Occasionally there is an outbreak of panic about collaborators among the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, such as occured over two weeks ago in the Gaza Strip after the assassination of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi.
Not one Palestinian source condemned yesterday's murder of the Hatuel family, since this was a terror attack in the territories and against settlers.
All strains of the Palestinian leadership are also eagerly awaiting the results of the referendum among Likud party members. Clearly the plan for a withdrawal from Gaza is of interest to the Palestinian Authority, but there have already been previous Israeli withdrawals from Gaza and the West Bank.
Ariel Sharon may renew his threats to harm Yasser Arafat in order to improve his position before the vote in the Likud. And then again, he may not. What is certain is that Arafat and his people did not get particularly upset when they heard the threats.
The leaders of Hamas are trying to maneuver between public appearances and hiding from the Israeli army. Apparently, in the absence of a dominant leader, Hamas will have a hard time negotiating with the Palestinian Authority
The Hamas way has emerged victorious: There is no political process; the armed struggle has returned; the fight is against "the Zionist entity;" and the issue of the right of return has once again been brought to the fore.
A Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, said Friday at a memorial gathering for Yassin, "At the top of the Hamas agenda is now a reprisal against Israel on the same criminal level at which Israel killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin."
President Bush's letter recognizing that Israel will not withdraw to the 1967 Green Line, and rejecting the Palestinian right of return, has helped bring about a rapprochement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and Islamic Jihad.