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Latest Israel News – 26th July

Video: Bloodied Palestinian terrorist subdued in central Israel

A Defense Ministry officer, who was sitting at a red light in Petah Tikvah when people began chasing a suspect and shouting “terrorist,” drove his vehicle into a garbage container, which then knocked the assailant to the ground.

The 21-year-old Palestinian terrorist from Qalqilya suffered a head injury in the collision and was arrested.

Other reports have a worker in a Pizza Store hitting him with a pizza tray as well (see below)   (WIN)

Palestinian terrorist from West Bank stabs Arab-Israeli in Petah Tikva

An Arab man from the West Bank was arrested in the Central Israel city of Petah Tikva Monday morning after illegally infiltrating the area and stabbing a 32-year-old Arab-Israeli male victim in what police are deeming a terrorist attack.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), said the unidentified suspect, a 21-year-old from the village of Qalqiliya, was imprisoned between 2015-2016 for unspecified terrorist activity. He is currently being interrogated.

According to The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv, a worker at a nearby pizza restaurant struck and subdued the attacker with a pizza tray amid the frenzy.

The victim, an Egged bus driver reportedly from the Israeli-Arab town of Arara, was stabbed in the neck in front of a downtown shawarma stand after apparently being mistaken for a Jew.

He was treated at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics and transferred to Beilinson Hospital in moderate-to-serious condition, police said.

It remains unclear why the victim was targeted in the attack, although it was reported that the assailant said “I did it for Al Aksa,” apparently referring to recent police measures to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount.

The suspect was tackled by bystanders after attempting to flee the scene by foot, police said.

“A man came in and ordered shawarma,” an employee at the shawarma shop told Ynet shortly after the attack.

“There was nothing out of the ordinary about his behavior. Afterwards an Egged driver came in who eats with us regularly. He placed his order and went over to the refrigerator to take a soft drink. As I was preparing his order another driver came in and I suddenly heard him shout ‘terror attack, terror attack!’”

Magen David Adom paramedic Tom Dagan said the victim was fully conscious and sitting upright on a chair when first-responders arrived and attempted to stop the bleeding.

“We provided him with lifesaving medical treatment, stopped his bleeding wounds, transported him onto an MDA mobile intensive care unit, and evacuated him to Beilinson Hospital in moderate-severe condition,” said Dagan.

No other injuries were reported.

The attack follows a weekend of deadly violence, exacerbated by Arab incitement after police installed metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount, where Al-Aksa Mosque has frequently been used to store weapons used in a string of deadly attacks.  (Jerusalem Post)

Ministers discuss smart cameras instead of metal detectors on Temple Mount

The Security Cabinet met for a second straight day Monday to try to defuse an escalating crisis with the Muslim world and find an alternative to metal detectors that had been installed a week earlier at a contested Jerusalem shrine amid widespread protests.

Ministers were being asked to consider the installation of sophisticated, high-resolution cameras and increased police deployments as a replacement for the metal detectors.

The metal detectors were installed to increase security at the Temple Mount earlier this month after Israeli Arab terrorists opened fire from the holy site, killing two Israeli policemen.

The move incensed the Muslim world, leading to protests and violent clashes between Muslim worshipers and Israeli security forces in which four Palestinians have been killed over the past weekend.

In recent days, the Israel Police have held a series of meetings with representatives of four leading security companies in Israel and abroad in an effort to find an alternative.

Among the offered solutions are smart security cameras that include thermal systems and can detect concealed weapons or explosives as well as advanced facial recognition systems.

The installation of the smart cameras and associated systems is expensive and estimated at hundreds of millions of shekels.

In addition to the cameras, the Israel Police proposes to significantly increase its forces in Jerusalem’s Old City and at the entrances to the Temple Mount.

