It did not take long for the less than happy state of affairs between the US and Israel (which I mentioned yesterday) to be picked up by groups representing Palestinians. Both Fatah, the party of the late Yasser Arafat, and the more militant Hamas, have set off protests which have resulted in skirmishes with Israeli border police.
The reawakening of Palestinian protests is not unconnected to the Obama Administration’s apparently deliberate ratcheting up of the pressure on the Israelis. And it’s not just about the proposed expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem: Washington wants the Israelis to engage in talks with the Palestinians, not just “talks about talks”.
The summoning of the Israeli ambassador to the State Department for a carpeting last week merely underlines the determination of the Administration to move the peace process forward. The message is blunt: the Bush era is over.