It seems that there will be no third intifada. The number of terrorist attacks have waned, there were 40 attempted attacks in February, 10 in March and so far 5 in April. I am afraid to write this for fear that there will be a resurgence, but the tide seems to have turned. The total casualty count since last September is 42 Israelis and ca. 195 Palestinians killed, including those killed in riots.
There seem to be two reasons for this reduction, first the IDF has been extremely successful in countering attacks. Whenever a Palestinian youth raises a knife against an IDF soldier or a civilian the chances of their being shot dead is about 90%. Also, the destruction of the homes of Palestinians who have killed Israelis has become a serious deterrent.
There are two kinds of attacks, those that are organized by a terrorist group (Hamas, PFLP, Fatah, etc.) and those that are called “lone-wolf” attacks. This is usually when a disgruntled individual decides on their own to go down to the nearest check point and stab an IDF soldier with a kitchen knife. Some of them use guns or suicide belts and are incited by Hamas or other propaganda, but basically they are not organized from above. The majority of the attacks in the so-called “knife intifada” were of the “lone-wolf” kind. When someone who has had an argument with their parents or is suspected of illicit sexual activity, decides to take a knife and go and attack a fully armed soldier, this is not only stupid, but it is suicidal, and after a while perhaps the message has sunk in that it is pointless. It changes nothing except getting yourself killed. The IDF knows where most (ca. 50%) of these attacks will occur, at specific junctions in the West Bank and at certain Malls, and so are able to protect against them very effectively.
The IDF is even more successful in preventing organized terrorist strikes, which often are intended to result in mass casualties. For example, the last Hamas attack was a shooting incident in which 2 Israelis were killed last October. And it has been reported that at least ten such attacks have been thwarted by preventive IDF action guided by extremely good intelligence on the ground, including the routine round-up of suspects and the gathering of information from them. So it is in a way much easier to prevent organized terrorist attacks than “lone-wolf” ones. But, neither have a chance of in any way changing the situation of the Palestinians. If only they would concentrate on trying to improve themselves rather than trying to kill Israelis.
The state of the PA is dire. Unemployment is rife (ca. 60%), there is general lack of welfare They have insufficient funds to help the population, because most of the extensive foreign (EU, US, UN) donations is skimmed off by the higher echelons and general corruption. This is one reason why Mahmud Abbas is unable to call elections and also why he and Fatah are so unpopular. Recently he has strengthened his hold on power, even though he is 82 years old, mainly because he is challenged by Hamas. Hamas is popular in the West Bank, although not in Gaza which they control, because the people are fed up with the corruption of Fatah. It is a mess and there is certainly no political will to negotiate with Israel. To talk about a “peace process” currently is to show willful ignorance of the true situation.