The Fayyad Enigma
What is the Palestinian prime minister driving at?
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is back in the news, pledging that the Palestinians remain on the schedule first set over a year ago and will be ready for statehood by August 2011. Fayyad is on the record opposing unilateral statehood, but that doesn’t mean statebuilding isn’t effective leverage when it comes to peace negotiations.
Actually, the public relations might be intended most of all for the United States, if Fayyad’s new Foreign Policy article is any indication. “Building a Palestinian state was never intended to replace the political process, but to reinforce, and benefit, from it,” he insists. And yet: “We want to have lasting peace with Israel. But you can’t get to that point if everything you do is unidirectionally negative; we must create positive facts on the ground, and a sense of real mutual respect must begin to develop.”
On the flip-side, relations between Fatah, which rules in the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules in Gaza, have hardly ever been worse (Fatah officials are now barred from entering Gaza, for instance). And of course there remain the concerns that Fayyad’s state-building is being imposed in an authoritarian, even violent manner.
Anyway, the Associated Press provides the kicker: “His motorcade was led by an Israeli police cruiser, and Israeli settlements and unauthorized hilltop outposts on either side of a main West Bank highway.”
Fayyad Says Palestinians Ready for Statehood by August [JPost]
Why I’m Building Palestine [Foreign Policy]
Earlier: Too Good To Be True?