Sheik Yassin assassinated by Israel:
To most people in the US, this assassination seems justified (as verfied by the accompanying poll), even though the "spiritual founder of Hamas" was a quadriplegic. Most people also feel (see same poll) that this will cause an escalation of violence.
The main problem is that most of us are so turned off by the bombing tactics of Hamas and other Palestinian groups and the questionable character of Palestinian leader Arafat that we miss the bigger picture. And that bigger picture is that Ariel Sharon depends on the Palestinian conflict for political survival. He came to power as a hardliner and every time he feels the need to do so he plans something that will intentionally inflame the Palestinians so much that they overreact and alienate potential allies.
All this says nothing of the fact that the Palestinians have a legitimate beef with Israel. Their plight drove them to violence as a last resort and so far their leadership has not caught on to the fact that violence is counterproductive to their cause. Probably there are those among them who know this but are much like Sharon in that they depend on the conflict for power. Arafat likely falls in this category.
The problem is that with Yassin now gone there is no other Palestinian figurehead even close to the stature of Arafat. With the right partner Arafat has a record of peace negotiation, even winning the Nobel Peace Prize. So even though the West might want to isolate Arafat it cannot and it is not necessary to do so. It is however time to stop Sharon from knowingly inflaming the Palestinians and along with them the rest of the Arab world before he drags the US into an even worse situation than the current one.
George Bush helps keep Sharon in power because he too wants to have an enemy to fight against that helps him maintain power. He likes it when Sharon inflames the Palestinians and other Arabs because he can then justify himself as an "anti-terra" president. Both men are poking a hornet's nest and its hightime they both got stung because of their actions.