Arafat Cracks Down

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Hamas, the Islamic militant Palestinian group that opposes peace with Israel, has traditionally avoided attacking Americans. But thanks to last week's Mideast peace accord, that may soon change: CIA personnel must now directly assist Yasser Arafat's security services in a crackdown on Hamas. After an Israeli soldier was killed in a bomb attack, Arafat's men arrested Hamas's leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, in Gaza on Thursday -- an act likely to provoke strong reaction from a movement famous for its suicide bombers.

Israel had released Yassin from prison a year ago during the fallout from a botched Israeli secret operation in Jordan, and his organization is legal in Gaza. But such niceties are unlikely to figure in Arafat's crackdown. "Neither the Israelis nor the Americans expect Arafat to fight terrorism any differently than he has in the past -- with arbitrary arrests, denial of due process, torture and restrictions on speech, assembly and the press," says TIME Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer. "The only difference is that this time the CIA will be closely involved." And while they may see it as dirty work that needs to be done, the spooks might have been a little more comfortable doing it from the shadows.