Salam Fayyad: Israel's Man in Palestine - by Stephen Lendman
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 groups.
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 own efforts.
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.