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Selling out the Palestinian people and the cause of peace


The Israeli right got a big free boost recently, when Palestinian Prime Minister Salem Fayyad announced his resignation. Fayyad was certainly an existential, not to say potentially lethal, threat to the settlement enterprise and the supporters of the National Union and Yisrael Beitenu parties, as well as Prime Minister designate Benjamin Netanyahu's program of delaying Palestinian Statehood.

Fayyad represented the Palestinians' ultimate weapon against the arguments of Israeli extremists and the "National"(ist) Camp. Their arguments are that Palestinians cannot organize an orderly state, cannot run their lives normally and without violence, cannot develop honest government and that therefore, it is dangerous and pointless to create a Palestinian state. Until the arrival of Salem Fayyad, just about everything that the Fatah and Hamas supported their contention. It is not tactful to raise these issues. The corruption of the Fatah was only less less damaging to the Palestinian cause than the senseless violence of the Second Intifadah. But the Palestinians exploding in discotheques, horrible as they were, were eventually eclipsed by the triumph of rabid Islamist fanaticism in Gaza, in a violent takeover in which Hamas hooligans threw Fatah hooligans off rooftops and sliced them into steaks. The only thing that keeps Palestinians together it seems, is hatred of Israel, and even that did not suffice. The Israeli right had perfect demonstrations of why a Palestinian state seems to be an irresponsible and impossible goal.

But Salem Fayyad threatened to change all that. He is an independent. His political power does not grow out of the barrels of AK-47s, but rather from his record of accomplishment. Everyone agrees that he is honest, competent, principled and peaceful. Naturally therefore, he has to be eliminated, as he is a threat to the Fatah, to the Hamas and to the Israeli right. Honest, principled, moderate and competent pacifists are the most dangerous people in the Middle East. If all of Palestinian politics took on the principles of Salem Fayyad, the Likud and its supporters would have no case. A miserable, terrorist-dominated, violent and corrupt Palestinian nightmare would be replaced by an orderly, prosperous and democratic society. The world could never refuse a state to such a society, and neither could Israel.

Of course, as Fayyad is the best hope for a realistic two state solution, he has won the support and admiration of the Europeans and the Americans, and that of course, could be used against him, and so it was. Fayyad is pictured as a tool of the Americans. The Palestinians complain that America is biased against them, but as soon as any Palestinian leader wins the support of United States government, he is disowned by the Palestinian polity. So how can America ever support the Palestinian cause?

The most telling, pathetic and tragic aspect of Fayyad's resignation is that almost everyone who claims to be concerned for the future of the Palestinians was silent - or working against him. The Arab states and even the United States supported the so called "unity" talks that have pushed Fayyad out, and the supposed peace supporters were all busy yelling "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas." The great hope of the Palestinian people flickered and died and almost nobody complained about the darkness or protested.

There is still hope. As Ghassan Khatib points out, the Palestinian unity drive that pushed Fayyad out may fail, and in that case Fayyad would probably return to lead the West Bank government. In failure there is hope.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000752.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 5 comments

"The only thing that keeps Palestinians together it seems, is hatred of Israel, and even that did not suffice. The Israeli right had perfect demonstrations of why a Palestinian state seems to be an irresponsible and impossible goal."

What an outwardly racist generalisation, I'm getting a distinct feeling that this is a 'quasi-Mid east' forum and is in fact a cover for pro-Israeli propaganda couched as 'independent journalism'.

Posted by nazidk @ 03/20/2009 01:43 AM CST

Nazidk, how do you think Yassar Arafat maintained power for so many years while rejecting any compromises in negotiations, and funneling hundreds of millions in aid into personal accounts while keeping his own people living in misery? What was his message to the populace for why it was reasonable to accept this? What is Bashar's declared reason for continuing to forbid elections in Syria? Do the words state-of-war-emergency mean anything to you? Ever heard of blaming the foreigner? Read much history?

Racism involves attributing qualities of a group of people to their race, i.e. genetics. I don't think many would confuse saying Palestinian in a context pertaining to actions of political units with baging on those-descended-from-dirty-pickwhereyoudlike apes (which interestingly enough is a position regarding Jews held as true by the people your posts tend to support... I'm just waiting for your next apology for your supported as why this could be totally understandable from there perspective and somehow OK, while in the same breath ripping into the "other side" for any semblance of a similar position)

Generalizations can be valuable, if they express a phenomena that is both widespread and robust. In systems theory we call it group renormalization; maybe it would be simpler for you if I just used the word "Duh".

While you seem to feel like straying into content-less accusatory territory, for the moment I have to refrain from devoting a major portion of my post to it. (other than the quips I've enjoyed so far)

If you disagree with something this guy says (yeah I think that quote could have been more precisely and usefully formulated too), then either provide a coherent criticism, or don't post.

Posted by AdamA @ 03/23/2009 04:47 AM CST

Iran and AL qaida plus the pakistan internal security services are the problem now and in the future for all the people in the contested area. In fifty years the danger of radiological mush with or without mass human death is seeming substantially possible , Mass exit plans for arab and jew are looming .

Posted by izaak @ 04/15/2009 04:37 PM CST

I don't believe either side would seriously consider using atomic or nuclear weapons because both sides regard the land as sacred. To use any weapon that would damage the land with radiation or leave it radioactive would be blasphemy for either side; tantamount to a vile, abhorrent, abomination of religious dogma.

However, if Israel were to use atomic weapons against another country, say for instance Syria or Iran, then all bets are off.


Posted by Kiev500 @ 04/18/2009 08:20 AM CST

I totally agree with the opinion of the article.

Maybe Israel should try another way to found a stabile situation in Palestine by removing the extremists' allies. For example I don't think it would be too hard to find terms of peace with Syria, given good will is shown. Turkey, the EU and the USA could help. Baschars "coalition" with Iran is unnatural in many ways.

Without help from Syria the Hamas would maybe calm a little.

The EU should stop paying to the PLO until there is no reasonable audit established there. The European Anti-Fraud Office should investigate the corrupt money flows.

And Isreal could spread confidence by stopping new settlers in the West Bank.

Posted by Severin @ 04/29/2009 12:35 AM CST

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