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Posts Tagged ‘Salam Fayyad’

Palestinian Authority’s New Prime Minister Refuses IDF Protection

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Palestinian Authority’s New Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has refused Israeli protection and insists he will travel as he pleases in “Area C,” which supposedly is under full Israeli control.

Hamdallah, who is replacing Salam Fayyad, created diplomatic crisis by his refusal to allow Israeli protection, according to the Gulf News website.

“We do not know how to provide the Palestinian premier with protection against the ‘price tag’ attacks and we are not sure about the way the Israeli colonists would act if the premier’s car was spotted,” a senior security officer was reported as saying. The quote obviously was altered by Gulf News because although Jews in Judea and Samaria frequently are called “settlers,” virtually no one calls them “colonists.”

Palestinian Authority Finds Perfect Prime Minister

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas has appointed a new prime minister. He is Rami Hamdullah.

Who?

It is useful to remember that the post of PA prime minister was originally forced on PLO, PA, and Fatah leader Yasir Arafat ten years ago in the hope of getting the PA to be more moderate and more competent as an economic and administrative entity. It has not worked too well.

But once you think about it, Hamdullah is the perfect PA prime minister. His predecessor was Salam Fayyad. Fayyad, named six years ago, was a serious economist who actually tried to curb the ruling Fatah party’s corruption. The Western donors liked Fayyad and kept him in office for years against the will of the Fatah bosses, who periodically tried to get rid of him. They feared that if they forced out Fayyad, the money would be cut off. At any rate, they blocked all of Fayyad’s reform measures and he never played any significant role in negotiations with Israel.

The Fatah bosses run the PA’s broad policy. Of the 18 members elected in 2009 they are mainly hardliners, either radicals or old Arafat loyalists. After the election, a moderate, Ahmad Qurei (better known as Abu Ala), who missed out on election by two votes said, albeit with exaggeration, that the Fatah elections were more dishonest than the recent ones in Iran.

But even he, perhaps the most moderate individual in the higher ranks of the organization, showed the culture of Fatah by accusing Israel of fixing the election and those who won as being Israeli agents! So the arguably most moderate leading figure claimed that Israel conspired to control the election by picking hardliners. This tells you part of the problem

The victory of people like Jibril Rajoub, Muhammad Dahlan, and Tawik Tirawi—all security force commanders—showed, he claimed that “someone wants to see rubber stamps” in Fatah’s leadership. He implied that these people were too soft on Israel and were actually willing to make concessions as part of a comprehensive peace agreement. Of course, such a comprehensive agreement has not appeared in the last four years and is nowhere in sight.

No need to wonder why this conflict continues when you look at thinking and behavior like this.
At the same time, Gaza Strip leaders of Fatah have resigned. Even aside from vote-fixing they do have a case. After all, since Hamas prevented many from attending the meeting they couldn’t vote for candidates from Gaza.

And there is still more. Who beat Abu Ala for the position on the Fatah Central Committee? Tayyib Abd al-Rahman. He was for many years the head of Arafat’s personal public relations’ operation.  I remember him well from the 1980s running Arafat’s press conferences. So much for new leadership.

Now, however, it is a sign of the contempt that the Fatah bosses feel toward President Barack Obama, as someone too powerless or unwilling to pressure them. In fact, it is a sign of their low respect that the replacement of Fayyad comes only a few days after Secretary of State John Kerry offered them a fund of $4 billion of the PA went back to negotiations with Israel. The PA refused.

According to the theory that the PA really wants a two-state diplomatic solution with Israel, this makes no sense. Doesn’t it want to compromise to end “oppression” and ”occupation” as soon as possible? No, unfortunately they would rather wait decades in hopes of wiping Israel off the map, or leaving the issue open for the next generation, or fear that compromise would mean their being called traitors and pushed out by their Islamist rival, Hamas.

Hamdullah is sort of the perfect compromise. He is a nobody, a technocrat, lacking all political experience so he won’t try to challenge the party bosses and cannot do so. Hamdullah will do what he is told.

But also Hamdullah, dean at al-Najah University, is a Fatah party member (plus 1), is British-educated (plus 2), and an English professor (plus 3). In other words, he knows how to deal with the West and will hopefully keep the money rolling in but cannot do anything and won’t try.

Hamdullah cannot negotiate even if he wanted to do so. He will ignore Western encouragements to return to the bargaining table but will keep accepting the checks and provide the PA with a moderate face that will gain public relations’ points with his British-accented English.

Long forgotten was the late Bush and early Obama Administration strategy. The idea was that with the PA’s cooperation, the West Bank would be turned into a relatively successful entity while heavy pressure would be put on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians would allegedly see the difference, support the PA and not Hamas, a wave of moderation would start, and a compromise peace result with Israel.
Today, however, Hamas survives, is entrenching itself, and now has–despite serious frictions between them–a patron in the advancing Muslim Brotherhood movement. The PA is still a mess, with aid having a bigger chance of ending up in the PA leaders’ Swiss bank accounts than in building a stable economy.

