Fayyad: Palestinian Leadership a Failure

Salam Fayyad (L) with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: File)

The Palestinian Authority is broke, the Palestinian leadership is a failure and Fatah will “break down,” resigned premier Salam Fayyad said in an interview published Friday in The New York Times.

“Our story is a story of failed leadership, from way early on,” the former prime minister said.

“It is incredible that the fate of the Palestinian people has been in the hands of leaders so entirely casual, so guided by spur-of-the-moment decisions, without seriousness. We don’t strategize, we cut deals in a tactical way and we hold ourselves hostage to our own rhetoric.”

Fayyad resigned on April 13 and is acting as caretaker prime minister, but will leave office completely in three to four weeks, he told the US newspaper.

Fayyad pinned his resignation on difficulties with President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, as well as Israeli intransigence.

“This party, Fatah, is going to break down, there is so much disenchantment,” Fayyad said. “Students have lost 35 days this year through strikes. We are broke. The status quo is not sustainable.”

He added: “In the end it did not matter what any foreign power told me about things changing for the better because I am living it. I have gone through hell before. But it’s enough. This much poison is bound to cause something catastrophic. The system is not taking, the country is suffering. They are not going to change their ways and therefore I must go.”

Fayyad said Israel’s occupation remained the biggest problem, and that his state-building efforts and transformation of the security situation were not reciprocated by Israeli measures.

“The Israelis have not rolled back the occupation gene. Let’s make sure our Bedouin population in the Jordan Valley has access to drinking water before we discuss final arrangements. This is a right-to-life issue for Palestinians.”

Fayyad urged the US to ask Benjamin Netanyahu what the Israeli prime minister means by a Palestinian state, if he insists Israel must keep settlement blocs and Jerusalem and keep control of the Jordan Valley.

“A state of leftovers is not going to do it,” Fayyad said.

Meanwhile, Fayyad suggested Netanyahu should address the Israelis: “Yes, it is true we have a contract with God Almighty who gave us the land, but there happen to be 4.4 million other people on this land who want to exercise their right to self-determination, so perhaps we can adjust the divine contract a little.”

Fayyad described the renewed US push for a resumption of peace talks as “high-risk,”

“Israel says no this, no that, and it’s taken as a foregone conclusion,” he said. “There’s nothing to underpin the US initiative. So how can you invest in it?”

Meanwhile, Fatah and Hamas must reconcile. “We are not going to have a state unless we are united first.”

As for his future, Fayyad did not rule out a return to politics.

“I will reflect and if elections come, as they must because they are vital, I will see how best to take part in them.”

He added: “I resigned my job, that’s all. I am not resigned, even if it pains me additionally when lack of progress is self-inflicted. I will die without changing my mind that we Palestinians can prove the doubters wrong.”

(Ma’an – maannews.net)

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