- His resume includes a University of Texas economics Ph.D.,
a teaching position at Jordan's Yarmouk University, and economic research
at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. From 1987 - 1995, he also served
as a World Bank and IMF official, and until 2001, was IMF's man in Palestine,
serving as Yasser Arafat's finance minister.
- In Palestine's 2006 legislative elections, his Third
Way party got 2.4% of the votes, a clear renunciation. Yet after Fatah's
coup d'etat co-opted the PLO, PA and West Bank, President Mahmoud Abbas
illegitimately appointed him prime minister.
- The New York Times calls him "a political independent
who gained the confidence of the West and is largely respected in Israel."
In fact, he's a political opportunist, Israel's man in Palestine. Also
Washington's. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Nathan J.
Brown calls him "indispensable to US diplomacy....confusing a useful
individual with sound policy." He's mainly improved security, providing
enforcer services for Israel against his own people.
- Moreover, there's "no separation of powers; instead
there is an increasing concentration of authority in the executive branch.
There is no legislative branch. Court orders have been ignored; judges
have bowed out of sensitive political issues; and the independence of the
judiciary is hardly guaranteed. The fact remains, of course, that....security
is synonymous with the attempt to suppress Hamas" and other opposition
- Senior officials, including Abbas and Fayyad, have neglected
or unilaterally decreed other measures. As CEO, Fayyad has maintained
earlier institutions and made a few of them more efficient. "But he
has done so in an authoritarian context that robs the results of domestic
legitimacy." As appointed prime minister, of course, he has no legitimacy
beyond Israeli and Washington power backing him.
- Writer Nathan Thrall says he's "criticized at home
for many of the same reasons he is lauded abroad." He condemns violence
against Israel, ignores Palestinian persecution, is instrumental in furthering
it, and says diaspora Palestinians can resettle in a future Palestinian
state, not Israel or their settlements, exceeding 40% of the West Bank
and East Jerusalem.
- Backing him is a 25,000-strong security force, trained,
equipped, vetted and perhaps run by America's Lt. General Keith Dayton,
US security coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the PA. Under his command,
thousands of Palestinians complete 19 weeks of training at Jordan's International
Police Training Center, built with US funds in 2003 to instruct Iraqi police.
- Throughout the West Bank, Dayton's in charge of building
and renovating garrisons, training colleges, Interior Ministry facilities,
and security headquarters. In recent years, Washington has spent around
$400 million to institutionalize hard-line control, supplementing Israel's
- Fayyad is titular CEO under Abbas. According to Michael
Oren, Israel's US ambassador, "....expanding what Dayton is doing
in the security realm to other sectors of Palestinian governance and society
is really the only viable model for progress." "Progress,"
of course, is repressive military occupation, no opposition allowed.
- Evaluating PA Authority under Abbas and Fayyad
- In a December 20 article, titled "The Palestinian
Authority and the Problem of Reform under the Occupation," Dr. Moshen
Mohammed Saleh asked if it's possible. "Or is (it) simply a matter
of 'dancing to the Occupation's tune?"
- Indeed the latter after Arafat's Oslo Accords abdication.
He ignored core issues, including Palestinian sovereignty, fixed borders,
settlement expansions, the right of return, ending Israel's occupation,
and establishing a unified government for all Palestinians.
- "In short," said Saleh, "the way (the
PA) was established looked more like a 'trap' than a solution or a way
out; and the route it took was more akin to wandering aimlessly in a 'labyrinth'
than walking naturally and logically towards independence....The current
situation (resembles a prison under an) assigned warden" empowered
to enforce repression for disobedience.
- The PA/PLO-led Fatah "found itself alone facing
widespread opposition from nearly 10 Palestinian factions," notably
Hamas. "As a result, the institutions of the Authority were mainly
staffed by" Fatah members or supporters, including "shameless
opportunists and exploiters" like Abbas and Fayyad. As CEO, Fayyad
represents Israel and the West, "demand(ing) full concessions from
Palestinians" with nothing committed in return.
- "Moreover (his) government paid heavy political
prices (for) committ(ing) itself (to) cracking down upon Hamas and other
Palestinian resistive factions as well as neutralizing" the legislative
assembly's role. His survival, fact, depends on sustaining divisions and
no unified Palestinian platform.
- On December 28, Saleh again evaluated Fayyad and his
government in an analysis titled "Evaluating Salam Fayyad's government
in Ramallah," saying:
- It's sustained by maintaining Palestinian divisions and
keeping Israeli, Washington, and Arab leadership support. Fatah's leadership
also backs him, yet he's "exploited his position so as to channel
funds to his government and thereby consolidate his political base."
- At the same time, he and Abbas renounced armed resistance,
instead adopting "reconciliation with Israel as (their) project."
On June 17, 2007, his new government included himself as prime minister,
11 ministers, two independent politicians and another technocrat besides
himself, a trained economist. All opposition ministers were excluded.
- Then on July 13, 2007, Abbas raised the ministerial total
to 16, including Fayyad. On January 22, 2009, Fayyad created a new government
under Abbas. By May, it had 24 ministers, mostly technocrats. Opposition
factions, excluding Hamas, were represented by one minister each. The Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) refused to participate. The
entire process lacked legitimacy. Abbas bypassed legalities "by legislating
by decree," letting "Fayyad's government....operate (by) presidential
- In fact, "this government, which is supposed to
represent the will of the people, vigorously opposed the political party
(Hamas) which democratically represents the will of the majority, (and
has) legally been entrusted with the mandate to represent them."
- For his part, Fayyad's management style has been devisive.
He's excluded many Fatah members from civil service and security force
positions, coerced some into retirement, and appointed others "ideologically
close to him" to key posts. Moreover, he's monopolized financial resources
for his own purposes, and remains subservient to Israel and Washington
against the interests of his own people.
- Opposition Fatah members face exclusion. As a result,
some, like Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdel Qader, resigned "with
criticism of the government for its failings." In virtually all respects,
Israel has control, including over economic issues, unjustly restricting
Palestinian imports and exports, as well as imposing "restrictions
and impediments on the free movement of people and goods."
- Absent Abbas/Fayyad opposition, Israel also expropriates
Palestinian land, expands settlements, extends its Judaization agenda,
consumes most West Bank resources, especially water, and maintains hard-line
control together with Dayton-trained forces.
- As a result, from June through August 2007 alone, West
Bank Hamas members were subjected to 1,007 attacks, both by security forces
and Fatah members. They "included 639 arrests and kidnappings, thirty-six
(shooting) incidents....and 175 assaults on institutions and organizations,
including centers of Qur'anic learning, charitable organizations, media
institutes, press offices," nursery and other schools. In addition,
156 raids targeted private properties belonging to Hamas and supporters.
- Thereafter, thousands more Hamas members and facilities
were targeted. Hundreds of arrests were made, and numerous demonstrations
and protests against occupation, Gaza's siege, and Israel's Separation
Wall were attacked. Fayyad dutifully enforces Israel's no opposition policy.
Israeli forces, of course, do much of it themselves.
- A Final Comment
- As prime minister, Fayyad's future depends on satisfying
two masters, Israel and Washington, their divide and conquer agenda, solidifying
occupation, continuing settlement expansions, entirely Judaizing Jerusalem,
dominating the West Bank's economy, and containing all opposition factions.
- A Palestinian future, however, depends on ending Israel's
occupation, achieving unity, fulfilling real sovereignty under a government
serving them, and an integrated Palestine or one nation serving all its
citizens equitably, fairly and democratically. That vision, however, remains
nowhere in sight, Fayyad and Abbas in charge to keep it that way.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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