The West Bank is considered the second arena that is supposed to witness a comprehensive popular uprising that will join the “Al-Aqsa Flood”, especially since most of the reasons for carrying out the “Al-Aqsa Flood” battle are related to the general situation in the West Bank. At the level of prisoners, out of about 6,000 prisoners held by the Israeli occupation, there are Only one hundred and fifty prisoners are from the Gaza Strip, while the rest are from the West Bank. The Al-Aqsa Mosque and the city of Jerusalem are geographically located within the West Bank, and these two issues are the main drivers of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” battle.
The occupation widely fears the West Bank’s involvement in the current confrontation. Because if it revolts, it will be the most painful for the occupation in terms of the overlap between Palestinian towns and settlements, in addition to the relative possibility of entering the territories occupied in 1948. Therefore, immediately after the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation, the occupation quickly closed the West Bank, isolated cities from each other with military barriers, and unleashed settler militias to create terror in the contact areas.
According to statistics (2022), (719) thousand settlers live in the West Bank, distributed among (483) settlement and military sites. The settlers and the occupation army control a geographical area exceeding two-thirds of the area of the West Bank, an area called Area C according to the Oslo Accords. The geographical area of the settlements amounts to 1% of the area of the West Bank, but the settlement area that it controls is two-thirds of the area of the West Bank.
By the end of the first month of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” battle, the West Bank had provided about 100 martyrs and hundreds of wounded, as shooting operations towards settlements and military checkpoints occurred every day, in addition to popular confrontations, especially in the seam areas and Jerusalem, and demonstrations in city centers, while escalating. The state of boiling day after day according to the development of events, but it does not objectively rise to the level of the battle of the “Al-Aqsa Flood.”
There is no doubt that the public mood in the West Bank is supportive of the resistance and is in a state of great turmoil, in addition to the presence of burning hotspots in the West Bank in the last two years, especially in Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, and Jericho, which resulted in about 200 martyrs before the recent events. But the established fact is that all of this did not rise to the level of responding to a major event like the “Al-Aqsa Flood.” If solidarity marches are obligatory for other peoples and societies, then the term solidarity is reprehensible in the case of the West Bank in particular.
There is a clear absence of statements and media positions by the leaders of the first ranks in the Executive Committee of the PLO or in the Authority and the government, with a direct order from the leadership of the Authority not to interfere in the events.
These days, the West Bank is living on the dividing line between consolidation and separation in its relationship with the “Aqsa Flood” battle, as societal and political currents and movements attract: some towards confrontation, and others towards preserving the status quo. On the other hand, the occupation army has decided its way in dealing with the West Bank by fist. Al-Hadidiya, where he closed all crossings with the West Bank, and prevented about 200,000 Palestinian workers from working in the territories of 1948; Which means putting the West Bank into a stifling economic crisis, while it has carried out massive arming operations for settler militias, while the occupation soldiers deal with the checkpoints – which were set up at the entrances to the cities – with extreme cruelty.
As for the Palestinian Authority – in contrast to the way it dealt before the Battle of Al-Aqsa – it has relaxed its grip in dealing with the supportive demonstrations, as Hamas flags have been raised freely since the recent events in the marches, knowing that this was previously prohibited. But it still maintains the same previous position, in terms of its role in this confrontation. Based on decisions from high levels in the Palestinian Authority not to interfere in the events.
The Palestinian Authority’s decision is still to maintain the status quo, as there are strict instructions to members and cadres of the Authority not to interfere in the events. This raises major questions about the nature of maintaining the status quo in the West Bank, security and politically, in light of such transformations, while the Authority exaggerates the deployment of its forces in the main cities. These days, in order to highlight manifestations of strength to society; An indication that it is still strongly present on the scene, at a time when the authority does not have any plan to manage crises that are not related to dealing with the situation in Gaza, but even with dealing with the deteriorating security situation in the West Bank, especially since one of the scenarios for the current and next stage is attacks. Armed by unruly settler groups, which have begun to practice organized terrorism on the main roads in the seam towns in the West Bank.
