BY GRISHA YAKUBOVICH
For the past year, Israel and the Palestinians have been in escalation mode, a phase that began under the previous Israeli government.
The sparks that lit the current escalation are unrelated to whether a right-wing or center-left government is in power, but Hamas is prepared to use the new right-wing Israeli government as justification for further conflict and violence if it finds it necessary to do so.
The escalation originates in a calculated strategy by Hamas, which envisioned, with considerable foresight, a Palestinian civil war — a scenario that appears to be around the corner — and a new opportunity to both weaken its rival, Fatah, in the West Bank, and ignite a regional explosion against Israel.
While some observers have attributed the deterioration in the security situation to the power vacuum in the northern West Bank, where the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority (PA) is indeed losing control, the more significant catalyst driving it is the clash between the narratives promoted by Hamas and the PA, led by Mahmoud Abbas.