Combat is increasingly concentrated around the Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories. The settlers are heavily armed and not reluctant to fire back. Since the settlements are often surrounded by densely populated Palestinian areas, this irritates a lot of Palestinians and injures some as well. This provides a steady supply of recruits for the armed Palestinian groups who are, increasingly, laying siege to the settlements. Most of the Israeli population is getting tired of the monetary and human cost of defending these settlements. The Palestinians see the settlements as part of an Israeli plan to annex more Palestinian territory into Israel. Hard line Israeli nationalists see the settlements the same way. The new Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has been a principal supporters of the settlements. If Sharon cannot deal with the settlements issue, he will probably be out of office within a year.