I accidentally drove right into the clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian youths in Jenin this morning on my way from Nazareth into the Jordan Valley.
The ambulance that tooted its horn when I parked in front of it was the first warning (unheeded) that all was not normal. Moving a little further up the street, I parked and went into a shop for a bottle of water. A minute later I came out to the deafening explosion of sound bombs and the occasional round of fire. 100 metres up the road an Israeli army Jeep was parked with soldiers shooting, apparently as they made an arrest.
All of this brought back memories of Jenin circa 2002. These confrontations now taking place in the West Bank are provocations engineered as one front in Israel’s campaign of revenge for the PA’s success at the United Nations. Israel wants to show the Palestinians that they will pay a price for their impudence.
But the scene was also a reminder of how closely the PA has been cooperating till now with the Israeli army. These kinds of clashes had largely disappeared from the West Bank because the PA had been doing the Israeli army’s dirty work for it, arresting people Israel wanted. Now the Israeli army is refusing to consult with the Palestinian police and going in, guns blazing, itself.