First, Olmert and Bush need to drop the fantasies

Iran and its client state Syria have a strategic vision for the Middle East: Take over Lebanon, destroy Israel, undermine the U.S. in Iraq, drive the U.S. and NATO from Afghanistan and dominate the region by driving the rest of the Arab world to its jihad-supporting knees.

Then they wish to apply their vision to the rest of the world.

Today, Syria and Iran are ardently advancing their strategic vision for the world through a deliberate strategy of victory by a thousand cuts.

Witness last week’s Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip; Sunday’s reopening of the Lebanese front against Israel with the Syrian-ordered rocket attacks on Kiryat Shemona; the Syrian-ordered, low-intensity warfare against Lebanon’s pro-Western Siniora government; the attack on the al-Askariya mosque in Samarra; the recent intensification of terrorism in Afghanistan and Iran’s move to further destabilize the country by violently deporting 100,000 Afghan refugees back to the war-torn country.

All of these are moves to advance this clear Iranian-Syrian strategy.

And all these moves have taken place against the backdrop of Syria’s refashioning its military in the image of Hezbollah on steroids and Iran’s relentless, unopposed progress in its nuclear weapons program.

The U.S. and Israel also have a strategic vision. Unfortunately, it is grounded in fantasy.

Washington and Jerusalem wish to solve all the problems of the region and the world by establishing a Palestinian state in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

If their Tuesday, June 19 meeting goes according to script, President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will announce their full support for Fatah chief and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ new government. Likely the United States will intensify General Keith Dayton’s training and arming of Fatah forces. Israel will give Fatah $700 million.

The Europeans and the rest of the international community will give the “moderate, secular” terror group still more money and guns and love. The United States will likely also demand that Olmert order the Israel Defense Forces to give Fatah terrorists free reign in Judea and Samaria.

Olmert and Bush claim that by backing Abbas militarily, financially and politically they will be setting up an “alternative Palestine” that will rival Hamas’s jihadist Palestine. As this notion has it, envious Gazans will overthrow Hamas and the course will be set for peace — never mind the ethnic cleansing of Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem of all Jewish presence.

What’s wrong with this picture? For one thing, Fatah

forces barely raised a finger to prevent their defeat in Gaza in spite of the massive quantities of U.S. arms they received and the military training they received. Bush, Olmert and all proponents of the notion of strengthening Fatah in Judea and Samaria refuse to answer one simple question: Why would a handover of Judea and Samaria to Abbas’ Fatah produce a better outcome than Israel’s 2005 handover of Gaza to Abbas’ Fatah?

They refuse because they know there is absolutely no reason to believe the outcome can be better. They know that since replacing Yasser Arafat as head of the Palestinian Authority in 2004, Abbas has refused to take effective action against Hamas.

They also know that the billions of dollars of international and Israeli assistance to Fatah over the past 14 years weren’t used to advance the cause of peace. They know the money was diverted into the pockets of Fatah strongmen to build terror militias Hamas members were invited to serve in. They know Fatah built a terror superstructure in Judea, Samaria and Gaza that enabled operational cooperation between Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror cells.

So why do they embrace the fantasy that things can be different now in Judea and Samaria? Rather than provide rational arguments to defend their view that Hamas’ takeover of Gaza is an opportunity for peace, peace proponents explain vacuously that peace is the best alternative to jihad. They whine that those who point out that Israel now borders Iran in Lebanon and Gaza have nothing positive to say.

To meet the growing threat in Gaza, they argue that Europeans, or maybe Egyptians and Jordanians. can be deployed at the international border with Egypt to stem the weapons and terror personnel flow into Gaza. To meet the growing threat in Lebanon, Olmert pleads for more U.N. troops.

Both views ignore the obvious: Gaza has been transformed into an Iranian-sponsored base for global jihad because Egypt has allowed it to be so. Assisted by its Syrian-sponsored Palestinian allies, Hezbollah has rebuilt its arsenals and reasserted its control in southern Lebanon because U.N. forces in southern Lebanon have done nothing to prevent it from doing so.

No country on earth will volunteer to fight Hamas and its jihadist allies in Gaza. No government on earth will voluntarily deploy its forces to counter Hezbollah and Iran in south Lebanon.

Israel has arguably never faced a more dangerous strategic environment. Yet it is not without good options. It can retake control over the Gaza-Sinai border. It can renew its previously successful tactic of killing Hamas terrorists. It can continue its successful campaign of keeping terrorists down in Judea and Samaria, and it can continue preparing for war in the north. All these options can be sold to the left.

But Bush and Olmert will reject these options in favor of mindless peace process prattle. They will reject reality as they uphold Abbas as a credible leader and shower him with praise, money and arms. Their political fortunes will be foremost in their minds as they do this.

And they will be guaranteeing a war that will claim the lives of an unknown number of Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Bush and Olmert should know that when the time for reckoning comes, they will not be able to claim, along with Peres and Barak, that their hands did not shed this blood. Reality has warned them of their folly.

But in their low, dishonest opportunism, they have chosen to ignore reality and amuse themselves with fantasies and photo-ops.

Caroline Glick is deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post.