Source Pravda.Ru

Hamas grows stronger

For the first time in the half-century that he's lived on a nameless dusty lane on the periphery of town, Mohammad Ali has a street light.

A few weeks ago, his grandchildren rode a bus to their school for the first time, eliminating the usual one-hour walk.

In &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2001/12/15/23708.html ' target=_blank>Beit Hanoun, Hamas candidates won 10 of the 13 council seats in local elections held in January. The mayor, chosen from among the council members, is Nazek Kafarna, 39, one of the most popular religious leaders in town.

Hamas -- with its armed wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades -- is condemned by the United States as a terrorist organization and reviled by Israel as the perpetrator of some of the deadliest suicide bombings of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. At the same time, &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2002/07/20/32919.html ' target=_blank>Hamas has won respect among Palestinians by providing education and health programs. Now, when the U.S. and Israeli governments are demanding greater democratization of the Palestinian Authority, voters in the West Bank and Gaza are handing a sizable share of power to a group that many U.S. and Israeli leaders associate more closely with terrorism than with political reform, tells the Washington Post.