Haaretz (Editorial)
June 11, 2012 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's problematic attitude toward the National Security Council was at the center of the complaints voiced against him by former NSC head Uzi Arad. This attitude was also discussed in a State Comptroller's Report that is due to be released shortly.

Perhaps that's the reason the current NSC head, Yaakov Amidror, took the trouble to invite renowned experts on Middle East affairs to his meetings with Netanyahu, so they could share their information and insights. This is a welcome initiative, a genuine opportunity to make it clear to Netanyahu, using sources outside the regular government channels, how his government's policies and the regional situation are intertwined.

These scholars, whose joint expertise encompasses the Palestinians, the Arab states, Turkey and Iran, were asked to analyze the regional phenomenon of the past year known as the Arab Spring, but they ended up warning Netanyahu about what might turn into a hot Israeli summer.

According to the accepted count, over the past quarter century, since 1987, there have been two intifadas, the first a popular uprising, and the second, which started in September 2000, a combination of popular uprising and organized terror. The time span between the start of the first and second intifadas is similar to the length of time between the start of the second intifada and today. There are also signs pointing to similarities between the three periods, such as improvised terror attacks stemming from religious and national distress. It could be that a third intifada will erupt shortly.

According to these experts, what could ignite such a conflagration, literally, might be the torching of a large and important mosque, either in the West Bank or Israel proper, by right-wing "price tag" activists responding to either a terror attack or what they would consider undue government capitulation to the Palestinians.

Another catalyst for an explosion could be the massive housing construction that Netanyahu announced last week, which came as compensation to the settler community for his obeying of the High Court of Justice's order to evacuate several buildings in Beit El's Givat Ulpana neighborhood. Violent confrontations are likely to be caused either by a declared policy that favors the settlers, or by the weakened position of the Palestinian Authority's moderate leadership, which may not be able to - and may not even want to - stifle the unrest.

These Middle East experts are not relying on classified information. Everything is out in the open for all to see. One merely has to understand what is happening, and immediately work toward diplomatic progress and stop giving in to the settlers.

Netanyahu has been warned. Now he bears the responsibility.


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