In the interim between the removal of the metal detectors and the installation of the new cameras, the surveillance cameras installed at the entrance to the Temple Mount on Sunday will continue operating.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone on Monday, with the king stressing the need to “remove the measures taken by the Israeli side since the recent crisis broke out” and to agree on steps that would prevent another escalation in the future, according to Jordan’s state news agency Petra.

As part of intensifying diplomatic efforts, President Donald Trump’s Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday and then headed to Amman to meet with Jordanian officials.

United Nations Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned that a solution was needed by Friday to the Jerusalem mosque crisis, which he said threatens to have “potential catastrophic costs well beyond the walls of the Old City.”

“The dangers on the ground will escalate if we go through another cycle of Friday prayer without a resolution,” Mladenov told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council behind closed doors.

The 15-member Security Council met on the crisis at the request of Sweden, France and Egypt.

Sweden’s Deputy UN Ambassador Carl Skau posted on Twitter after the meeting that Security Council members “agree on need for de-escalation, condemnation of violence and urgent dialogue to calm tensions in Jerusalem.”

The Security Council is due to hold its quarterly Middle East briefing on Tuesday. Mladenov appealed to member states to “avoid further inflaming the situation” when they address the public meeting.

“We will enable everybody to come and pray on the Temple Mount, but at the same time we will do whatever is necessary to maintain security of this important site,” Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said ahead of the meeting.

Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters: “We are against violence … and we want the Security Council to have the political will to protect the Palestinian people against such violence from the Israeli occupying authority.”  (Ynet News)

Danon shows photos from Halamish terror attack at UN

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon presented photos from the scene of the terror attack in Halamish, which claimed the lives of three Israelis, at the UN Security Council on Monday.

“Instead of condemning terrorism and calming down the situation, the Palestinians are spreading lies and claiming this horrific murder is Israel’s fault,” Danon said.

“Don’t believe these lies. The terrorist who murdered the Salomon family will receive a monthly salary from the Palestinian Authority. He was taught that cold-blooded murder of Israelis is holy,” he continued.

During a press conference at the UN Security Council, the Israeli ambassador talked about the Salomon family that sat down for a Friday night dinner to celebrate the birth of a new grandson.

“Instead, their night of celebration ended in massacre,” Danon said. “They were sitting down for Shabbat meal when the heinous terrorist entered their home and stabbed them to death.”

Yosef, 70, was murdered along with his daughter Haya, 46, and son Elad, 35. Yosef’s wife, Tovah, 68, was wounded. Elad’s wife, Michal, and their five children were hiding in another room.

The terrorist was stopped when a neighbor, a paramedic in the IDF’s canine unit Oketz, shot him in the stomach, neutralizing him. Upon his release from the hospital, the terrorist was taken to questioning by the Shin Bet.

“This attack is part of a wave of terrorism against the free world. These terrorists are brainwashed and full of hatred,” the ambassador stated.

“The Security Council must demand (Palestinian President) Abbas and the Palestinian Authority to act immediately to stop the incitement to terrorism before more victims are claimed,” Danon said.

Danon also addressed the flare-up of violence following the installation of metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount.

“We will enable everybody to come and pray on the Temple Mount, but at the same time we will do whatever is necessary to maintain security,” he said.

The UN Security Council held a meeting Monday to discuss ways to de-escalate tensions.

Egypt, France and Sweden called for the talks following clashes over the weekend that left four Palestinians dead.

Asked whether Israel was prepared to remove the metal detectors, Danon said: “Our goal is to calm the situation” by allowing access to the holy site, but also to “maintain security at this important place.”  (Ynet News)

Israel to build $3.9 million memorial honoring Jabotinsky

The cabinet on Sunday approved plans to build a memorial to Revisionist Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky in Jerusalem.

Expected to cost some 14 million shekels ($3.9 million), the memorial will take the form of a museum aimed at teaching the public about Jabotinsky’s ideology and life. The memorial will be administered by the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry, headed by Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin.

President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took part Sunday at an event marking 77 years since Jabotinsky’s death and 68 years since the death of his wife, Johanna Jabotinsky.

