A general strike in the public sector in Israel has been called in protest against the non-payment of wages and the proposed 2005 budget cuts. The strike is affecting all government ministries, municipal authorities, state-owned companies and transportation, including the national airline El Al. Refuse collection workers, traffic wardens, dockworkers, railway, telecom, electricity and hospital workers are also involved. Once again, it reflects the serious class divide that is opening up in Israeli society.

This is the seventh day of “Operation Days of Penitence” that has killed at least 70 Palestinians, many of them women and children. This is the largest operation in the Gaza Strip in the four years since the beginning of this Intifada.

Anyone who examines the situation of the Middle East, not in each country separately but as a whole, must come to the conclusion that the days of social and economic stability are definitely over. Instead of economic stability we have crisis. Instead of peace we are caught in the crossfire between the imperialists’ state terror and the individual terror of the Islamic fundamentalists.

Anyone who examines the situation of the Middle East, not in each country separately but as a whole, must come to the conclusion that the days of social and economic stability are definitely over. Instead of economic stability we have crisis. Instead of peace we are caught in the crossfire between the imperialists’ state terror and the individual terror of the Islamic fundamentalists.

Arafat is seriously ill. His days are clearly numbered now. Yossi Schwartz in Jerusalem explains how this will affect the balance of forces within the Fatah movement and how this will open up more room for Hamas. It also marks the beginning of a new period in which Hamas will be called on to stabilise the situation, thus exposing itself before the Palestinian masses.

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