Cliff May

Now, Hamas rules Gaza with no pretense of democracy remaining. Fatah has retreated to the West Bank where it struggles to retain control.

The sensible thing for Israel to do would be to seal its border with Gaza. At the same time, the U.S. and Europe should cut off all aid. Let Iran’s ayatollahs and al-Qaeda’s financiers send food, gasoline and other supplies. Surely, they could squeeze that in among the weapons and explosives they are now shipping.

But never expect sense when it comes to the Middle East. Instead, both the U.S. and Europe plan to assist Hamas, if not directly then through the U.N. Reportedly, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has “acceded” to the request of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to continue supplying Gaza with food, drugs, medical services, clean water and electricity. In addition, Israel, the U.S. and the Europeans are falling all over themselves to give Abbas money.

Here’s an idea: Why doesn’t Olmert, hand-in-globe with Washington and the Europeans, too, if possible, make a few requests of Abbas? Instead of giving him unconditional support, why not set a few benchmarks?

Why not tell him it’s time to disarm – or at least disavow -- such Fatah terrorist factions as the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades? Why not demand that he finally end incitement to terrorism in Palestinian media, mosques and schools? How about insisting he initiate a serious campaign against corruption, the theft by his cronies of aid intended for destitute Palestinians? And wouldn’t it send a message were Abbas to state without equivocation that another generation of Palestinians should not be sacrificed in pursuit of the genocidal dream of Israel’s annihilation?

“Extremists link up with extremists,” Condi Rice said. And right now extremists from al-Qaeda, Hamas, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere are linking up to humiliate and, they are confident, eventually defeat the civilized world. Isn’t it time the civilized world at least stopped assisting them?

Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.