The plan here is to embarrass Obama and disrupt his visit in the hopes of exploiting that to gain more concessions. It would be a dumb tactic with most foreign leaders, but with Obama it might actually work
Although the Palestinian Authority probably does not want an all-out confrontation between Palestinians and Israelis at this stage, some Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah believe that a "mini-intifada" would serve the Palestinians' interests, especially on the eve of Obama's visit.
The officials hope that scenes of daily clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the West Bank will prompt Obama to exert pressure on the Israeli government to make far-reaching concessions to the Palestinian Authority.
This is why the Palestinian Authority leadership has been encouraging its constituents lately to wage a "popular intifada" against Israel, each time finding another excuse to initiate confrontations between Palestinians and Israel.
Now the Palestinian Authority is using the issue of Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike in Israeli prisons as an excuse to call for street protests and clashes with the Israel Defense Forces.
In recent days, dozens of Palestinian protesters have been injured in clashes with IDF soldiers in various parts of the West Bank. The protests are being held in solidarity with four hunger-strikers.
So the plan here is to embarrass Obama and disrupt his visit in the hopes of exploiting that to gain more concessions. It would be a dumb tactic with most foreign leaders, but Muslim leaders slapping around Obama and getting paid for it actually works. Just look at what happened in Egypt.
Palestinian Authority violence always has a niqab of plausible deniability around it, but it's supposed to improve the approval ratings of Abbas, while gullible Westerners are supposed to accept the violence as popular outrage.
Will it work? It always has in the past. Most lefties still believe that Sharon caused the Second Intifada and refused to believe that Arafat was pulling the strings for each attack, no matter much evidence they were provided with.