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Fatah is Still Criminal By: David Frum
AEI.org | Monday, June 18, 2007

Scenes from a civil war, courtesy of Human Rights Watch and the British journalist Melanie Phillips:

"At least 15 Palestinians, including a United Nations relief worker, were killed today as Hamas looked set to complete its conquest of the entire Gaza Strip."

"Muhammad Swairki, 28, a cook for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's presidential guard, was thrown to his death, with his hands and legs tied, from a 15-story apartment building in Gaza City on Sunday."

"Muhammad al-Ra'fati, a Hamas supporter and mosque preacher, was thrown from a Gaza City high-rise apartment building."

"Fatah gunmen began firing mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City."

"Hamas gunmen attacked the home of a Fatah security official with mortars and grenades, killing his 14-year-old son and three women inside, security officials said.

Other Fatah gunmen stormed the house of a Hamas lawmaker and burned it down."

"Jamal Abu Jadian, a top Fatah commander, fled his home in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening dressed as a woman to avoid dozens of Hamas militiamen who had attacked it. When he arrived at a hospital a few hundred meters away from his house, he was discovered by a group of Hamas gunmen, who took turns shooting him in the head with automatic rifles. 'They literally blew his head off with more than 40 bullets,' said a doctor at Kamal Udwan Hospital."

Hamas has now completed its conquest of Gaza.

The last Fatah fighters were captured and then machine-gunned to death in front of their wives and children.

The Fatah compound in Gaza City will be turned into a mosque; Gaza itself into an Islamic state.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has struck back against Hamas in the West Bank, where Hamas is weak and Mr. Abbas's Fatah is stronger.

On Wednesday, Mr. Abbas declared a state of emergency.

His forces have raided Hamas offices in Ramallah and Nablus and arrested some 1,500 Hamas activists.

Mr. Abbas is now appealing for more American and Western military and economic aid.

And he has requested an international police force for Gaza.

Good luck with that last request. Gaza looks like an Arabic Somalia, a beachfront Fallujah. No Western government will volunteer to deploy forces into such an environment.

But if Mr. Abbas is refused troops, he will certainly now receive massive new infusions of money. The big idea sweeping Western capitals is that Fatah must learn to compete with Hamas as a provider of social services.

Over the years, billions of dollars of aid have been donated to the Palestinian Authority.

In 2006, the Palestinians collected more Western aid per capita than any other people on earth: U.S. $300 per year, as compared to U.S. $44 for sub-Saharan Africa.

Much of that money has been stolen or wasted.

Even worse, because UN relief agencies have allowed themselves to be penetrated and captured by Hamas, much of the Western aid has ended up reinforcing exactly the people we supposedly want to defeat.

It's not very realistic to imagine that Fatah can suddenly change its ways and learn to run aid programs honestly. Fatah is a criminal gang, and it inevitably acts like one.

As Gaza burns, you will of course hear voices blaming Israel.

Yesterday morning, the Boston Globe published a classic editorial that attacked Israel for occupying Gaza in 1967 and then for quitting Gaza in 2005. But if any outside forces deserve blame, it is those who have encouraged some Palestinian people in their extremist fantasies: the Arab states, the old Soviet Union, the Islamists, and anti-Israel forces in the West.

Looking at the wreckage in the Palestinian territories, it's impossible to sustain any further hope that any responsible state can ever arise there.

Too many Palestinian Arabs are gripped by what might be called "anti-nationalism": Too many care more about destroying the nation of Israel than about the building of a nation of Palestine.

For Gaza now, the best possible outcome is a reversion to Egyptian rule.

That will not happen soon--the Egyptians are no more eager to assume responsibility for Baghdad by the sea than the Europeans are--but it will happen. Egyptian forces already patrol Gaza's borders.

They have looked the other way as weapons flow into Gaza to be used against Israel. But what happens when Gaza becomes a sanctuary for anti-Egyptian Islamists?

And as international cash ceases to flow, and Hamas's service infrastructure breaks down, a constituency for an alternative government will take form inside Hamasistan.

And for the West Bank? Palestinian sovereignty over that territory now looks more and more like a gamble the world cannot afford.

In their struggle for control of the Palestinian movement, Hamas and Fatah between them have killed the Palestinian state.

David Frum is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and writes a daily column for National Review Online.

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