Fair Policy, Fair Discussion

November 12, 2009

Fayyad and Abu Amr on the crisis

Yesterday, our group had a 40-minute off-the-record discussion with the very pro-American PA prime minister Salam Fayyad.  We also had a much longer discussion with Ziad Abu Amr, a political independent who was foreign minister in the PA’s short-lived national unity government in 2007– and also a close confidante of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Both were extremely gloomy and expressed a strong sense of how they feel the whole of the PA’s very pro-American leadership now feels deeply betrayed by the Obama administration.

Abu Amr said:

Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] has been playing completely by the book.  The PA has been killing Palestinians to prove that he is prepared to serve Israel’s security interests. What did he get in return? Only a continuation of setttlements, home demolitions, land expropriations…

If this continues, he will not and should not continue in office.

He noted that Abbas has not yet actually resigned (though we have certainly heard plenty of rumors that that might be under consideration.)

“If Abu Mazen resigns,” he said,

under the Palestinian Basic Law– which I helped to draft back in the 1990s– the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council would take over. That is Aziz Dweik. So let th Americans deal with him.

Dweik, who was recently released from an Israeli prison, is the parliamentarian from the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Party who was elected speaker of the PLC after the free and fair PA election of January 2006.

Abu Amr also told us,

Abu Mazen feels betrayed and fooled by the Americans… There is no way the Palestinians can do any more than they have done…

If Abu Mazen resigns under circumstances of crisis, then no-one could replace him– or, would want to…

The problem is, the Americans have abandoned the Road Map. What Hillary Clinton said about the Israeli government having made “unprecedented concessions” was against the Road Map, against Annapolis, and against Oslo.

More, later…



  1. Abu Mazen has threatened to resign many times. He has not resigned on any of those occasions. Why do you think this time will be different?

    The PA does not have a pro-American leadership. Most of its members are less anti-American leadership than Hamas, but that’s hardly a dramatic accomplishment. Nearly every government in the region has a less anti-American leadership than Hamas, and most regional governments make significantly greater efforts to work closely with the US than does the PA. When a leadership is actually “pro-American,” it makes an effort to support the US. The PA rarely makes such an effort. