Violence Fills the Vacuum as Gaza Becomes Lawless

(Financial Times-UK) Many Gazans saw Sharon's announcement that he was preparing to withdraw Jewish settlements as a victory for Hamas and its campaign of suicide-bomb attacks. Many Hamas activists are now in hiding from the Israeli army, but the prospect of an Israeli retreat has boosted their already growing support in the territory, further weakening the PA and its ruling party, Fatah. "If Sharon pulls out and Hamas claims its military operations were the main reason, many Palestinians will agree with them," said Yasser Najjar, a senior PA official. There are fears that a partial Israeli withdrawal might leave Gaza divided into separate cantons controlled by local warlords associated with the plethora of active security forces.

2004-02-18 00:00:00

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