ISRAELI PRIME minister Ariel Sharon organised the assassination of the Palestinian Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The US government refused to condemn the murder. Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, said: 'Let's remember that Hamas is a terrorist organisation, and that Sheikh Yassin has been involved in terrorist planning.'
Hamas is, in fact, a response to decades of state terror by Israeli governments. It grew out of the Palestinian struggle against this oppression. It was set up during the first Palestinian uprising in 1987. It has won mass support among Palestinians because of its militant resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
The US, Israel and Britain condemn Hamas as terrorists because of its use of suicide bombers. Israel is the most militarised society in the world, with US-provided helicopters, tanks and F-16 military jets. Palestinians live in one of the most wrecked and impoverished societies in the world, ruled and humiliated by an occupying force.
It is this disparity, and utter desperation, that drives young men and women to turn themselves into bombs. Israel's murder of Yassin was an escalation of its attempts to humiliate the Palestinians. It has targeted and assassinated over 150 Palestinian leaders since the second intifada (uprising) began in September 2000.
The war criminal
ARIEL SHARON has devoted his life to oppressing the Palestinians. He gave the green light to Lebanese fascists to murder 2,000 Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatilla camps in Lebanon in 1982. Sharon led the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which killed over 20,000 people. He was the repressive military commander of Gaza in the 1970s.
In the 1990s as a minister in the right wing government he urged Israeli settlers to seize more land in Palestinian areas, even while the peace process was going on.
He sparked the second intifada when he visited the Muslim holy site the Al-Aqsa mosque to show Israeli superiority. Since he came to power in February 2001 he has increased Israel's grip on the Palestinians. He is building an apartheid-style 'separation wall' around Palestinian areas.