While Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has won praise from the West for unveiling a plan for a PA state, he faces opposition from within the PA parliament. The Hamas terrorist group, which won the majority of parliament seats in the 2006 elections, has rejected the plan and accused Fayyad of serving Israeli interests.
"We have one path for our Palestinian state to be established,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told the PA news service Maan. “The only way to do so is through resistance.”
Barhoum accused Fayyad of working with Israel, and said his plan “fulfills the desire of the occupation.”
The Islamic Jihad terrorist group rejected Fayyad's plan as well. Like Hamas, Islamic Jihad expressed concern that the plan would be seen as a rejection of “resistance,” a term used to refer to terrorism against Israeli citizens.
U.S., UN Pleased
Officials from the United States and the United Nations expressed satisfaction with the plan, which Fayyad unveiled on Tuesday. The plan was “concrete” compared to previous PA blueprints, said American consul general Jacob Walles.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry said the document was proof of “self empowerment.” The PA plan “challenges all other players to step up to their responsibilities,” he said.
The plan includes calls for a PA airport, better trained and armed PA troops, and an improved education system. The document did not detail the steps necessary to reach the stated goals.
Fayyad: We Want to Greet Obama
Fayyad's goal is to create “a de facto state apparatus” by 2011. In order to create a state apparatus, the PA will need more money from the international community, he said Tuesday. “We are going to seek this additional funding,” he said.
"Even after the state is established... we will continue to need external financial support,” Fayyad warned.
In his appeal for aid, Fayyad told U.S. officials that PA Arabs “want to receive President Obama in our airport.” The PA would like to greet Obama as he descends from his Air Force One plane, and not from an Israeli helicopter, he said.
Israel: There Might Not be a PA State
Israeli officials were less pleased by Fayyad's stated goal of creating a de facto state. “There is no place for either unilateral actions of threats,” said Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.
Fayyad's plans for a PA state could come to naught if the PA does not fight terrorism, Steinitz warned. “It is clear that a Palestinian state, no matter what its form, will not see the light of day if Israel's security concerns are not taken into account.”