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Tension Rising in Israel and Palestine

October 26, 2015
Plain English Version
Israeli security forces at a Palestinian demonstration.

Israeli security forces at a Palestinian demonstration.

Events in Israel are getting out of hand. The number of attacks on Israelis is on the rise. Pressure on the Palestine security forces is growing.

The Palestinians govern the West Bank. For years, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not been able to reach a final peace agreement. The goal has always been a two-state solution. Each side blames the other for the stalemate.

Every so often violence breaks out. Buses in Israel have been bombed. Suicide bombers have blown themselves up in Israeli cafes. The episodes are called “intifadas.” The intifadas have led to the building of walls. Recent attacks on Israelis have been random stabbings. New security measures are being put into place.

The peace has always been uneasy. Politics plays a big role on both sides. However, attention is now being focused on how the sides can work together to restore quiet. In Israel, there is great pressure on the government to stop the violence.

Young Arabs are demonstrating on the West Bank. Some of the demonstrations are turning violent. It is up to the Arab police to manage the events. It is a hard line for the police to walk. Some Arabs accuse the police of arresting Arabs to please Israel.

Palestinian security forces restrain a demonstrator.

Palestinian security forces restrain a demonstrator.

For years, the security forces on both sides worked together. But it was always with some tension. Israel controlled the arms that could be held by Palestinian police.

The recent violence is straining both sides. Mahmoud Abbas is President of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas and other extremist groups threaten his rule. He has to show leadership while calming the situation.

Benjamin Netanyahu is Prime Minister of Israel. He has been strident in defending his country.

In this small part of the world, the stakes are very high. The violence may escalate. It will be very bad for the Arabs. Their economy already is very shaky. Israel has the military strength to impose its will. However, Israel would face opposition from most parts of the world if it used its military strength.

At some point, an agreement to restore peace will be reached. The cost in blood and treasure might be very high. Israel and the West Bank may have accomplished nothing.

Source: The New York Times October 25, 2015

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