Meanwhile, we will all wait for a year or two or three to see who Abbas’s successor will be. Abbas has long passed the end of his elected term without anyone in the West pointing out that his government is no longer legitimate. His desire to become partners again with terrorist Hamas gets a pass as does the fact that the PA has now rejected the Oslo Accords of 1993 with Israel on which its own existence is based.

Yet corrupt, incompetent, and hardline as it is the PA serves a purpose. It preserves the fiction that the “peace process” is still alive and keeps Hamas out of power.

Of course, on the positive side, it also keeps Hamas from overthrowing the PA–which means the West Bank, since Hamas already controls the Gaza Strip–out of the hands of the revolutionary Islamists who would use it to launch an immediate war on Israel backed by the other Muslim Brotherhood regimes.

That in itself is worthwhile given the fact that there is zero alternative of a moderate Palestinian leadership that would make peace with Israel.  Of course, the PA has no interest in doing what is necessary to actually obtain a Palestinian state.

Abbas Replaces American-Backed Fayyad with Fatah Ally

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas finished off his latest swipe at the United States Sunday by appointing a professor, who is a member of his Fatah party, to replace PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as prime minister of the PA.

Fayyad, trained in the United States as en economist, was hand-picked by the Bush administration to head Abbas’s government. Fayyad was widely considered as a success in trying to establish some form of normalcy in the corrupt and debt-ridden Palestinian Authority, but his independence and success were too much for Abbas, and Fayyad quit earlier this year.

His replacement, Prof Rami Hamdallah, suits Abbas just right. Hamdallah is not widely known and, unlike Fayyad who was a political outsider, is a loyal member of Abbas’ Fatah movement,

Hamdallah was educated in Britain and has headed the al-Najah University for the past 15 years.

The appointment rattled Hamas, which said that Abbas has no legal right to be in office let alone appoint a prime minister.

Abbas’ term of office ran bout four years ago after he was elected in the first and only presidential elections,  following the death of Yasser Arafat

Salam Fayyad and the ‘Major Blow’ to Peace

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

How can Salam Fayyad’s resignation as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority be considered a setback for the peace process when he had never been involved in the negotiations with Israel in the first place?

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas never consulted with Fayyad about the peace process with Israel. Over the past five years, the two men hardly even spoken to one other.

After Fayyad’s resignation last Saturday, many Western journalists and political analysts rushed to describe the move as a “major blow to the Middle East peace process and U.S. efforts to revive the stalled peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.”

One headline was: “Salam Fayyad Resigns: Peace Process On Hold.”

A BBC correspondent described Fayyad’s resignation as a “major blow for U.S. efforts to restart the long-stalled peace process with Israel.”

Another British journalist, commenting on the resignation, said: “Mr. Fayyad’s departure is a big blow to the peace process, which ha[d] been given fresh impetus since last month’s visit to the region of Barack Obama.”

But those who are fearful about the future of the peace process clearly do not know what they are talking about.

As prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Fayyad was never involved in any of the peace talks with Israel.

Fayyad himself once explained that ever since the signing of the Oslo Accords about 20 years ago, it was the PLO, and not the Palestinian Authority, that was conducting peace talks with Israel

Moreover, Fayyad was never involved in the Palestinian leadership’s decision-making process regarding the peace process.

The only people Abbas consulted with were PLO and Fatah loyalists. Decisions regarding the peace talks with Israel were always taken either by Abbas alone or in coordination with members of the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee.

Fayyad never belonged to any of these two Palestinian key-decision-making bodies.

The overall policies and strategies of the Palestinian Authority were never part of Fayyad’s responsibility.

Important decisions were always taken only by Abbas and a handful of his trusted aides, who never deemed it necessary to consult with their prime minister.

Even when Fayyad opposed Abbas’s bid for Palestinian statehood at the U.N. General Assembly in November 2012, no one in the Palestinian Authority took his stance seriously.

During the past five years, Abbas and his inner circle succeeded in turning Fayyad into a prime minister whose powers were limited only to economic issues; or as some Palestinians used to say, “Fayyad served more as a mayor than as a prime minister.”

Even if Fayyad had stayed in office, there is no reason to believe that the chances of reviving the peace process would have been better.

How could Fayyad have salvaged the peace process when the decisions were made only by Abbas and his top aides?

Was anyone expecting Fayyad openly to challenge Fatah, the PLO and other Palestinians by returning to the negotiating table on his own?

The Americans and Europeans seem to have forgotten that Fayyad represents a political list that won only two seats in the 2006 parliamentary elections.

Although there are some who praise his efforts to build state institutions and a fine economy, they also seem to be turning a blind eye to Fayyad’s lack of grassroots support among Palestinians.

Fayyad’s departure from the scene will have no impact on the peace process because the decision on this issue was never in his hands.

