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"Things could be getting out of control" in aftermath of Israel-Palestine killings

TheJournal.ie spoke to a leading Israeli commentator, who fears for stability in the region after the latest round of bloodshed

Source: Twitter

IN AN INTERVIEW with TheJournal.ie, a leading Israeli commentator has warned that the situation in the region could be getting out of control following the killing of four youths in recent days.

Of particular significance, Haaretz newspaper columnist Gideon Levy says, is the fact that neither attack seems to have been perpetrated by conventional forces, but rather by splinter elements.

“If it’s being done by private initiatives – if this is the case then things could be getting out of control.”

He does not believe that Hamas were directly behind the abduction and murder of three Israeli young men – Naftali Fraenkel (16), Gil-Ad Shaer (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19) – which sparked off the latest escalation in violence.

He also blames the reprisal killing of Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khiedir (16) on “either settlers or extreme right wingers”.

Levy’s liberal and anti-settlement views have often made him a target of conservative voices in Israel.

The atmosphere in Israel, he says, is extremely tense.

Source: Maayan Nir Hasson/YouTube

The uploader of this video claims the crowd are chanting ‘Death to Arabs’

“The general mood is of willingness to take revenge. This is quite frightening to see, especially in social media.”

Social media fallout

The bellicose attitude of many young Israelis, manifested online, is worrying to Levy.

“Tens of thousands of Israelis were signing all sorts of horrible petitions to kill and expel Palestinians.”

IsraelFBimage1 A screenshot taken from a Facebook page advocating action Source: Facebook

Based in Tel Aviv, Levy told TheJournal.ie that friends and contacts in Jerusalem, which has been the epicentre of unrest this week following the abductions, said that “it looks very, very bad, there was a lot of anger”.

Israelis retort that many Palestinians spread images displaying three fingers to symbolise the three missing young men during the search that preceded the discovery of their bodies earlier this week.

On social media, they were named ‘The Three Shalits’, in reference to Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas for over five years.

Despite the high tension in the region, Levy says that logically neither side should rush towards conflict.

“Netanyahu doesn’t want an escalation and the Palestinians are not ready for another intifada – they are isolated, very lonely, no Arab state behind them and the world has very little interest – and they don’t have the energy for another intifada.”

However, the launching of rockets and the massing of troops on the border does not inspire confidence, he says.

All it might take, he says, “is one incident, which might get out of control”.

Read: Israel moves forces to border as rockets fired from Gaza>

Read: Riots, tension and fears of retaliation as killing of Palestinian teenager sparks rioting>

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About the author:

Jack Horgan-Jones

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