The upsurge in violence comes as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon faces a revolt in his ruling Likud party. The hawkish Likud Central Committee is voting today on whether to hold early elections in November to choose a party leader. Sharon infuriated the Likud by dismantling 21 Gaza settlements, and the party could take revenge by replacing him with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "They are telling us they will continue with painful concessions," Netanyahu said in a speech, referring to Sharon and his supporters. “Don't we have enough with the Hamas state in Gaza?...We will all be in danger." If the Likud decides on early elections, Sharon could quit the party. Sharon is popular with the public at large, and polls show that if he forms a new “centrist” party, it would win big over Netanyahu's Likud.
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