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The Deceptively Controversial P.M.

Salam Fayyad tries to build a state

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Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.(Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images)

It was December when Tablet Magazine’s Michael Weiss wondered if Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is “the Palestinian Ben-Gurion.” That meme gained a great deal of steam in February, when none other than Israeli President Shimon Peres—the closest living link to the “Israeli Ben-Gurion” i.e., Ben-Gurion—similarly anointed him thus. But the past several days have shown that if folks in the West, especially on the more left side of the spectrum, are increasingly inclined to see Fayyad in this saintly light, others, especially in the West Bank, may not share this rosy view. And by others, I mean Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior members of Fatah—of which, it’s worth bearing in mind, Fayyad is not himself a member.

Fayyadism is a project of statehood semi-disguised as a product of nation-building. It is about constructing the necessary preconditions of a sovereign country—right down to physical infrastructure, though it’s also about building a culture of independence—so that, two years down the road (Fayyad has specified 2011), the West Bank Palestinians can, if talks fail, even perhaps declare independence. Which would be a pretty big deal indeed.

It sounds inspiring, and many find it so. In yesterday’s International Herald Tribune, columnist Roger Cohen—who may safely be described as a left-wing Zionist—gave Fayyad the full laudatory treatment. “He’s getting things done, improving people’s lives, and Palestinians are tired of going nowhere,” Cohen writes.

To some extent, how can you be against Fayyad? He is literally, concretely, making West Bank Palestinians’ lives better (Israel also gives him high marks for improving security). It’s hard not to agree with the Jerusalem Post’s headline of an AP profile, “A New Style of Politics in the West Bank.”

Then again, if you read Haaretz’s headline of the same article, you’ll learn that “Not All Palestinians Buy Fayyad’s Vision of State by 2011.” And among these is Abbas himself. “We stand by agreements,” he said on TV, opposing the notion of unilateral statehood. More recently, Fatah officials have suggested that Abbas rescind some of Fayyad’s authorities. These officials explicitly accused Fayyad of trying to siphon away some of Fatah’s power.

So there is real dissension in the ranks of the Palestinians’ West Bank leadership. And I haven’t even mentioned Gaza … .

Abbas, Fayyad Clash on Statehood [Arutz Sheva]
‘Take Key Ministries Away From Fayyad’ [JPost]
Fayyad’s Road to Palestine [IHT]
Related: The Pragmatist [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Peres Passes Peace Torch to Fayyad

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Marcia Almey says:

You got a problem with the Palestinians having their own state?

DG says:

No, but I think a lot of us know that it takes guys like Fayyad to make that happen and that he’s not getting support is a concern.

Dorothy Wachsstock says:

Go way back into history and you will find that somehow Shimon Peres always takes away victory and gives defeat to the Israelis.

His secret meetings with Arafat who was withering on the vine, brought him back to life as a partner for Israelis to deal with. Now, again, Peres is there backing a similar Palestinian who plays to the people but he will also not be satisfied until he has all of Israel. Isn’t that why Arafat walked away from the best deal ever given to him with his meetings with Pres.Clinton?

We, Jews cannot win no matter how much we give away especially with this Pres. Obama, friend of our enemys…..He has aleady sent an Amb to Syria. Israel will be lucky if Obama allows the Israelis to pray at the Western Wall.

By now, one would think that the liberal Jews would unite with the conservative Jews in order to survive. That would give Israel more power. Instead we have a Pres. who has helped divide one Jew from another until there will be no Israel even as anti-semitism is growing all over the world again.

Be careful and do not believe any promises that Pres. Obama makes to the P.M. Netanyahu..better to walk away from this Pres. than to allow him to humiliate AGAIN, the head of the Jewish State.

This time, will someone tell P.M. Netanyahu to call a Press meeting and speak out instead of being a wimp and running back to Israel.

He should have said what a former Amb. to Israel, think his name was Gillerman or Gibberman came out to say and he made us Jews proud as he spoke out on Fox News Channel..only channel that tells both sides instead of only pro-Palestinians as Jews who run the stations are against Israel.

They live in this country and it is easy for Jews who are secular to curry to the Palestinians who laughed and danced as the WTC fell down and gave out candy in New Jersey..we saw that on televison when we lived in New York.

Jimmy Carter gave the Palestinians good advice on P.R. and they are now the underdogs while the propaganda about Israel has made our children march against Israel in the streets of Manhattan.

Shame on all of you who do not speak out. Especially, Sen Schumer and all the other Jewish electied officials in Congress who wanted our votes and promised to vote for Jewish Issuues. They did not keep their word and should be thrown out of office next time they come around for your votes.

A letter to the secretary of state is meaningless as Hillary does what the Pres. tells her what to do. A press conference would have made more meaning.

Wait till the next election, democrats and see who will vote for your party that is now a socialist communist party with a Pres. who thinks he is Hugo Chavez.

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The Deceptively Controversial P.M.

Salam Fayyad tries to build a state

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