Question asked of Jerusalem Post columnists: "As Fatah-Hamas tensions reach a boiling point, should Israel be supporting Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah in its conflict with Hamas? If so, in what way?" For all replies, see "Burning Issues #4: Should Israel support Abbas against Hamas?"
As an American, I try to keep my distance from giving Israelis specific advice. But how can one not have an opinion on the question you ask?
I see both Abbas and Hamas as equally deadly enemies of Israel, each boasting its distinct strategy and personnel and both seeking its elimination. This premise prompts me to counsel against helping one side against the other. Israel did not cause this conflict and bears no moral or political responsibility to end it.
Palestinian anarchy now being endemic, and on the brink of civil war, Israel's best course is to stand back and let the Arafat gang wreak damage on the Islamists, and vice-versa.
If the Palestinians focus their tender mercies on each other rather than on Israel, perhaps the happy result will be a sobered Palestinian population, one that decides to devote more attention to building its own polity, economy, society, and culture, and less to destroying its neighbor's. I wouldn't count on that anytime soon, but at last there is a better chance. (October 4, 2006)