Israeli army warns Netanyahu of 'third Intifada' in West Bank

Israeli army warns Netanyahu of 'third Intifada' in West Bank
The warnings by the Israeli military come amid a deteriorating economic situation as Israel bars Palestinian workers from entering Israel.
2 min read
09 January, 2024
The occupied West Bank is the scene of frequent and often deadly raids by Israeli forces [Photo by WAHAJ BANI MOUFLEH/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images]

The Israeli military has warned Israel's government that the occupied West Bank is on the verge of a "third Intifada" as the economic and political situation in the territory continues to deteriorate.

Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi alongside other senior military commanders warned Israel's war cabinet repeatedly in recent days that there was the prospect of major unrest, Israel's Channel 12 reported.

The war cabinet consists of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, and Benny Gantz.

The channel quoted commanders as saying that Israel "may end up with a third Intifada because of the discontent resulting from the economic difficulty and lack of entry of workers into Israel".

The military's assessment of the occupied West Bank was shared by Shin Bet, Israel's security service, according to the report.

Israel has refused the allow 150,000 Palestinian workers to return to their jobs in Israel since the start of the war in Gaza on 7 October.

Israel has also refused to hand over tax revenue collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) over disagreements with the PA's transfer of a portion of those funds to Gaza's governance as Israel continues its military onslaught on the enclave.

The resulting economic pressure has caused the loss of 32 percent of all employment in the West Bank, according to the UN's International Labour Organization (ILO), estimated at 276,000 jobs.

Ola Awad of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said that around a third of the West Bank's workforce is unemployed, reaching the highest level of unemployment in decades.

Live Story

In an attempt to resolve the economic situation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly asked the UAE's President Mohammed bin Zayed to pay the wages of Palestinian workers from the West Bank who were barred entry into Israel, according to Axios, while the Emirati leader refused the request. The website also reported that the Biden administration has pressured Israel to release withheld funds to the PA.

In addition to the deteriorating economic situation, the occupied West Bank has also faced continuous Israeli raids across the territory, with at least 340 Palestinians being killed since 7 October, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The increased raids accompany an "unprecedented" spike in Jewish settlement expansions, which are illegal under international law, in the West Bank. Settler violence against Palestinians has also increased.

The UN has condemned the "rapid deterioration" in human rights in the West Bank and has urged Israel to end violence by Israeli forces and settlers occupying the territory.