A "relatively calm" decade enjoyed by Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank has come to an end, according to an Israeli security expert.
A "strategic warning the Military Intelligence Directorate has been pointing to for over a year now is being realized before our eyes", wrote Alex Fishman, veteran military analyst for Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth. "The relatively calm decade in the [occupied Palestinian] territories is behind us".
Fishman added that "the major violent conflict between the Palestinian street and the Palestinian leadership and between the Palestinian street and Israel is just looking for an opportunity".
According to Fishman, "three anchors" have contributed to "a relatively low level of violence in the Palestinian arena in the past decade": Israeli authorities' "prevention abilities", so-called "security coordination" with the Palestinian Authority, "and enabling a reasonable fabric of life for the Palestinian citizen in the West Bank".
Now, he continued, "these anchors, which are interdependent, have worn out".
Fishman, reflecting the anxieties of the Israeli military and security agencies, claimed that "the state of mind on the Palestinian street indicates that the old order has been undermined, both in Gaza and in the West Bank".
Of particular note, the analyst suggested, was the 'Great Return March' being planned by Palestinian factions inside in the Gaza Strip, which would include "mass processions" to the perimeter fence, and potentially "similar plans" in the West Bank and even Jordanian and Lebanese borders.
Fishman says that the Israeli army "is preparing to deal with tent cities along the Gaza border and with thousands of people marching towards dozens of points along the border, in an attempt to cross it", while "in the West Bank, they'll try to enter settlements".
"If these plans are carried out", he added, "there will be casualties" – and "this might be the event that will set the ground on fire".