News of Ariel Sharon's election victory was met largely with indifference in the Arab world, though many also viewed it as the last rite for the troubled peace process.
After 52 years of wars, a decade of frustrating peace efforts and months of deadly Palestinian-Israeli clashes, many Arabs have given up hope any Israeli leader will give Palestinians rights and land considered their due.
Sporadic battles between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers erupted in the West Bank town of Hebron on Wednesday following the election.
Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at Palestinian youths who retaliated by throwing rocks.
It's the first violence in the West Bank since the election of Mr. Sharon on Tuesday.
Gun battles also broke out between suspected militant Palestinians and Israeli soldiers after the homes of Israeli settlers were fired on.
Homes in the isolated Jewish neighbourhood of Tel Romeide in the heart of Hebron came under fire.
Israeli Defence Force sources said the hostile fire on Tel Romeide was reported to have come from the adjoining Arab neighbourhood of Jebel Abu-Sneina in Hebron.
Around five hundred settlers live in Hebron, surrounded by an estimated 130-thousand Palestinians.
During the clashes the Israeli army also shelled a local building.
In Gaza, Palestinian Minister of Planning and top negotiator Nabil Shaath said on Wednesday that nobody from Ariel Sharon's office had contacted the Palestinian authorities, and leader Yasser Arafat was still waiting for a telephone call.
Palestinians hope the peace process will continue under the right wing leadership of Sharon, Shaath said, and talks between Israelis and Palestinians will not stop.
Shaath spoke in Gaza, after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met American diplomats and to discuss the future of the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian authority under Sharon's leadership.
Meanwhile, Egypt reacted cautiously to Ariel Sharon's election victory on Wednesday.
The country has been at chilly peace with Israel since 1979.
Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said they would have to wait and see what direction Sharon would take in relation to the Middle East peace process.
Palestinian refugees in camps in Lebanon voiced their anger on Wednesday after the election of Ariel Sharon as Israel's Prime Minister.
Sharon is vilified by those who live in the camps.
In 1982, as defence minister, he engineered Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
It was portrayed as a quick, limited strike to drive Palestinian fighters from Israel's northern border.
However, Israeli troops advanced to the outskirts of Beirut and war escalated.
Israeli-allied Christian militia killed hundreds of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in west Beirut, sparking international outrage.
At Wednesday's protests, demonstrators burned effigies of Sharon and chanted anti-Israeli slogans.
Inmates of the camps, some of whom have lived in them since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, demand the right of return to their former homes in what is now Israel.
Successive Israeli governments have denied them this.
" Not yet, there has not yet been any direct contact between the two. President Arafat has talked to Mr Powell. "
Q: Reporter asking Shaath if there has been any contact between Arafat and Sharon?
" Not yet, no not yet."
SUPER CAPTION: Nabil Shaath, Palestinian Minister of Planning and Co-operation
"Look, if we judge him on his previous statements and his policies and his actions I think we would be very pessimistic towards the peace process. We have to wait a little bit to hear what he will say as a Prime Minister and not as an opposition leader or leader of any party. If the logical start is to build on what has been achieved then there will be peace which can be activated but if his policy is to destroy whilst peace has been agreed upon then there will be pessimism and frustration and that will very serious indeed. "
SUPER CAPTION: Amr Moussa, Egyptian Foreign Minister