The security situation in the occupied West Bank is "nearing boiling point" due to the "weakness of the Palestinian Authority," Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) said in a report issued on Monday. This weakness, it added, arises from the "united opposition" of the factions, as well as the "street gangs."
According to the report, "The situation is still under control, thanks to determined activity by the [Israel Defence Forces] and the Security Agency, and through security cooperation with the mechanisms of the PA." However, the latter "has been weakened and could cease to function, while the growing frustration of the younger generation of Palestinians drives them to think in terms of a one-state reality."
The institute claims that the growing international criticism of Israel "works to thwart the chances of implementing the 'two states for two peoples' solution, and intensifies the danger of legal moves against Israel and its definition as an apartheid state." Moreover, "The Palestinian arena is not a secondary arena that can be contained by empty delusions about 'limiting the conflict'."
The absence of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it added, poses a "serious threat to Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state, and to its status on the international stage."
In Gaza, Israel is currently facing "the same complex and long-lasting dilemma." One of the reasons for this is "the need for an urgent response to the humanitarian situation, while avoiding security escalation." This dilemma, said the INSS, is compounded by "pressing for the return of prisoners and missing persons held by Hamas; and preventing Hamas from achieving further military and political control."
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, won the "free and fair" election held in 2006, the result of which was not accepted by Israel and its allies. Instead, they backed the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, who "postponed" the long-overdue presidential and legislative elections that were supposed to be held last May, the first since the Hamas victory. His own mandate as president expired in 2009.