There are many ways to look at the Hamas victory in the Gaza Strip last week, but the most relevant is that Gaza has joined the expanding Jihadistan terrorist landscape.
Gaza is only the most recent addition to Jihadistan's several cities in Iraq, the tribal regions along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, much of Somalia, and the Hezbollah-controlled areas of southern Lebanon — yet another place for terrorist-masters to meet, organize, plan, and operate.
It will be a farce if President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert spend their meeting tomorrow discussing a two-state solution or how many millions of dollars are needed to shore up the non-existent authority of Fatah. What is needed is a plan to stop the addition of Gaza to Jihadistan, to contain it, and to bleed it.
Egypt and Jordan are just as concerned as Israel. It is an established fact that much of Hamas's weaponry in Gaza and the West Bank comes across the Sinai desert from Egypt, from all over the Mediterranean coast controlled by Israel, and from Jordan. The weapons are paid for and shipped with the complicity of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood movements of Egypt and Jordan with the complicity of army and government officials. Sinai bedouins and rogue government officials are part of the problem. That is what any conversation should be about.
The Arabs agree. The dizzying descent of Gaza has alarmed pundits and decision-makers in surrounding countries to the point that they are openly saying: Forget the Palestinian Arab cause, save us:
• "The emergence of an Islamist ‘Emirate of Gaza' is far more critical than that the emergence of the Taliban," the editor in chief of a Saudi newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, Tarik Al-Homeid, wrote on Saturday.
• In Cairo this weekend, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, rejected calls for recognizing a Hamas government in Gaza, saying he could not sanctify splitting the region in the name of Islam.
• Finally, according to the general manager of the pan-Arab Al-Arabia TV network, Abdelrahman Al Rashed, the region now suffers from splits within its splits. "In Palestine, we have two leaderships; in Lebanon, two governments, with two presidents, and two parliaments; in Iraq, we are looking at three mini-states: one Shiite, one Sunni, and one Kurdish," he said yesterday.
Throwing money at the problem will not do. If the Gaza collapse has proved anything, it is that Western funding ends up either in the hands of Muslim fundamentalists or in the pockets of corrupt Fatah officials, most of whom sat out the turmoil with their wives and mistresses in their sumptuous villas and flats in Cairo, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Paris, London, and the French Riviera. Fatah's top security chief, Muhammed Dahlan, actually watched the sacking of his sumptuous marble villa in Gaza from his other sumptuous villa in a Cairo suburb, a senior Egyptian intelligence source told me yesterday.
The most immediate urgency is to cut off funds and weapons in the places that Hamas's flames are heading next: the Palestinian Arab refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. With Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the scene is set for a serious Islamic fundamentalist insurrection across the Arab world.
The bloody, month-long fight by rogue Islamists for the Palestinian Arab refugee camp in Tripoli, Lebanon — which so far has cost the Lebanese army 70 soldiers — is a fine sample of what is in store.
There are many poor and dispossessed Palestinian Arabs, most of whom are cared for with funds from the United Nations and Western charities. This humanitarian aid, unfortunately, has relieved Palestinian Arab terror groups, such as Hamas and Fatah, from the obligation of feeding their own and allows them to use all their money for war. Thus, a related issue for do-gooders confronting the problem is how to stop this seepage of funds.
Palestinian Arabs have been fighting in the name of a state since 1948, but their leaders have reduced their likely mandate to the miserable conundrum of Gaza, and a patch here and there in the West Bank, from what would have been half of today's Israel.
The day may come for an independent Palestinian Arab state. But right now, the humane and decent thing to do is save the Palestinian Arabs from their rogue Islamists and would-be nationalistic heroes.