Armed Islamic groups angered by cartoon drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad in European media, threatened to attack churches and closed down the European Union Commission office in Gaza Thursday, February 2, as anger over the published caricatures spread across the Muslim world.
Israel and the Palestinians are spinning different versions of just about every incident of violence in the on-going Palestinian uprising, while a number of "mysterious" mishaps are taking its toll on Fatah militia leaders and Islamic terrorists.
While the Palestinian uprising has not been as intense over the holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah and the end of Ramadan, there were still plenty of violent incidents, even as renewed negotiations were being conducted.
The renewed Palestinian intifada appears headed towards a new spiral of violence, as armed Palestinian factions are vowing to revenge Israeli hits on militia commanders and Fatah attempts to mark the anniversary of its founding. Meanwhile, Israelis are trying to act with restraint following the murder of a Jewish hard-liner on Sunday morning and yet another terrorist bombing inside Israel yesterday.
In a decisive showdown in the Sinai on Monday, key regional and world leaders will goad Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO chief Yasser Arafat to meet face-to-face to discuss terms for ending the lethal Palestinian uprising over the past two weeks. There appears to be little reason for optimism that a truce can be concluded quickly, or that the Oslo peace process can be revived anytime soon.