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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 21, 2003

Palestinians protest against Hamas

A good sign

Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip erupted in angry protest at an unusual target yesterday: Islamic militants, whom they blamed for bringing military incursions upon their town by firing rockets into Israel.

The townspeople of Beit Hanoun blocked a main road and burned tires just hours after Israeli tanks and troops pulled out. During their five-day incursion into the town, the forces demolished 15 homes, flattened orchards and tore up streets in what Israeli spokesmen said was an effort to deprive Palestinian militants of launching points.

"They claim they are heroes," farmer Mohammed Zaaneen complained, referring to the militants. "They brought us only destruction and made us homeless. They used our farms, our houses and our children to hide."

It was a rare sign of Arab popular support for a ceasefire. Palestinian, Israeli and U.S. leaders struggled to keep peace talks alive yesterday, after the deadly suicide bombings of recent days.