Netanyahu praised the decision to memorialize Jabotinsky.

“This is an important decision that will preserve the memory of one of the founders of Zionism and his famous Iron Wall principle,” Netanyahu said, referring to one of Jabotinsky’s ideological tenets for deterrence against the Arabs.  (Israel Hayom)

1,600-year-old stone wine press found in Ramat Negev

Maintenence  work in the Ramat Negev regional council led to the accidental discovery of a spacious stone wine press from the early Byzantine period.

The discovery was made as part of a salvage operation led by Yoram Haimi, the archeologist in charge of the South-Negev region, together with Yeshiva students from ‘Belevav Shalem’ in Yerhuam.

Together, they unearthed a 40 x 40 meters wine press (131 x 131 feet) complete with a stone pressing floor, a separation pit and a fermentation pool that could contain six and half cubic meters (6,500 Liters) of wine.

Haimi, who is in charge of an ongoing dig in Poland aimed to unearth the history of the Sobibor extermination camp, took a moment to speak to the Post while supervising the ancient wine press is kept hidden until the local council will decide what to do with it.

‘Wine making at the time was done using human labor’, he said, ‘the workers would step on the grapes, then the pulp would be delivered to a basin where the clear liquid would surface and the dregs sink. This clear liquid is the Tirush’ unfermented wine most Israelis associate with childhood Seder meals in which they were given the sweet, non-alcoholic Tirush, to drink the traditional four cups of wine.

“The tirush would be moved to fermentation pots. Negev wines were held at a very high esteem at the time, like the boutique wines of today,’ said Haimi.

Wine production in the region went smoothly until a plague in the sixth century led to the decline of wine making in Southern Israel. The wine industry came to halt with the Arab conquest of the Levant and the end of the Byzantine period.

1600 year old wine press

Anat Rasyuk from the Negev chapter of the Israeli Antiquity Authority said in a phone interview to the Jerusalem Post that the employment of students is a part of a larger educational effort meant to educate young Israelis about archeology.

‘In some cases the students visit an active dig and help out’, she explains, ‘but in other cases this is a regular summer job. Students who happen to live next to an ongoing dig can apply to work there and be paid directly as they would in any other place. But when entire classes work they usually do so to support their schools.’

For example, she points out, ‘some classes work to help ensure that all of their classmates have the funds to attend the educational tours in Poland. Their wages go to the school to fund the traveling expenses of students who would not otherwise be able to attend the program.’

The site had been covered to ensure it is protected until its future is decided upon. ‘Ideally, it would be open to the pubic’, said Rasyuk.  (Jerusalem Post)

Contain tensions in Jerusalem

Editorial from the Australian

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/editorials/contain-tensions-in-jerusalem/news-story/3fce0f66d492bd62701d017a1db7fbda

The worst violence in Jerusalem for years, which has spread to Jordan, shows the need for urgent talks between Palestinian and Israeli leaders if a major new conflict is to be avoided. Unfortunately, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s response to the powder keg situation in the Holy City has been to freeze unilaterally all contact with Israel. This includes the longstanding security co-ordination vital for maintaining the authority’s control on the West Bank and preventing terrorist attacks.

Amid the row over metal detectors installed by the Israelis to provide extra protection for the city’s Temple Mount complex (which includes the al-Aqsa Mosque), the irresponsible freeze will fan the flames of violence. Palestinian passions about a site known as Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, are understandable. It is the place where Muslims believe the prophet Mohammed went on his journey to heaven. Al-Aqsa is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. But as Temple Mount is also Judaism’s holiest site, Mr Abbas is being disingenuous if he believes Israel should not have reacted to the terrorist attack at the site on July 14. That day, armed gunmen emerged from the al-Aqsa Mosque and shot dead two Israeli police officers guarding the compound. In response, Israel installed additional metal detectors, the same as those used at other holy sites, including Mecca and Medina. The outrage that followed, however, was whipped up by Mr Abbas. At least four Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces. In an attack in the West Bank, three Israelis were stabbed to death in their kitchen by a Palestinian declaring he was acting “in the name of al-Aqsa”. Demonstrations have spread to Jordan, with two Jordanians killed and an Israeli wounded at the Israeli embassy.

