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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Fayyad’

Ten Points the U.S. Must Consider in Dealing with the Palestinians

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

It is hard to find one Palestinian who believes that U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the region will lead to a breakthrough in the Middle East “peace process.”

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said they too are not pinning any hopes on Obama’s visit. “The situation is much more complicated than Obama thinks,” remarked a top P.A. official in a briefing ahead of the U.S. president’s visit. “We do not believe we will see any changes on the ground.”

But as Obama visits the region, he would do well to take the following facts into consideration:

1. Any agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be rejected by a large number of Palestinians, especially Palestinian refugees who continue to insist on the “right of return” to their former villages inside Israel.

2. A majority of Arabs and Muslims would also reject a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, especially in wake of the “Arab Spring,” which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries. It is hard to see how the ruling Muslim Brotherhood organization in Egypt, for example, would welcome any peace agreement with the “Zionist entity.”

3. Even if a Palestinian state were established in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], Hamas and other groups would work to take control of it and, with the help of Iran and Al-Qaeda, turn it into a launching pad for attacking Israel and other neighbors. The Palestinian Authority is in power there thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Force. Ironically, ending Israeli “occupation” would also bring an end to Abbas’s rule.

4. Most Palestinians do not see the U.S. as an honest broker. Any agreement reached under the auspices of the U.S. Administration would be received with utmost suspicion. Already, many Palestinian activists are waging a campaign on Facebook and Twitter to “prevent Obama from desecrating the land of Palestine.” The activists have called for “huge demonstrations” to protest against Obama’s visit; they are even preparing shoes to throw at his motorcade.

5. With the exception of Fatah, all Palestinian organizations — primarily Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine — would automatically reject any peace agreement with Israel for various reasons. Some of these groups want to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth, while others believe that Israel would never accept all their demands, such as a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.

6. The Palestinians are divided into two camps not only geographically, but also ideologically. The first is a radical camp that does not want to deliver on any front: it believes that Israel has no right to exist. The second is the less-radical camp, or the “moderates.” This second camp is also not able to deliver: it does not have enough control over the Palestinian territories, let alone a mandate from the Palestinians.

7. Abbas is opposed to the idea of reaching an interim agreement with Israel that would lead to the establishment of a temporary Palestinian state on the parts of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] that are controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

8. Even the Palestinian Authority appears to be divided into two camps, one headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the second led by Abbas. Tensions between the two have been mounting in wake of the resignation of Palestinian Finance Minister Nabil Qassis. While Abbas has rejected the resignation, Fayyad has accepted it, triggering a crisis with the Palestinian Authority president.

9. Many Palestinians, including Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership, are opposed to the resumption of peace talks unless Israel releases a significant number of Palestinian prisoners, halts all construction in settlements, as well as east Jerusalem, and accepts the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.

10. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not have a mandate from his people to reach any agreement with Israel: his term in office expired in January 2009.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Uprooting that which Was Planted

Monday, February 11th, 2013

An ancient road crosses the length of the Land of Israel , running from South to North. It starts at Be’er Sheva in the northern Negev, climbs up to the Hebron Hills and continues north, via Halhul and Bethlehem, to Jerusalem. The road continues to Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin, and reaches its end in the vicinity of Afula. The “Cross Israel Highway” of those days served Second Temple era pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem from Be’er Sheva and Hebron and is also known as “The Patriarchs’ Route,” named after the forefathers of the nation who traveled it.

Silent witnesses stand by the sides of the segment that passes through Gush Etzion, reminders of the bustling life in this area, over 2000 years ago.

Among these are two ritual baths, mikvahs, which were used by pilgrims on their way to the Temple, that were filled with water as in ancient times, following the heavy rains recently. Another example is the Roman milestone that lies to the side of the path, the kind of stone the Romans used to deploy along the roads in order to mark the distance from the destination.

“The Patriarchs’ Route” in Gush Etzion also passes through an area known as Netzer, located between the Elazar and Alon Shvut communities. The Netzer area is built on terraces that assemble a spectacularly beautiful, green mosaic; green grapes twining alongside old olive trees in plots of varying shapes and sizes, and in the pre-Spring season the Νetzer space looks like a Claude Monet masterpiece: the green background is spotted with the pink and white of the almond trees at the peak of their bloom. But this pastoral bubble bursts the moment we ‘zoom-in’ on the photo, then we discover a real battle for this land and the future of the country, with the innocent plants often standing in as soldiers on the frontline.

