Sharon's focused attacks - both rhetorical and physical - against the secular Palestinian Authority weakens Arafat's ability to effectively deal with the religious militant organizations. Israel's destruction of the PA's infrastructure and killing of Palestinian policeman and intelligence officers has almost completely obliterated the means that Arafat needs to undermine the strength of the militant groups. Furthermore - by forcing Arafat to continually denounce what most Palestinians now perceive as legitimate acts of resistance to Israeli aggression, while at the same time his people are being attacked by tanks, bulldozers, and helicopters - Sharon (as well as the U.S.) is alienating Palestinians from their only official source of secular leadership. This contributes to the further radicalization of the general population and results in a broadening of the support base for the radical Islamic groups.
From the Center for Cooperative Research.
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