli border police during clashes at a checkpoint between Shuafat refugee camp and Jerusalem October 9, 2015. In the past 10 days, four Israelis have been shot or stabbed to death in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, and at least a dozen have been wounded by Palestinians wielding knives or screwdrivers in stabbings in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. Several Palestinians have also been killed, and scores wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces during stone-throwing

It took the Netanyahu government four days after US President Donald Trump's inauguration to announce one of the biggest Jewish construction plans for the West Bank: 2,500 housing units. Even with Trump’s latest declaration against the construction of new settlements, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners are fairly certain that they need not fear US denunciation of any settlement expansion or any American demand to reverse the move in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.

This new situation is both a blessing and a curse for Netanyahu. On the one hand, no more Obama administration blocking and criticizing settlements, which the administration and the UN defined as the main obstacle to a two-state solution. On the other, the free pass from Trump places Netanyahu on a collision course with the right-wing flank of his government. Education Minister Naftali Bennett's HaBayit HaYehudi party is pressuring the government to exploit the new right-wing friend in the Oval Office for concrete West Bank annexation measures, starting with the application of Israeli law in the Ma'ale Adumim township, east of Jerusalem.

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