Takeover wars

The Oslo Accords divided the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Strip areas into three types of area: Area  ‘A,’ where the major Palestinian cities are located, under full Palestinian Authority civilian and security control; Area ‘B,’ under P.A. civilian control and Israeli security control; and Area ‘C,’ under full Israeli civilian and security control.

A strategic change occurred in the P.A.’s attitude towards this division in 2010: Salam Fayyad’s government decided to ignore it and focus its efforts on Area ‘C.’ The logic behind this move is clear – Areas ‘A’ and ‘B’  are already “in their pockets,” and Area ‘C’  territories are known to be of significant value. Not only do they present 60% of Judea and Samaria, they also serve as buffers between the Palestinian population concentrations. Palestinian presence in ‘C’ Territories could advance an Arab territorial continuity and drive a wedge between the Jewish community blocs.

Fayyad began making statements in the spirit of the new plan, saying that he “does not know how to read the letter ‘C,’” and that all of Judea and Samaria belong to the Palestinian State. Fayyad declared that “the greatest challenge against the occupation and the settlements is to increase the investment and agriculture on the land of area ‘C.’”

The P.A. Prime Minister does not just talk the talk: the Palestinians began diverting economic support to agricultural endeavors in area ‘C’ Territories, and their representatives pressured foreign countries and organizations, who were initially reluctant to support projects in the ‘C’ Territories, into aligning themselves with the new policy. The story of the new strategy from the Salam Fayyad “school of thought” was investigated by Makor Rishon’s Legal Magazine, B’Tze’dek and explained at great length in the past in by Gil Bringer in Makor Rishon (in an article from 13/3/2012).

The ongoing battle for the lands of Netzer, Gush Etzion, is the entire story in miniature. The choice of the location is no less than perfect for the realization of Fayyad’s vision: the land is in ‘C’ Territories, in the very center of Gush Etzion, in the buffer zone between the Elazar and Alon Shvut communities. An Arab takeover of the land will “suffocate” the nearby Jewish communities and prevent them from future growth and expansion. More importantly, it will disrupt the Jewish territorial continuity in Gush Etzion – which is known as “the heart of the consensus,” regarding the land which Israel will retain in any future agreement. The foreign funding for the Arabs’ efforts in Netzer is known, and is even recorded by a sign placed in one of the plots, depicting the “redemption” of 123 acres, courtesy of Holland.

Behind Salam Fayyad’s Call for ‘Economic Intifada’

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, this week called for an economic Intifada against Israel.

See related Cartoon

Fayyad, whose government is facing a severe financial crisis, wants Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods in response to Israel’s decision to seize tax revenues belonging to the Palestinian Authority.

The revenues were seized and transferred to the Israel Electric Company to cover Palestinians’ debts to the firm.

Fayyad is angry because the Israel Electric Company finally collected its debts from Palestinian consumers. Speaking to Palestinian reporters in Ramallah, he denounced the transfer of the funds to the company as “illegal and immoral.”

Fayyad knows better than anyone else that, for various reasons, many Palestinians have not been paying their electricity bills.

Many Palestinians refuse to pay water, electricity and other bills because they believe the international community, primarily the Americans and Europeans, should be covering all their expenses. Others refuse to pay because they believe the money eventually falls into the hands of corrupt Palestinian Authority officials.

Earlier this year, the Palestinian Authority announced a series of measures to persuade Palestinian consumers to pay their electricity bills, but to no avail. The Palestinian Authority even announced a new law that allows it to imprison any Palestinian who is caught practicing the widespread phenomenon of “electricity theft.”

Because of the financial crisis, Fayyad’s government has also failed to pay full salaries to its employees, sparking a two-day general strike of the public sector in the West Bank.

The transfer of funds to the Israel Electric Company, and the Arab world’s failure to fulfill promises to support the Palestinian Authority financially, have created a severe financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority.

