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Israel-Palestine conflict may develop into full-scale war, says analyst

In the early hours of May 11, as the Israeli army said, Palestinian radicals in the Gaza Strip launched more than 200 missiles towards the Jewish State

MOSCOW, May 11. /TASS/. The Palestinian-Israeli standoff, which has intensified over the past few days, may develop into a full-scale military conflict, the board chairman of the foundation for the development and support of the international discussion club Valdai, Andrei Bystritsky, told TASS on Tuesday.

"The situation is not a simple one. Risks are high it may follow a very alarming, even dangerous scenario," Bystritsky said. "The latest spiral of the Arab-Israeli confrontation may develop into a full-scale war, with many actors involved. Given the large variety of factors, how it can be brought to an end is anyone's guess."

The analyst stressed that the conflict is growing. On both sides, the process of shaping the institutions of power is still underway, and this causes a particularly harmful influence on the situation.

"Neither Palestine nor Israel are through with forming stable bodies of power. This breeds discord. The number of different parties to the conflict is very large," Bystritsky said. "It is not just a standoff between two rival actors, say, Hamas and Israel. It is far more complicated. For one, there is Palestinian youth, which clearly pursues its own policy. This creates a situation in which all are keen to score political points in this conflict."

The expert believes that to ease the confrontation it is essential for both rival parties to achieve consolidation. Otherwise, there may follow a replay of the 2014 situation, when, for nearly two months, Israel conducted an operation codenamed Protective Edge. Israeli ground forces were then moved into Palestinian territories, Bystritsky recalled.

He believes that foreign actors may play a certain stabilizing role.

"It is quite possible that some group of powers, say Russia, the European countries, the United States and Turkey, might take peace-making steps to put the situation under control. There is sufficient leverage for this. Financial resources, for instance. The Palestinians are unable to exist autonomously. They depend on heavy assistance from abroad," the expert concluded.

New spiral of the conflict

Palestinian-Israeli tensions began to turn from bad to worse in the middle of April. On May 7, clashes between Israeli border police and Palestinians erupted at two sites in East Jerusalem - Temple Mount and Sheikh Jarrah, a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood, where on the basis of court rulings the law enforcers have been evicting several Arab families. This triggered protests by the local population and fierce clashes that have continued unabated since the end of April. Palestinian media say that police used force to make parishioners leave the Al Aqsa Mosque. Rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas were fired. Hundreds of Palestinians were injured.

In the early hours of May 11, as the Israeli army said, Palestinian radicals in the Gaza Strip launched more than 200 missiles towards the Jewish State. Palestinian media say Israel's return bombardments of Gaza have left 25 people, including nine children, dead and 107 others injured.