Predicting a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising, has been a mug’s game for years – since practically the moment the second one petered out in 2005. Those predictions have increased in frequency as the prospect of an independent Palestinian state, the promise of 1993’s Oslo Accords, have once again receded. But so far, they’ve consistently failed to be born out by events on the ground. …

This week, there’s been intifada talk once again, following the death in an Israeli prison of young Palestinian man Arafat Jaradat over the weekend. Early Israeli reports said the cause of Mr. Jaradat’s death could not be determined, but Palestinian groups insist he was tortured in custody and furious protests erupted around the West Bank yesterday during his funeral. Israel arrested Jaradat earlier in February, on allegations that he’d thrown rocks at settlers last November, during Israel’s confrontation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. …

Mr. Munayyer says that’s one reason he often grows frustrated with speculation about whether an uprising is at hand. “By asking the question in the way that we do, ‘are we on the cusp of the next intifada?,’ we’re identifying that as crisis mode. But in the absence of an intifada, which is what we have now, there is still the military occupation of millions of people. So we’re contributing to that idea that this human rights crisis is tolerable.”

“But why [would Israel] end it? The benefits are high, the costs are low, so until that equation changes they won’t change their approach. It’s unreasonable for us to think otherwise, and it’s dangerous for that myth to lie at the foundation of policy prescriptions because it ends up leading to policy statements like ‘well, if we get the parties back to the negotiating table maybe they’ll work things out.”