Now, after the “Intifada of the Prisoners”, the Palestinians are preparing a new Intifada to be called the “Intifada of the Settlements”. Senior sources in the Palestinian Authority confirm that the intention is to organize mass demonstrations with the aim of initiating clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers in protest over the expansion of settlements and the paving of bypass roads.

Reports reaching the Palestinian Authority indicate that the Netanyahu government intends to use the period before the elections to create new facts on the ground, including the expansion of a large number of the settlements and the paving of new bypass roads in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority believes that a new Intifada will force the Israeli Government to give up, at least partially, on its plans to expand the settlements.

In discussions held in recent days between senior members of the Palestinian leadership and the Fatah organization, it was agreed to initiate protests and clashes with the Israeli army and settlers along the lines of the “Intifada of the Prisoners”, which broke out several weeks ago in protest over Israel’s refusal to release security prisoners. In the Palestinian Authority it is said that the “Intifada of the Prisoners” was crowned with success since the subject rose to the top of the priority list and since Israel promised to reconsider the issue of the security prisoners. Among other things, members of the Palestinian Authority note the declaration of Israel’s President, Ezer Weizman, who hinted that he supported the release of Palestinian prisoners when he said, “Until when will we continue to hold them?”

In recent years, a number of serious clashes have taken place between Palestinians and settlers. During the Western Wall Tunnel riots, hundreds of Palestinians converged on the fences of the Netzarim settlement in Gaza. Last month, during the “Intifada of the Prisoners”, hundreds of Palestinians closed in on the settlement of Ariel and damaged property there. Dr Zakaria al-Agha, a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, confirms that the Palestinian Authority intends to act against the Israeli Government’s settlement policy. “There is no alternative at this stage to popular opposition to the settlements and the settlers,” explained al-Agha. “This is a burning issue which can not be postponed. All forces and resources must be united in the struggle against the settlements.”

Al-Agha called upon the Palestinian Authority to prohibit Palestinian workers from working within the boundaries of the settlements and to allocate special budgets to struggle against the settlers. “Israel is disowning all the agreements signed with it and continues with the building and expansion of the settlements to thwart the establishment of the Palestinian state.”