Salam Fayyad, a former Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister with excellent ties to the United States, is expected to return to the PA’s premiership in the near future, sources in Ramallah said.
The sources also said that the current prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, will receive the leadership of the PLO’s political negotiating department, which until recently was led by Saeb Erekat, who died of the Coronavirus last month.
Ramallah has recently been discussing this possibility in light of the fact that Fayyad has very good ties in the US. PA head Mahmoud Abbas’ office is inclined to entrust him with the “US portfolio” and believes that Fayyad could take advantage of his good relations to forge a positive relationship with the new administration headed by Joe Biden.
A source in Ramallah notes that Fayyad is expected to demand full control of the PA budget and security apparatus.
The expected appointment will come as part of the division of the three positions that Erekat held, including the head of the negotiating department at the PLO, the secretary-general of the executive committee, and a member of the Fatah Central Conference.
Fayyad’s tenure as prime minister from 2007-2013 is considered the most successful by many in the PA.
In 2009, Fayyad published his plan to establish Palestinian state infrastructure, entitled “Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State,” which dealt with building the infrastructure and institutions of the “state underway,” including government ministries, a stock exchange, airports, separation of powers, a free economy and more.
The other aspect of the plan is to disrupt Israeli territorial contiguity take over as much of Area C as possible, isolate Israeli settlement and establish Jerusalem as the Palestinian state’s capital.
In Ramallah, it is said that it is not inconceivable that the Fayyad program to take over Judea and Samaria will return in full force and take center stage on the Palestinian Authority agenda.
Fayyad holds a bachelor’s degree in science from the American University of Beirut and in 1980 graduated with a master’s degree in economics from St. Edward’s University of Texas and taught at academic institutions in Jordan and Texas.
In the years 1987-1995, he worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and was later appointed as the representative of the IMF in the PA and then as the Regional Director of the Arab Bank.
In 2001, he was appointed to his first term as finance minister in the PA and replaced Muhammad Rashid, the PLO and Yasser Arafat’s treasurer.
On June 15, 2007, following Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip and the collapse of the unity government, Abbas appointed Fayyad as emergency prime minister.
In April 2013, Fayyad submitted his resignation and in June ended his term as prime minister.
Fayyad is considered pro-Western, and in the past demanded that Hamas recognize Israel. After retiring as finance minister, Fayyad founded the Third Way movement in the 2006 elections alongside Hanan Ashrawi, who announced her retirement from the PLO just days ago.