Spoke several excellent sources in re Israel and Palestinians, and all agree that a third intifada is imminent, though one did call it a war, not an intifada. Hamas will not relent on its position that it is committed to a violent defeat of Israel. The intifada will be run by Al Aqsa from the West Bank, especially the Balata refugee camp, and by Islamic Jihad from the West Bank and Gaza. The third intifada will include suicide belts as well as the first-ever rocket attacks from the West Bank into Israel.
Israel’s response to the intifada is not predictable. Olmert is campaigning to the left to win as many peace-now seats as possible. Netanyahu will stay hard right and urge war and effective annexation of the territories.
Al Aqsa and Islamic Jihad gain with the new intifada by establishing credibility as the street fighters, while Hamas gains by assuming the role of diplomat to the Europeans: the Putin gesture to Hamas is the beginning of the reinvention of a terror gang into a freedom collective.
The profound loser is the United States, which is backing a false witness (Abbas) and an appeaser (Olmert) and a failed formula (the Road Map) and betraying allies (the Quartet). Grim weeks ahead, then it will get worse.