Israeli army moves into Gaza

21 November 2002

The cycle of violence continued in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as Israeli forces moved into Gaza City and fired missiles on a Palestinian security compound, this time in response to an ambush in Hebron on 15 November which killed 12 Israeli soldiers.

The attack in Hebron has prompted settlers and right-wingers to demand the creation of a secure corridor between holy sites in Hebron and the settlement of Kiryat Arba. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is to face old rival and new Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Likud party primaries before January's general election. Netanyahu has positioned himself to the right of Sharon, calling for the expulsion of Yasser Arafat. However Sharon is under pressure from the US, which wants no disruption to its plans for possible military action against Iraq, to exercise moderation in his response. Its seems likely that whoever wins the leadership will be the next prime minister as opinion polls give Likud a commanding lead over Labour, which is also facing a leadership contest. The doveish mayor of Haifa Amram Mitzna is currently ahead of incumbent leader Benjamin Ben-Eliezer in polls.

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