A senior official in Tel Aviv revealed on Tuesday that the head of the CIA, William Burns, warned both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the danger of a third Palestinian uprising in the near future.
The official said he was not surprised by Burns’ remarks in Washington, in which he confirmed that during his recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, he felt that the situation in the region was fragile and violence was escalating between Israelis and Palestinians.
The official added that Burns told both Netanyahu and Abbas, as well as intelligence and security officials on both sides, that he followed the events in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and noticed similarities to the scenes that prevailed prior to the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000.
On Tuesday, a number of media outlets reported that Burns delivered a rare speech at Georgetown University in Washington, last Thursday, during which he touched on his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“I was a senior US diplomat 20 years ago during the Second Intifada, and I’m concerned — as are my colleagues in the intelligence community — that a lot of what we’re seeing today has a very unhappy resemblance to some of those realities that we saw then too,” the CIA director was quoted as saying.
“Part of the responsibility of my agency is to work as closely as we can with both the Palestinian security services and the Israeli security services to prevent the kind of explosions of violence that we’ve seen in recent weeks. That’s going to be a big challenge, and I’m concerned about that dimension of the landscape in the Middle East as well,” he added.