Israeli Military Intel Chief: Brace for New Palestinian Violence in West Bank
Israel’s chief of military intelligence has weighed-in with his prediction for the New Year: escalating violence in the West Bank and the reelection of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran. Closed door comments by Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi were reported by Israeli media, including the daily Haaretz. According to those who were present at a Tel Aviv University forum, Halevi sees the continued loss of respect for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as driving instability and new violence upward. For the Palestinians, whether Abbas is removed from the picture or his authority continues to weaken, Hamas is expected to become more aggressive in its attempts to expand its reach into the West Bank despite its ostensible control by Fatah and the PA. Halevi implies not all of Hamas’s efforts will be peaceful. Israel, he said, should prepare for “waves” of violence. Echoing an increasingly common train of thought, Halevi said the signs of détente between Israel and Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should continue to increase after being driven closer by their common concerns about Iran and ISIS.