This is not the first time that Arab countries lie to Palestinians. Over the past two decades, Arab nations have promised the Palestinians billions of dollars in aid. But, according to officials in Ramallah, the Palestinians have received less than 10% of what they had been promised.

Instead of seeking ways to solve the crisis, however, Fayyad chose to call on Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods. How does that help solve the financial crisis? Fayyad did not have an answer. He just wants to punish Israel for collecting on the debt for the electricity bills.

He is hoping that by calling for an economic intifada, he will succeed in diverting growing anger and frustration on the Palestinian street towards the Israelis. This has always been the Palestinian Authority’s way of avoiding responsibility for anything that goes wrong — by putting all the blame on Israel.

Fayyad wants Palestinians to boycott Israel, but at the same time is unable to provide them with better alternatives. Does he really think that Palestinians will stop buying Israeli-manufactured medicine, for example?

As one Palestinian public servant asked, “How can our prime minister ask us to boycott Israeli goods when we can’t even afford to purchase Palestinian goods because he’s not paying us our salaries?”

Added another Palestinian who has been working as a school teacher for 25 years: “If Fayyad wants us to boycott Israel, why doesn’t he himself set an example? Why is he living in Jerusalem, under Israeli rule, and enjoying, together with his family, most privileges offered to Israeli citizens? Today, I’m ready to go and work in an Israeli settlement to feed my children and I don’t care whether Fayyad likes it or not.”

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

PLO Sources: Fayyad Not Resigning, Proposing New Government

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has not offered his resignation, but has presented instead a plan to the PLO leadership to form a more inclusive factional government, two PLO executive committee members in Ramallah told Ma’an Wednesday.

Ahmad Majdalani told Ma’an that Fayyad suggested forming a government including officials from every faction so as to evenly distribute responsibility before President Mahmoud Abbas returns to the UN in November.

Majdalani said the proposal was not met with applause during the most recent meeting.

Wasel Abu Yousef, another member of the executive committee, said Fayyad did not intend to resign, but “during the last meeting a few days ago there was discussion about forming a government of factions,” which would bring in more of the opposition.

Abu Yousef quoted Fayyad as saying that the Palestinian Authority is under pressure from a financial crisis that required a government of all factions.

Raya press reported Wednesday that Fayyad would discuss his resignation with Abbas soon. The president’s office denied that report.

Fayyad, who was replaced as finance minister in a government reshuffle in May, has indicated he would be willing to step down as premier if the electorate insisted.

Protests in September largely blamed Fayyad, a former economist, for a financial crisis resulting in part from the failure of foreign donor countries to meet pledges on time.

Behind the Palestinian Protests: A Renewed Fatah Bid to Remove PM Fayyad

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

It is no secret that Fatah has long been trying to get rid of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad who, its representatives argue, had been imposed on the Palestinians by the Americans and Europeans.

Abbas and Fatah have been trying for years to replace Fayyad with one of their own so that they could regain control over the Palestinian Authority’s finances.

The US and most Western donors have repeatedly made it clear to Abbas that removing Fayyad from his post would prompt them to reconsider financial aid to the Palestinians.

Fatah leaders in the West Bank were hoping that the street protests would force Fayyad to resign. But the prime minister’s refusal to succumb to the immense pressure (and threats) has left most of these leaders deeply disappointed.

For Fatah, the public outcry over the high cost of living provided a good opportunity to resume its efforts to remove Fayyad.

As soon as protesters took to the streets in a number of West Bank cities last week to demand the resignation of Fayyad, Abbas, who was in Cairo, declared that the “Palestinian Spring” had begun and that he supported the “just demands” of the demonstrators.

Abbas’s comment was seen as a green light to the protesters to take to the streets and demonstrate against Fayyad.

For several days, Palestinian Authority security forces had been instructed not to prevent the protesters from burning posters and effigies of Fayyad. The security forces also did not interfere as long as the protesters chanted slogans denouncing only Fayyad as an American and Israeli agent.

Some Palestinians believe that the protests actually served the interests of Abbas and Fatah, who have been widely accused of standing behind — or at least encouraging — the demonstrations calling for the ouster of Fayyad.

