The Palestinian Authority’s outgoing Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, is blaming failed leadership for the PA’s problems, but is not forgetting to also point an accusing finger at Israel and at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Speaking to the New York Times on Friday, Fayyad, who announced his resignation last month, said, “Our story is a story of failed leadership, from way early on. 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.”
“This party, Fatah, is going to break down, there is so much disenchantment,” he predicted. “Students have lost 35 days this year through strikes. We are broke. The status quo is not sustainable.”
“In the end it did not matter what any foreign power told me about things changing for the better because I am living it,” he added. “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, however, also blamed “the Israeli occupation” for the PA’s problems, citing things such as “settlement expansion, demolitions, evictions and military incursions even into areas nominally under Palestinian control.”
“I told President Obama the shack must come before the skyscraper,” he told the New York Times. “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.”
The United States, he added, should ask Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a straightforward question: What do you mean by a Palestinian state?
Netanyahu, at the same time, needs to say something like this to Israelis, according to Fayyad, “Yes, it is true we have a contract with G-d 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 also told the newspaper he believes PA Arabs do not have a moment to lose in the push for statehood, and that the essential missing ingredient is unity between rival factions Fatah and Hamas.
“Let’s be clinical,” he said. “We are not going to have a state unless we are united first.”
The essential precondition for that, added Fayyad, is a “security doctrine based on nonviolence.” Hamas must irrevocably renounce violence, so that there are “conditions for takeoff that would not be perfect, but when did the perfect ever prevail?”
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas accepted Fayyad’s resignation in April after a weeks-long falling out between the two and despite U.S. efforts for Fayyad to stay on.
Fayyad resigned after weeks of rumors that he would either quit or be told to step down by Abbas.
Fayyad is considered a moderate and was hailed as a “strong partner” by the U.S. and Canada, yet he has called to free all PA resident Arabs imprisoned in Israel, despite the fact that many are serving time for terror-related offenses, including murder and attempted murder; some were imprisoned for other violent crimes including assault and rape.
He has also accused Israel of causing the death of 200 prisoners through medical neglect, torture or murder. In the past, Fayyad also blamed Israel for the PA’s financial crisis, ignoring the fact that the PA pays huge monthly salaries to terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails. Israel recently discovered that it was none other than Fayyad himself who ordered several years ago that these salaries be tripled.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)