The Fragile Situation in Israel

After months of tension around Israel with the Gaza border disputes, the Hezbollah terror tunnels and the Israeli air strikes against Iranian military build-up within Syria, there are now greatly heightened tensions within Israel itself.

A senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies says:

The situation is very sensitive and very fragile right now.
It looks like the tension that has been building up here might explode.”

It seems that the forthcoming Israeli election is a key factor heightening that tension.

Goods at the Kerem Shalom Crossing in 2016Goods at the Kerem Shalom Crossing in 2016

On 17th February Israel announced that it was going to deduct from the monthly tax transfer to the Palestinian Authority (PA) an amount equal to that which the PA pays to terrorists and their families.

The regular tax transfers are said to make up about half of the PA’s budget and Israel planned to deduct about 5 percent of that money.

In response to the Israeli decision, Mahmoud Abbas has decided to reject all of the tax transfer, saying:

“We shall not accept the money if it is not paid in full.”

He claims that Israel’s decision is intended to pressurise the Palestinians into accepting a peace deal that is being prepared by the Americans.

Abbas seems to hope that the resultant financial crisis will pressurise the Israelis into changing their mind rather than risk the collapse of the PA. He also seems to want to stir up opposition to the American peace deal.

Another indication of the fragile situation is the latest confrontation over the Golden Gate onto the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. A structure next to the gate was closed by Israel in 2003 and has been disputed in the past.

But now it seems that those who oppose the American peace deal may have caused the latest confrontation so as to jeopardise that peace plan. One analyst thinks that this could be a coordinated effort by the PA, Turkey and Jordan, all of whom are concerned about the future status of the Temple Mount.

And all of this is taking place within the Israeli election campaign which could itself be disrupted by Benjamin Netanyahu being indicted under three different investigations that currently await an announcement by Avichai Mandelblit, Israel’s Attorney General.