Besides, Fayyad’s credibility has been severely undermined by U.S. and European efforts to keep him in power against the wishes of Abbas, Fatah and many Palestinians.

The claim that Fayyad’s resignation is a major blow to the peace process is not only untrue, it is ridiculous. Such claims are intended to create the impression, totally false, that were it not for Fayyad’s resignation, the peace process would have been salvaged.

The truth is that Abbas was the one who decided to boycott the peace talks until Israel meets his conditions, including a full cessation of settlement construction and recognition of the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.

Abbas has been boycotting not only Israel, but also his prime minister — who finally grew tired of the Palestinian Authority president’s efforts to undermine and discredit him.

US Efforts to Retain PA’s Fayyad May Have Finally Torpedoed Him

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

There have been rumors for years that Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the Western-trained and most Western-oriented member of the PA leadership, was miserable in his position and that he was going to resign.

He finally did.

At least most media outlets are reporting that Fayyad has resigned.  There are some still reporting that the resignation has not gone through, or that it was not yet tendered or some other speculation, but no one doubts that if it has not yet happened, it will happen soon.

What was the final straw?  Fayyad and acting PA leader Mahmoud Abbas often disagree about finance.  Fayyad is considerd, and for good reason, the financial brains in the PA.  He has a PhD in economics from the University of Texas, taught the subject in Jordan, and worked at the International Monetary Fund for almost a decade.  Since becoming PA prime minister in 2007, Fayyad also held the post of finance minister.

But that changed when Abbas pressured Fayyad into appointing Nabil Qassis as PA’s finance minister last year.

And then, last month, after Qassis and Fayyad disagreed over a draft budget, Fayyad accepted the resignation of Qassis. According to many reports, Abbas was furious that Fayyad accepted the resignation, and tried to rescind it.

Although a darling of the West, Fayyad has never gained traction as a favorite of the Arab Palestinians.  He ran for public office in 2006, having created a new political party called the “Third Way,” but his party came in last, winning only 2 seats.  Hamas came in first, winning 74 seats, and the party of Abbas, Fatah, came in second with 45.

And even as Prime Minister, Fayyad has had problems with his constituents.  In September a huge banner of him was pelted with shoes (a huge insult in the Arab world) during a protest of big increases in the prices of consumer goods.

But there are few with whom Fayyad’s popularity is lower than Abbas and other Fatah leaders who yearn to have their hands in the international aid piggy bank, just like their old boss Yassir Arafat did.

But for the West, Fayyad is their “Great Arab Palestinian Hope.”

So now the West, especially the U. S., is leaning on Abbas to entice Fayyad to stay just a little bit longer.  Why?  So that the U.S. has the opportunity to try out its latest peace initiative efforts.  Two months is what they are asking.  Sure, it’s reasonable to think that Secretary of State John Kerry will be able to clinch the deal that more experienced foreign policy experts and snake charmers were unable to accomplish over the course of decades.

Please.

But once again the U.S. and EU leaders have been pressuring Abbas and other Arab leaders to retain Fayyad, who is the only fig leaf of sophistication and corruption-free leadership in the PA.  Those qualities are essentials that foreign aid donors require – or should – before agreeing to send still more cash to a never-filled bank account.

But this time the efforts of the U.S. may have done more harm than good. Arab Israeli journalist Khaled abu Toameh explained that western efforts to pressure Abbas to retain Fayyad have instead worked to further discredit the prime minister in the eyes of many Arab Palestinians.

“Fayyad’s enemies have cited these efforts as ‘proof’ that he is a ‘foreign agent’ who has been imposed on the Palestinian Authority by Americans and Europeans.”

So, whether Fayyad is gone today or next week or next month, it will happen and it appears there is little the west can do to keep him in place.

Given that is the case, perhaps it will give the new U.S. peace professionals pause before they attempt to impose any major changes in an already dangerously unstable region.

Fayyad Hospitalized

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was hospitalized on Monday after being feeling ill at his office in the Finance Ministry, which he temporarily heads, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

Fayyad was rushed to a Ramallah hospital reportedly was in stable condition.

Here Is What Obama Won’t See in Ramallah

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

President Barack Obama’s helicopter touched down in Ramallah Palestinian Authority headquarters shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday, preventing him from seeing the “unwelcome” signs that were posted in the area.

President Obama immediately began discussions with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas after an extremely brief welcoming ceremony.

Signs that Obama did not see, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, were:

– Obama: Stop supporting Israeli war crimes;

– USA-Israel-UK: The triangle of horror;

– USA is a party to the conflict and is not neutral; and

– USA voted for occupation Nov. 29, 2012

Approximately 300 protesters gathered in Ramallah’s downtown square and shouted slogans of incitement and outright calls for attacks on Israel.

Among the shouts were, “We don’t want anything peaceful, only bullets and missiles,” and other called Obama a “devil.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/here-is-what-obama-wont-see-in-ramallah/2013/03/21/

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