Pundits Debate Cause of Recent Terror Wave Across Israel

Two senior foreign policy experts and columnists debated on Sunday the real cause of the recent flare-up in violence against Israeli citizens in E. Jerusalem and across Israel.

During a panel hosted by Fareed Zakaria on his Sunday morning CNN TV show, Fareed Zakaria GPS, political commentator Peter Beinart argued that the situation represented a growing force among right-wing Israelis who “really essentially want Israeli to have a permanent control over most of the West Bank” and among Palestinians “the growing forces are people who either want one secular bi-national state or one Islamic state.”

Bret Stephens, a columnist at the Wall Street Journal disagreed with that sentiment. “The problem here is the failure of leadership by Mahmoud Abbas in that he has, on the one hand, tried and is trying as far as I know to tamp down violence. On the other hand, he stokes it and he contributes to it politically, for instance, by going to the U.N. and declaring that the Oslo Accords are null and void,” said Stephens. “And so what you need is to generate a Palestinian leadership that wants a two-state solution, but is actually committed to that in some serious way.”

Addressing the Knesset on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed that narrative that the root of the current wave of terrorism is that the Palestinians don’t want Israel to exist. “We have experienced attacks both before and after the establishment of the state; before the Six Day War and after it; when the peace process was in progress and when it stopped,” the prime minister said. “Terror is not a consequence of frustration at the lack of progress in the diplomatic process. It is clear that it comes from the desire to destroy us. That is the cause today as well.”

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in a phone call Sunday that “he is determined to keep the situation under control,” according to an EU statement.

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