Condoleezza Rice accused Hamas of denying democracy to the Middle East. So short is Ms.Rice’s memory. Palestinian Autonomy was a relatively stable place before she along with Bush demanded democratic elections there. Hamas came to power in perfectly democratic manner. Palestinian elections were more transparent than perhaps any other in the Middle East. Hamas enjoys democracy and, again contrary to Rice’s assertion, wants to bring peace to the entire Middle East – without the US and Israel. The Hamas voters are militant nationalists of the kind the US supports in many countries. Hamas is far less atrocious than the US-sponsored Northern Alliance. Unable to counter the Hamas politically or militarily, Rice smears it.

Labor strike cheerleader turned Defense Minister Amir Peretz supports the US plan to strengthen Fatah against Hamas. Fatah and Hamas are not really fighting: for all the ammo expended, only a few militants are dead. Whether a staged show or implicit policy of mutual restraint and deterrence, that’s not battles. Abbas needs not new weapons to counter the homespun Hamas. Abbas is 71-year old, that’s very advanced age for a Palestinian (unacceptably advanced for a guerrilla). He could die any time, leaving Fatah without authoritative leader. In result, the American-trained Fatah militants would join Hamas, taking the US military equipment along.

America equips and finances the PLO-Fatah to fight democratically elected Hamas. Would that create goodwill among the Palestinians? Supporting the doomed Fatah is immoral and counterproductive.