As Tensions in West Bank Continue to Brew, Activist Says It's a Ticking Time Bomb
08:29 GMT 09.01.2022 (Updated: 08:30 GMT 09.01.2022)
The dire economic situation coupled with corruption of Palestinian government bodies has led to frustration and anger among the masses. But what has also triggered it is the deeds of the Israeli government.
The past couple of months have seen tensions going up in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, with 15 attacks or attempted assaults reported between 28 November and 28 December.
Two Israelis have been killed in these attacks and more than a dozen Israelis have been wounded.
Is Israel the Problem?
Samer Sinijlawi, a Fatah activist from Jerusalem, acknowledges the fact that there is violence but he says it comes from both sides.
"The resistance reacts to the violence of the Israeli occupation. Palestinians look around and see injustice and they cannot act as if they were mother Theresa."
Part of them problem, says Sinijlawi, is rooted in the fact that 2021 was one of the deadliest years for the Palestinians, who lost 313 lives, according to B'Tselem, an NGO that monitors Israel's actions in the territories.
Another problem is the home demolition policy, that saw a spike in 2021, with 199 residential structures being destroyed as compared to 151 and 104 in 2020 and 2019 respectively. The third is the activity of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, who allegedly harass and attack Palestinian farmers and civilians
"They steal our lands, they erect illegal outposts, they enter the Temple of the Mount [the access to which is restricted to Jews, albeit its importance in Judaism - ed.]. They are a minority but a very influential one and that makes a lot of mess."
However, that mess does not only stem from the Israelis, and Sinijlawi points the finger of blame at the Palestinian factions and their inability to change the situation.
A recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research showed that only 31 percent of Palestinians residing in the West Bank were happy with their life there. Only five percent have said the same thing about the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Islamic movement Hamas
The same poll also revealed that 27 percent wanted to immigrate from the Palestinian territories, and a vast majority believed the institutions of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were corrupt.
"When you look at these numbers, you understand that these two regimes create an environment of tensions. They led to the fact that we have people disappointed and desperate. Those people don't have any glimpses of hope."
The economic situation in the Palestinian territories has always been dire but it only gotten worse with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the financial crisis it triggered.
That crisis has cost the Palestinians tens of thousands of jobs. Many were pushed into the cycle of poverty and that only added to their pre-existing feeling of frustration.
Heading Towards a Brick Wall?
Now what needs to be answered is where all of this is going.
Sinijlawi believes it is a ticking bomb that will explode soon.
"There are two things that no expert can predict. One is when there is peace, and another one is when wars break out. Right now tensions are high and I believe the escalation is coming."
A prelude to a potential eruption of Palestinian anger has already been displayed in November in the cities of Hebron and Jenin, where pro-government forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas clashed with the masses and the supporters of Hamas, a rivalry faction that challenges the PA
Back then, says Sinijlawi, it was directed towards Abbas and the vices his government represents. This time around, however, if the situation explodes, it will spare nobody.
"The anger will be directed not only at Abbas but also at Israel and its occupation."