Even in the West Bank, where the PLO is supposedly strong, Fatah is more a fiction than a fact. Its leader, Abu Mazen, is Palestine's version of the Holographic Doctor from Star Trek Voyager. As far as most Palestinians are concerned, he is nothing but a figment of the West's imagination, and not a very imaginative one at that. The 13 private militias and armies that make up Fatah control Abu Mazen. He does not control them. Abu Mazen is a puppet with no strings. He has no following in either Palestine, East or West. And the Bush-Olmert plan to prop him up won't succeed for long.
The immediate danger to Israel and the West comes from Gaza, not the West Bank. It is in Gaza that Hamas can assemble serious and dangerous weaponry with which to attack Israel (not to mention other Palestinians). It is in Gaza, not the West Bank, where agents of the Iranian regime will plant themselves for renewed war against Israel. It is in Gaza where al Qaeda and other terrorists are already establishing themselves. Gaza is a terror threat, and the West Bank could well become even more of one than it is now. This is the reality democratic leaders should face, rather than wishing what is happening were not.
Tom Rose was Publisher and CEO of the Jerusalem Post from 1998 to 2005 and now lives in Indianapolis.