Hamas has emerged as a force in the Palestinian Territories and has recently hit the headlines because of a spate of suicide bombings. This article looks at the origins of this movement. It recalls how in the past, when it suited them, the Israeli authorities tried to use Hamas as a counterbalance to the influence of the PLO. Now it has become a source of further instability.

On August 20 there was a bloody suicide attack on bus No.2 in the heart of an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem which took the lives of 20 innocent Israelis and injured over 100. With a little delay we are publishing this report sent to us from Israel.

The resignation of Abu Mazen delivered a blow to the U.S. and Israel. The Israeli government has reacted furiously, deciding "in principle" to expel Arafat from Palestine. This threat last night brought thousands of Palestinians onto the streets to rally to his defence. The decision of the Israeli government could achieve the opposite effect to that desired, provoking an escalating spiral of bitter confrontation. Yossi Schwartz in Israel analyses the situation.

Only a few days ago the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon seemed to believe that his dream of removing, or even killing, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was going to become true within just a few days. But the US has stopped the Israeli government, for now. A forced removal of Arafat would cause a great destabilization of the region, a thing that US imperialism cannot accept.

Yesterday the Histadrut trade union federation in Israel formally announced a labour dispute in Israel's public sector. At the end of a 15-day "cooling off" period, some 700,000 workers will be legally entitled to take strike action. Our correspondent in Israel analyses the situation and interviews Binyamin Gonen, a longstanding member of the Political Committee of the Communist Party of Israel and is political front DFPE-Hadash. Gonen was for many years also a member of the leadership of the party's faction in the Histadrut.

Last week twenty seven Israeli pilots signed a public declaration in which they announced their refusal to participate in missions of "targeted killings" and assassinations in the West Bank and Gaza strip. The government and the ruling class are in panic. The letter of the pilots has undermined the legitimacy of the war crimes committed by the Zionists in the Occupied Territories.

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