Mr Abbas initially condemned the killing of the Israeli policemen. But he has since told Palestinians to vent their “rage” until the detectors are removed. Israel is reportedly considering alternatives. But that does not diminish Mr Abbas’s culpability in a dangerous situation. The violent tension cries out for calm leadership on all sides.

Charged atmosphere in Jordan means Israeli concessions

By Ben Lynfield                   The Jerusalem Post

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Charged-atmosphere-in-Jordan-means-Israeli-concessions-500658

The shooting deaths of two Jordanians at the hands of an Israeli security guard who was stabbed with a screwdriver at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman was not being linked Monday by Jordan’s media or officialdom to the crisis around the installation of metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount.

But the incident occurred against the background of highly inflamed anti-Israel passions in Jordan because of the metal detectors and the perception that they are an infringement against al-Aksa, the third-holiest site in Islam.

For this reason, King Abdullah was unlikely to let the security guard go without receiving in return a tangible Israeli concession.

He would not release the guard gratis, “because of public opinion in Jordan, public opinion in other Arab countries and the furor created by the entire al-Aksa affair,” said Gabriel Ben-Dor, a Middle East specialist at Haifa University, hours before the guard and the other Israeli Embassy staff were returned to Israel. “He might be able to do it under normal circumstances when everything is peaceful and quiet, but given the violent and vehement atmosphere all over, I don’t think he’ll be able to do that.”

Last Friday, an estimated 8,000 people demonstrated in Amman in solidarity with the Palestinian fight against the metal detectors, installed after a deadly attack by three Israeli Arab gunmen. That is a large number for a Jordanian protest.

Demonstrations also took place in the southern town of Karak and in Zarqa, east of Amman.

Another indication of how charged the atmosphere in Jordan is comes from reading its most conservative, establishment, close-to-the-palace newspaper, Ad-Dustour. An opinion piece Monday by columnist Aida Najjar said: “Israel today practices new colonialism and occupation and makes efforts to Judaize Jerusalem based on false claims and fairy tales. It constitutes the gravest danger to al-Aksa Mosque. It has planned to take it over and destroy it and build the claimed temple on its ruins. Its plans and dreams continue – it is attempting to empty the city of its [Arab] inhabitants and it settles the settlers in their place.”

In Alrai newspaper, a recent caricature showed a massive Israeli army helmet that partly covered the Dome of the Rock.

Abdullah has aligned with the Palestinian Authority in complete rejection of the metal detectors not only because he knows his citizenry, a majority of which is Palestinian, but also because his very legitimacy is linked to being custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem, a standing accorded to Jordan under its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

He cannot be inactive when al-Aksa is seen as threatened.

Even before the metal detectors were installed, Jordanian discourse on al-Aksa was vehement. Despite Abdullah’s condemnation of the attack by the three gunmen from Umm el-Fahm, the Jordanian parliament applauded it.

Parliamentary speaker Atef Tarawneh was quoted by Ynet as saying: “May God have mercy on our martyrs who watered our pure soil. The damage by the Israeli occupation in the holiest sites of Jerusalem and in al-Aksa is grounds for continuing the resistance, not to surrender in the face of oppression or tyranny.”

Writing in Ad-Dustour Monday, another columnist, Ezzat Jeradat, highlighted the perceived Israeli threat to Arabs in Jerusalem and took issue with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein for condemning the Jordanian parliament’s stance.

“He forgot that the occupation authorities ignore the peace agreement which makes the Jerusalem religious holy sites a Jordanian responsibility and forgets the tens of legislative bills that go against the peace agreement in text and spirit,” he wrote.

