Date: 13/09/2020 Time: 21:05
Pinhas Inbari – Veteran Arab affairs correspondent and analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
The Palestinian Authority declared last weekend the intention to establish a “Unified Leadership of the Popular Intifada” after a meeting of the secretary generals of the “organizations”. And the actual declaration of the unified command is due to take place today, but I doubt if indeed it will take place.
The declaring of popular intifada is an attempt to return to the pattern of the first intifada, but what was correct then, is out of context today. The 1978 intifada took place when the local leadership was strong and enjoyed tolerant Israeli military government. Today there is no more local leadership and the PLO is not capable of leading that kind of struggle, especially that the local citizens are not inspired by the PLO leadership.
We do not expect that indeed a popular intifada will erupt. First, the Palestinians are concerned with the corona and they prefer to stay home. Secondly, they perceive the PA as corrupt and they are not ready to fight for it.
Having say that, the forces in the Middle east that want the foil the Israeli-Gulf agreement can use the Palestinian problem and by creating an intifada will force the Gulf to retract from the agreements, there is a precedent when Morocco and Tunisia closed their offices in Tel Aviv when the 2000 intifada erupted.
Under this background we have to understand the visit of Haniyya to Lebanon. According to the Lebanese media he was invited by Hizbullah and the question is why.
In my opinion the main concern of Hizbullah is the legitimacy of the Muqawama. Growing circles in Lebanon, including large sectors inside the Shiite community want the era of Muqawama to end against the wish of Hizbullah.
This has a practical side. An economic rescue for Lebanon can be found in the development of the rich natural gas field offshore Lebanon, but this requires drafting the borders of Lebanon. The moment the borders with Israel are agreed – the justification for the Muqawama is lost. So, the critical need for accepting borders are against the wishes of Iran and the narrative of Hezbollah.
Haniyya has a similar problem – in Gaza, Sinwar already decided to stop the activity along the borders with Israel in anticipation for an economic deal to give a rescue to Gaza. This does not fit the ideology of Haniyya of Muqawama etc. hence it leads us to the West Bank. Hizbullah doesn’t want to open a direct front with Israel, and Haniya will not force Gaza to get again engaged with Israel.
Will Abu Mazen accept Hezbollah and Hamas shifting the “Muqawama” to his territory? I don’t think so, and that’s why I don’t believe that we are indeed to face the outbreak of an intifada – in whatever kind in the West Bank.