The matter does not stop there. Rather, it is noted that there is a clear absence of statements and media positions by the leaders of the first row in the Executive Committee of the PLO or in the Authority and the government, with a direct order from the leadership of the Authority not to interfere in the events, as no leader in the first row recorded any statements related to the events in Gaza. With the completion of its first month, while it was shocking that the only voice – which came out through the member of the Fatah Central Committee, Abbas Zaki, in support of the resistance – was disavowed, and it was considered that it did not represent the leadership with an official statement.
The negative silence practiced by the authority in the West Bank led to a state of great public anger towards it, to the point that the popular demonstrations turned in their speeches to attacking the authority in an unprecedented way before this war, while many within the various arms of the authority feel a state of anger at this strategy that will not It brings security to the authority after the end of the war, especially with estimates that this silence will not be a factor in the West Bank’s survival after the war, as estimates indicate that the most difficult stage for the West Bank will be after the war, not during it.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not condemn the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation, despite the great pressure exerted on him, and remained silent, but he quickly retracted this with a position that appears to have been taken under international pressure in a consensual manner by condemning the killing of civilians on both sides.
The resistance in the Gaza Strip is counting on the West Bank as one of the parties that is supposed to have a prominent role in this battle. Returning to memory, the weight of the resistance in the Al-Aqsa Intifada was in the West Bank, which was the source of the bloody attacks of the occupation in what is known as martyrdom operations, which left hundreds of Israelis dead in The period from 2001-2003, but it cannot be denied the impact of the re-engineering of Palestinian society in the West Bank in the period from 2008 until now on a different style of consumer life, while the administrative apparatus of the Authority: civil and security was flooded with more than 150 thousand employees, and the role of the National Movement in The level of immersion in active resistance, although this has begun to change in the last year.
Settlement constitutes the most prominent factor of tension in the West Bank, and the Palestinian Authority and its agencies are blamed for their inability to stand up to the settler militias and provide protection for citizens. Preserving it is considered one of the guarantees of the survival of the Authority and that its foundations are not undermined by Israel at this dangerous stage, but this comes at a high price. The ability of resistance cells in the West Bank to accumulate building and transform into specific action against the occupation.
Today, the West Bank stands at a crossroads. The popular level is extremely tense and ready to enter into a broad confrontation with the occupation, especially at the level of the younger generation, which is trying with its simple means to break into the field. While the resistance in the West Bank so far can be described as cathartic resistance, which is the resistance that clashes with… The occupation, but it does not inflict significant losses that attract violent reactions, while this type of resistance raises many question marks.
Cathartic resistance in the West Bank is turning into an approach through which several parties try to exhaust the energies of the rebellious youth who desire confrontation, and vent the great state of anger among citizens and their desire for resistance by encouraging types of clashes that target fortified military points, or clashes that are known in advance and implicitly to be costly. Palestinian and does not inflict losses on the other side, an issue that has become a source of great criticism in the West Bank, at a time when the shift towards resistance – which inflicts large losses among the occupation soldiers and settlers – does not require great difficulty as a result of the geographical overlap.
This does not mean that all forms of resistance in the West Bank are of the cathartic type of resistance, as the West Bank witnessed bold operations in the last year before the “Al-Aqsa Flood” battle, which caused deaths and great losses among masses of settlers, through well-planned ambushes at the entrances to settlements or roads. Bypass, but those few groups that work in this way are limited, and are only a small part of the general confrontation pattern that is intended to be only a means of relief. Meaning that it is still forbidden to change the status quo in the West Bank.
The West Bank is at the heart of regional and international efforts to prevent the expansion of the conflict regionally. Just as work is being done to prevent the outbreak of a comprehensive confrontation in northern occupied Palestine from the Lebanese front, no less effort is being exerted to prevent the West Bank from plunging into the resistance, specifically its basic strength, which is martyrdom operations and ambushes. .
All the forces in the West Bank realize that the price they will pay for their silence will be very costly in terms of its repercussions on the West Bank, which is considered the root of the conflict on the ground in the battle with the occupation, but the absolute truth at this time is that the real conflict of paths will actually take place after the end of the war on Gaza. Not now, as the battle of truth that everyone is evading will be with the settlers, and then the West Bank will pay double the price for its current weakness, even according to the least pessimistic scenarios.