Jordanian government sources quoted in Alrai said that Jordan will take “appropriate diplomatic measures” in the event that Israel refuses to hand over the security guard for investigation.

Jordanian Attorney-General Ashraf Abdullah has opened an investigation into the deaths and ordered autopsies of the corpses, Alrai reported.

The episode has echoes of the 1997 capture of two Mossad agents after they injected a fatal substance into Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Amman. Amid a severe crisis over what Jordanians experienced as a blatant breach of their sovereignty, King Hussein demanded that Israel turn over the antidote so that Mashaal’s life could be saved. Netanyahu, who was also prime minister then, agreed, and after the agents were released, implemented the major concession of freeing from a life sentence the imprisoned founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Abdullah, who relies on cooperation with Israel in security and other fields, has reason to avoid a protracted crisis. Yet it is likely that this time, too, Israel will have to pay a price.

Ben-Dor believes that one possibility is that Jordan would release the guard in exchange for an Israeli concession on the metal detectors.

“The government has been looking to give that up anyway,” he says. “It’s a tactical measure not worth the political price, so they are looking for an excuse to concede the point without seeming to give in to pressure. It seems possible a deal might be cooking along those lines.”

No thanks for foiling terrorists at the mosque

by Wesley Pruden                           The Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jul/24/muslim-terrorists-foiled-at-west-bank/

It’s time to beat up on the Jews again, particularly the Jews in Israel and the West Bank. Once more they’re not standing still enough to enable the Palestinians to maim and kill.

Killing by stealth is what the Palestinian freedom fighters do best. They’re pretty good at it, particularly when they get to prove their manly courage against women and children. They’re bravest of all against infants. A Palestinian terrorist almost never flinches when an infant shakes his rattle at him.

The terrorists are upset this time because the Israelis installed metal detectors at the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem after three Arab Israelis shot dead two Israeli police officers just outside the mosque, using guns they had smuggled into the compound.

The metal detectors have infuriated the Palestinians because they will make it difficult to ambush police and to spill blood, some of it no doubt of innocent Arabs, as part of their peace initiative. Slaying a few innocents is merely collateral damage in the name of Allah. Poor Allah, the crimes committed in his name and in his “defense.” It’s not entirely clear why Allah would need defending by mere mortals, but there is much in Islam that is difficult to understand.

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority and ever eager to pour something flammable on troubled waters, to be helpful to someone passing by with a match aflame, said his government would “freeze contact on all levels” with Israel until the metal detectors are removed. This is negotiation, Middle East style: resolution on terrorist terms first, negotiations later.

Blowing the trumpet usually used to call retreat, the Israeli Security Cabinet is discussing ways to “reduce tensions,” including a “review” of the continued use of metal detectors to take weapons out of the hands of terrorists. The Trump White House dispatched its special envoy for international negotiation, Jason Greenblatt, to Jerusalem Sunday night to try to “end the bloodshed.” He will need extraordinary luck.

Mr. Greenblatt will “be closely coordinating” with Jared Kushner, President Trump’s 60-minute man for defusing trouble everywhere. Mr. Kushner deserves a trip to a war zone as relief from defusing tensions within the family, and particularly his own tense relationship with Donald Trump Jr. over the fallout from the young Mr. Trump’s conversations about whatever it was he talked to a Russian lawyer about.

It’s always one darn thing after another in the Middle East, and particularly between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Nothing will ever be settled, of course, until one side dies, either in battle, in brawling, or of old age. The Arabs have tried conventional warfare, even starting one war with Pearl Harbor-like stealth and surprise. They took their usual licking, and even that didn’t work, though it is true that the Arab military colossus enjoyed only a 6 to 1 advantage. Ganging up on women and children is all that a defeated colossus can do.

