WHY SHARON MURDERED HAMAS LEADER

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TEL-AVIV, April 18 (RIA Novosti's Ratmir Orestov) - The murder of Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, the leader of the Palestinian movement HAMAS on Saturday in Gaza City was needed by the Israeli government first of all for the solution of internal political problems, stated Eliezer Feldman, director of the Israeli center of social and political studies.

In his opinion, by eliminating one of the well-known Palestinian extremist leaders, Israeli premier Ariel Sharon hopes to strengthen his positions on the eve of the referendum in the ruling Likud party, led by him, on the plan of a unilateral separation with the Palestinian national autonomy.

Before leaving Gaza City, he intends to "slam the door", that is, to do what his predecessor Ehud Barak failed to do during evacuation from the Southern Lebanon, said Feldman.

One of the consequences of the "pin-point liquidation" tactic may be the strengthening of aggressive tendencies in the Palestinian environment, noted the Israeli expert.

On the other hand, the elimination of leaders demoralizes the groups subordinated to them, leads to the rupture of the channels of external financing and disorganization, which worsens the conditions for staging new terrorist acts against Israel. The preventive measures being actively taken by Israeli power structures also contribute to this, he added.

Perhaps, the lack of retaliation on the part of Palestinians for the murder of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the HAMAS religious leader, (he was killed on March 22 by a rocket strike from Israeli helicopters ) made such an early attack on his successor possible, said Feldman.

Yossi Beilin, chairman of the Yahad party and a co-author of the "Geneva agreements", urged Sharon to immediately stop the policy of "pin-point elimination" , reported the Cursor news agency. In his words, such actions are at variance with the principles of democracy and cause damage to the peace process in the region.

At the same time, Israeli minister without portfolio Gideon Ezra stated: "This action was taken at the right place and in the right time. Our government must combat terror and it fulfils its obligations".

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