Israel's military, Shin Bet security service and police went on elevated preparedness for trouble Wednesday night, Sept. 21, after receiving information that the Palestinian Hamas and other radical groups were preparing to stage violent confrontations with Israel on the West Bank, exploiting the anti-US mood sweeping Palestinian areas after President Barack Obama's UN speech
Western Middle East experts rate his address as the most supportive of Israel ever delivered at the world body by any US president. It has stirred powerful emotions of resentment and disappointment among the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Crowds gathered in Ramallah and the streets of West Bank towns Wednesday - originally to celebrate the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' application for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood - instead shouted anti-US slogans and burned American flags.
Hamas and its radical allies determined to seize the moment for taking charge of the rallies set up by the Palestinian Authority and the rival Fatah for the rest of the week in the expectation of a UN victory.
The intelligence received in Israel reveals directions to all the extremist organizations close to Hamas, like for instance the Association of young Muslims on the West Bank, to go into action Thursday and build up to a climax Friday, Sept. 23. They were told to break into Jewish settlements to vandalize and torch homes, taking their model from the mass storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Sept. 10.
Friday, Palestinians were told to mob the checkpoints guarding Jerusalem, make for Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount. Riots and start a rampage there which would be sure to attract world attention to the Palestinian protest against President Obama and US support for Israel.
The Palestinian extremist groups will be venting their rage not just on the US but also Britain, France, Germany and the West at large.
At UN headquarters in New York, meanwhile, DEBKAfile's exclusive sources disclose that the Palestinian delegation and its leader Mahmoud Abbas, under extreme pressure to back away from their application for UN recognition, have informed Lebanese President Michel Suleiman who presides over the UN Security Council session Friday that their application will be filed on that day as planned. However, they will not insist on having it debated at once or put to vote.
Our sources report that this is the first crack in the Palestinian determination to go through with their UN initiative against all odds.
A western source in New York told DEBKAfile that the Palestinians have begun to finally wake up to the virtual impossibility of their motion being carried by the Security Council.
Straight after the Obama speech, US diplomacy threw all its resources into persuading every Security Council member to oppose or at least abstain from endorsing the Palestinian motion. As of now, Nigeria, Gabon, India and Bosnia have agreed to consider withholding their support.
The key points President Obama highlighted in his address to the opening of the UN General Assembly Wednesday, Sept. 21 were:
- There are no short cuts to peace. It can only be achieved through negotiations - not statements and resolutions at the United Nations.
- Ultimately it is up to Israel and the Palestinians to agree on borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem.
- I also believe a genuine peace can be attained only between the Palestinians and Israelis themselves.
- The Palestinians deserve a territorial base for their state. (Ed: The 1967 borders were not mentioned.)
- But they must acknowledge the very real security concerns Israel faces every day.
- Israel is surrounded by neighbors who have repeatedly waged war against it. Its people are killed by missiles on its borders and suicide bombers. Other children are taught to hate them and far bigger nations want to wipe them off the map.
- They deserve a historical state in their historical land just as the Palestinians deserve a stated for which they have waited too long.
- Peace depends on compromise. Each side has legitimate aspirations and both must learn to stand in the other's shoes.
- The US president stressed that the US is unshakably committed to Israel's security.
Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Obama stressed peace cannot be imposed on the parties and a UN resolution will not bring the Palestinians a state.