From Rebels to Rulers

Even if Israeli withdrawal is delayed, the P.L.O. doesn't have much time to turn into a government

The cycle is horribly familiar. Israeli undercover agents in the Gaza Strip spring a trap on three members of the Fatah Hawks, an armed wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization, killing Ahmed Abu Rish, 23. That ignites hair-trigger tempers in the occupied territories, and the rutted alleys of Gaza erupt into running battles between rock-throwing youths and Israeli forces. In one 24-hour period, soldiers kill a teenager and wound 65 Palestinians.

The violence leaps to the West Bank, where Palestinian gunmen open fire on Israelis parked on a roadside near Ramallah, killing a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher and a 19-year-old yeshiva student....

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