February 2002 has undoubtedly been Ariel Sharon's toughest month in power since his overwhelming election victory just over a year ago. A string of Palestinian military successes has created a climate of near panic in the Israeli press.
A large roadside bomb destroyed a Merkava tank, and an officer from the undercover Duvdevan Unit was killed by falling masonry while overseeing the demolition of a Palestinian house. Then six Israeli soldiers were ambushed and killed at a checkpoint and their Palestinian attackers got away. The Israeli army has responded by attempting to batter the Palestinian civilian population into submission.