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And, not long after that, the Islamic radical groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, claimed responsiblity for several retaliatory suicide bombings that left scores of Israelis dead and wounded.

Meanwhile, the Jewish settler movement--130,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights--fearing that their dreams of a Greater Israel were fading, and worse still, that they would end up having to evacuate their homes or risk living under Palestinian rule, began holding more frequent and vociferous protest rallies.

Today, the sense of hope that pervaded during the early days of the peace process has long since vanished. The vacuum left behind in its wake has been filled by the tension and mutual distrust that Israelis and Palestinians seem incapable of living without.

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