How many deaths will Israel tolerate, and who will decide?

This piece by Saul Singer appeared on Monday, two days before the latest (as of this morning) bombing in Jerusalem. I tbink Singer has it exactly right except, perhaps, for the number dead Israelis — “The Palestinians may rest assured that they can continue to kill Israelis in ones and twos (perhaps more) without being blamed for ending the [cease fire]. Even better, from their perspective, there is a fair chance that further attacks will force Israel to respond in a way that creates a rift with the U.S. and shifts the blame for breaking the [cease fire] onto Israeli shoulders. How did Israel get into this predicament? The same way that the Oslo process died a death of a thousand violations, each deemed too small to blow the whistle and hold the Palestinians accountable for their commitments. Once commitments are replaced by arbitrary judgments by the U.S. and the Palestinians of what Israel will tolerate, the pressure on the Palestinians is not to comply, but to continue to push the envelope: In other words, to escalate. The products of this indulgence are devastating not only to Israel, but to the Palestinians and the Arab world as a whole. Indulgence of the PA during this particular ceasefire is an extension of the tolerance for the violent Arab rejection of Israel that has existed since before its inception.”


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