Iâ€™ve just returned from the place variously referred to as Palestine, the West Bank, Judea and Samaria. Geographical names are a very big deal there. Israeli checkpoints still control access to the major cities in Palestine. When the soldiers at the checkpoints are being thorough, the delays can be endless. On this trip I hardly saw an Israeli soldier once I left Jerusalem. They seemed to have retreated into the tall, ubiquitous, high-tech guard towers that loom over the landscape. Palestinians told me they think the Israelis are keeping a low profile after the May 15 demonstrations when protestors stormed checkpoints and border positions.
More demonstrations are planned for September. No one I spoke to would hazard a guess as to how things will play out in September, whether the demonstrators will remain peaceful, how the Israeli military will react, whether Hamas will join in for their own reasons – so many unknowns. It seems like Palestinians still havenâ€™t figure out what to do with the lesson of the Arab Spring.