Palestinians noticed that in many cities, Fatah activists were organizing and leading the anti-Fayyad protests.

The unprecedented attacks on Fayyad stood in sharp contrast to the way the Palestinian Authority leadership had reacted in the past to criticism of Abbas.

Several Palestinian journalists and bloggers have been arrested since the beginning of the year by Palestinian security forces for publicly criticizing Abbas.

Abbas clearly had no problem as long as Palestinians were chanting slogans against Fayyad and hurling shoes at the prime minister’s posters in city centers.

But as soon as some of the protesters began directing their criticism also against Abbas and demanding an end to the Oslo Accords, Palestinian Authority officials warned that “outside elements” had infiltrated the ranks of the protesters in order to serve “foreign agendas.”

The “outside elements,” the officials claimed, were linked to Israel, Hamas, Iran and all the enemies of the Palestinians.

Abbas, who did not meet once with Fayyad during the crisis, was hoping that the demonstrations would send a message to the Americans and Europeans that the time has come to replace the prime minister. Instead of working with Fayyad to tackle the crisis, Abbas and his top aides preferred to spend the week in India.

However, when Fayyad announced a series of austerity measures to alleviate the economic hardships, Abbas’s office rushed to announce that Fayyad did so “on the instructions of the Palestinian president” — himself. Abbas was now trying to take credit for complying with the demands of the street.

Abbas and Fatah were also hoping that the protests would achieve other goals.

First, they were hoping that the scenes of anarchy and lawlessness on Palestinian streets would put pressure on many Arab countries to resume financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. Some Gulf countries are reported to have cut off aid to Abbas’s authority because they feel that he is not serious about combating corruption and implementing major reforms.

Second, Abbas and Fatah were hoping that the protests would persuade the Americans and Europeans to increase financial aid to the Palestinians.

Third, Abbas was hoping that the demonstrations would prompt the Americans and Europeans to intensify pressure on Israel to accept his preconditions for resuming the peace process: a full cessation of settlement construction and recognition of the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.

Fourth, Abbas and his advisors were hoping that the protests would put the Palestinian issue back at the top of the international community’s agenda, especially at a time when the Iranian threat appears to have stolen the limelight.

Let Abbas Bail Out the Palestinian Authority

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

As the Jewish Press reported last week, Israel has advanced the Palestinian Authority NIS 250 million (approximately $62.5 million) to deal with their budget crisis which has led to protests against Western darling Salam Fayyad (the so-called Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority).

This despite the fact that the the Palestinian Authority owes the Israel Electric Company some NIS 700 million.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also reeling from the protests, is allegedly worth $100 million.  That figure according to a former Arafat aide, Muhammed Rachid. Other sources also implicate Abbas as well as his sons in various corruption schemes which have and are making them rich.

Here’s one example from a report from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies given to Congress:

Yasser, the elder son, owns Falcon Tobacco, which reportedly enjoys a monopoly on several tobacco products in the Palestinian territories. According to the Toronto Star, Yasser also chairs Falcon Holding Group, a Palestinian corporate conglomerate that owns Falcon Electrical Mechanical Contracting Company (also called Falcon Electro Mechanical Contracting Company, or FEMC), an engineering interest that was established in 2000 and boasts offices in Gaza, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the West Bank. This business success has come with a helping hand from Washington. According to a Reuters report, in 2005, Yasser Abbas’ company received $1.89 million from USAID to build a sewage system in the West Bank town of Hebron.

So why not let Abbas save his own skin, instead of having Israel repeatedly bail the Palestinian Authority out?

Netanyahu Releases 250 Million Shekel Advance to PA

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

After consulting with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released on Tuesday a 250 million shekel advance to the Palestinian Authority, due to concerns that public Arab protests against the PA may lead to anarchy in Judea and Samaria.

The money will be used to shore PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s government, and will be funneled into the various departments by PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Reports indicate that the PA is still in arrears of payment to the Israel Electric Company by 700 million shekels.

The majority of aid to the Palestinian Authority comes from the United States and European Union. Only 22 percent of the PA’s funding came from Arab donors in 2010.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/netanyahu-releases-250-million-shekel-advance-to-pa/2012/09/12/

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