Donald Trump sent Mr. Greenblatt aloft with a statement condemning the violence, not just condemning it but this time “utterly” condemning it, and that’s condemning it to the uttermost. This is the soft approach, which might work against Upper or Lower Slobbovia, but probably not against the likes of the Palestinians, the North Koreans or the gallant regiments of ISIS.

The attempt to calm troubled land and water gained new urgency with the murder of most of an Israeli family finishing their Shabbat supper Friday night in the West Bank settlement of Halamish. The killer looked typical.

Omar al-Abed, 19, who lived in a nearby village, broke through a window and surprised the family with an unregistered knife, stabbing and slashing with stealth and surprise, killing the father, about 60, and his son and daughter, in their 40s, before they could gather their wits to fight back. Several grandchildren listened to the slaughter, terrified, hiding in another room. Their grandmother was slashed, too, but survived. The killer was wounded by an Israeli soldier who heard their screams and arrived with a gun.

The killer told his captors that he bought the knife two days earlier to avenge the metal detectors at the Temple Mount. It’s obvious to everyone that precautions against violence are unnecessary in the Middle East. Why can’t the Jews give assistance to those who only want to kill them?

The Israeli Defense Force distributed a photograph of the killer taken from his Facebook account — where else but Facebook? — and supplied a translation of his vow to avenge the metal detectors. “Take your weapons and resist,” he wrote to others. “You start a war amongst us and Allah will judge you for it.” Hamas, the terrorist organization, praised the slaughter of the Israel family as “heroic.” Of course. But if Allah is just, he might favor the Jews.

Palestinians: Abbas’s Security Doubletalk

by Bassam Tawil             The Gatestone Institute

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10732/palestinians-abbas-security

So, who is taking Abbas’s threats to suspend security cooperation with Israel seriously? Not Israel, not the Americans, and certainly not many Palestinians. Abbas is caught between two bad places — both of his very own making. On the one hand, he knows that security cooperation with Israel is his only insurance policy to remain in power and alive. On the other hand, Abbas is acutely aware of his status among many Palestinians, who would be more than happy to replace him with someone more… to their taste.

Palestinian intelligence chief Majed Faraj’s message was directed to the Israeli public with the goal of pressuring the Israeli government and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to cave in to Palestinian threats and remove the metal detectors. This is why Faraj chose an Israeli journalist who is known to be sympathetic to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership. Faraj and his boss — Abbas — wanted to scare the Israeli public and turn them against Netanyahu by telling them that Palestinians will stop security coordination with Israel unless the metal detectors were removed.

Abbas is still playing his old game. Out of one side of his mouth he claimed a desire for a peaceful solution to the metal detectors crisis, and out of the other side, he egged his people on to murder more and more Israelis. As it turns out, whether security coordination is “sacred” or “suspended,” Abbas is in it for one person only: himself.

The conflicting reports emerging from Ramallah concerning security coordination with Israel serve as yet another reminder of the Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders’ astounding hypocrisy.

Israel, for its part, has brushed aside reports about a suspension of the security coordination with the Palestinian Authority as yet another Abbas gimmick.

It is far from lost on Mahmoud Abbas and his PA that such security coordination is what stands between a very hungry Hamas and Abbas served up on toast for breakfast.

In the past, Abbas has rightly and reasonably described security coordination with Israel as “sacred,” saying he will never succumb to pressure from Hamas and many Palestinians to stop working with Israel in the West Bank.

“I wish to say this openly – security coordination (with Israel) is sacred and will continue regardless of our political differences,” Abbas declared in 2014.

Abbas’s statement came amid reports that Israeli intelligence had thwarted a Hamas assassination plot against him in 2014.

Security coordination is indeed sacred for the Palestinian Authority president — not to mention his family members and senior officials, who without such cooperation would also be dead, imprisoned or forced into exile. Abbas has yet to recover from the nightmare of 2007, when Hamas brought about the collapse of his Palestinian Authority and violently seized control over the Gaza Strip. The last thing Abbas wants is a recurrence of that horrific scenario; thousands of his police officers and Fatah loyalists were severely humiliated, and many either lynched in public, thrown off the high floors of buildings, imprisoned, or forced either to surrender or flee to Israel and Egypt.

