The assassination of Hamas' Gaza leader Abd Al-Aziz al-Rantisi by Israel on Saturday, April 22, is the second such act of state terror against the leadership of the Islamist movement in less than a month. This is unlikely to weaken Hamas's popularity among the Palestinian people. Moreover, the open support of the Bush administration for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's expansionistic designs in the West Bank will make the powder keg not only in Gaza but in the entire region even more volatile

As we predicted so many times over the last few months, Sharon’s “disengagement" plan from Gaza is leading us directly to hell. The plan was supposed to lead to a troop withdrawal from most of Gaza and the removal of all 21 settlements while at the same time annexing large territories in the West Bank. It was never a step towards general withdrawal. In reality it was a manoeuvre to steal even more land from the Palestinians. As soon as it was clear that the withdrawal plan had been rejected by Sharon's own Likud party, the Israeli army intensified its attacks on the West Bank and Gaza.

Periodically tensions rises between Israel and Syria. Bush has enough problems in Iraq and looks worryingly on developments between the two countries, but Sharon may have other ideas. Yossi Schwartz looks at where this situation may lead.

More than 150,000 people took part in a mass demonstration in Tel Aviv on May 15, that called on the government to pull out of Gaza and start peace talks. Ironically Sharon, who failed to get his plan accepted by his own party, the Likud, has found support among the Zionist left. Yossi Schwartz in Jerusalem explains this apparent contradiction.

Thousands of residents from the southern Gaza town of Rafah, home to 140,000 people, have fled their homes in recent days, fearing that the Israeli army will demolish their homes as the army of occupation continues to terrorize the people of Gaza. Far from withdrawing, the Israeli army is now trying to crush the Palestinian people.

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