After weeks of Palestinian violence and terror attacks against Israeli targets, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas finally called for calm yesterday.
Speaking to senior officials of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah, Abbas said that he has told the Israelis that the Palestinians don’t want “military and security escalations.” He said the message had been delivered to Palestinian security forces and activists but added that, “at the same time, we will protect ourselves.”
Abbas also said he was ready to renew dialogue with Israel.
While it still might be too early to tell if his words will make a difference, they certainly didn’t have any immediate effect.
A Palestinian female stabbed a 36 year old Israeli man in the back near the Lion’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem last night. After being stabbed, the man was able to draw his weapon and shoot the terrorist, seriously wounding her. Both were taken to Hadassah Hospital.
An eighteen month old Israeli baby and her mother were injured when stones were thrown at their car near the settlement of Eli in Samaria yesterday.
Meanwhile, in Qalandia, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, demonstrators hurled burning tires, rocks and a firebomb at Israeli forces, injuring one police officer. Security forces opened fire with rubber bullets and small .22-caliber rounds, shooting demonstrators in the legs. Clashes also erupted in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin and Hebron.
The real question is, does Abbas really have the power to stop Palestinian attacks against Israeli targets? If the attackers are “lone wolves” acting independently, then it’s unlikely that anything he says will stop them. If they are motivated by religious fervor, he’s also not the man they’ll be looking to for direction.
However, he does control the Palestinian security forces which probably do have the power and the informants to crack down on likely terror sources and arrest them before they have a chance to act. Let’s see if this most recent statement of “calm” will have the desired effect (at least the effect that Israel desires).
For further reading: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_ISRAEL_PALESTINIANS