Palestinian protesters run for cover during clashes with Israeli troops near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 11, 2015. Four Israelis and 23 Palestinians have died in 12 days of bloodshed fueled in part by Muslim anger over increasing Jewish access to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Violence has spread from the holy city and the Israeli-occupied West Bank to Israel's interior and Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Mohamad Torokman / Reuters

­Masked gunmen affiliated with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction marched through the streets of Ramallah in early October, firing automatic weapons into the air as crowds gathered to film the procession. The imagery harked back to the days of the second intifada, when the Palestinian leadership openly coordinated violence against Israel. Since then, lone-wolf stabbings, rocket attacks, and clashes with Israelis have left scores dead in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. Yet for all the talk of a third intifada, the likelihood of another uprising is roughly the same as it is on any other day in this blood-soaked conflict.

Historically, an intifada occurs when the Palestinian leadership openly endorses and coordinates widespread resistance, as the local committees (and later the Palestine Liberation Organization) did during the first intifada of the late 1980s and early 1990s and as Abbas’ predecessor, Yasir Arafat, did during the second intifada of the last decade. Abbas’ rise marked the end of the second uprising, as he worked to rein in the terror cells of his own Fatah movement and of its rival, Hamas, in the West Bank. As he made clear in a meeting of senior officials last Tuesday, the Palestinians will

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