Israeli ex-security chief sees risk of Palestinian uprising

Tue Jan 8, 2013 1:19pm EST
 

By Crispian Balmer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel faces the prospect of a new Palestinian uprising because of despair over the gridlock in peacemaking, a former head of the Israeli internal intelligence agency who is standing in the January 22 election said on Tuesday.

Yaakov Peri, running for the centrist Yesh Atid party, told Reuters in an interview that the next government must make peace negotiations with the Palestinians its foreign policy priority.

"Israel must do everything to come back to the negotiating table and find a compromise," he said, criticizing other leaders from across the political spectrum for playing down the issue.

The Israeli military has reported growing violence across the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, prompting warnings of a possible Intifada (uprising) after years of relative calm.

"Are we on the edge of a third Intifada? It is a real possibility because of the amount of despair coupled with the (political) stalemate," said Peri, who headed the Shin Bet security service from 1988 to 1994 - a time that coincided with the first Intifada.

Shin Bet is responsible for overseeing intelligence gathering in the Palestinian Territories and Peri warned that fundamentalist Islamist groups hostile to Israel would seize the initiative if there was no peace initiative.

He added that another Palestinian revolt need not be violent, but could evolve into a mass protest movement.

Peri's Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party is led by former television news anchor Yair Lapid. It is projected to win up to 10 seats in the 120-seat parliament and has not ruled out joining a coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.   Continued...

 
Hands of a man are chained during a protest organized by youths of the Palestinian Democratic Union, to mark the 64th anniversary of Nakba, in front of the U.N. headquarters offices in Beirut May 15, 2012. REUTERS/Sharif Karim