The latest fiasco pertaining to the issue of security coordination with Israel began on July 21, when Abbas announced his decision to “freeze contacts with the occupation state (Israel) on all levels.” Abbas’s announcement came during a meeting of Palestinian leaders in Ramallah to discuss the crisis surrounding Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This decision came in response to a shooting attack on July 14 carried out by three Arab Israelis that resulted in the murder of two Israeli police officers.

Abbas’s announcement did not refer specifically to security coordination with Israel. Palestinian officials in Ramallah later explained that the decision to “freeze contacts with Israel on all levels” did not include security coordination between the two sides, which they said was continuing as usual and was necessary and vital.

Then came the backlash, with Palestinians roasting Abbas for maintaining security coordination with Israel. Palestinians perturbed by metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount have also been chanting slogans against Abbas, accusing him of “collusion” with Israel and failing to support their campaign to have the metal detectors removed.

Social media has also not been silent. Many Palestinians and Arabs have been denouncing Abbas as a pawn in the hands of Israel and the US and demanding that he halt security coordination and all forms of cooperation with Israel.

In an attempt to contain the raging resentment on the Palestinian street, Abbas’s aides later clarified that he has instructed his security commanders to stop talking to their Israeli counterparts in protest against the installation of the metal detectors. The aides hinted that despite the instruction, security coordination on the ground level will continue between the two sides because the decision only referred to contacts on a high level.

Many Palestinians, however, are calling Abbas’s bluff.

As pressure on Abbas intensified, he sent his intelligence chief, Majed Faraj, to inform an Israeli journalist closely associated with the Palestinian Authority that Abbas has instructed him and other security chiefs to stop talking to their Israeli counterparts.

Faraj’s message was directed to the Israeli public with the goal of pressuring the Israeli government and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to cave in to Palestinian threats and remove the metal detectors. This is why Faraj chose an Israeli journalist who is known to be sympathetic to Abbas and the PA leadership. Faraj and his boss — Abbas — wanted to scare the Israeli public and turn them against Netanyahu by telling them that Palestinians will stop security coordination with Israel unless the metal detectors are removed — which the Israeli government agreed to do on the night of July 24.

One wonders when the Palestinian Authority will upgrade its scare tactics: they have used this one for decades to frighten the Israeli public.

The best evidence that Abbas is continuing to bluff everyone regarding security coordination with Israel is what happened in March 2015, when the PLO Central Committee, a key decision-making body headed by Abbas, voted in favor of suspending security coordination with Israel. Not only was this decision never implemented, in fact security coordination between the Palestinians and Israel has since grown stronger as the two sides face a common enemy in the West Bank called Hamas.

Abbas is still playing his old game: terrified of the raging Palestinian street, he released a terse statement on July 23 claiming that the decision to suspend contacts with Israel does indeed include security coordination. This latest statement, however, flies in the face of assertions by Israel and some Palestinian officials that suggest the exact opposite. Israeli security officials have scoffed at Abbas’s decision, calling it symbolic and saying that security coordination is continuing by telephone.

So who is taking Abbas’s threats to suspend security cooperation with Israel seriously? Not Israel, not the Americans, and certainly not many Palestinians. Abbas is caught between two bad places — both of his very own making. On the one hand, he knows that security cooperation with Israel is his only insurance policy to remain in power and alive. On the other hand, Abbas is acutely aware of his status among many Palestinians, who would be more than happy to replace him with someone more… to their taste.

Abbas lives in a demonic Wonderland. Out of one side of his mouth he claimed a desire for a peaceful solution to the metal detectors crisis, and out of the other side, he egged his people on to murder more and more Israelis. As it turns out, whether security coordination is “sacred” or “suspended,” Abbas is in it for one person only: himself.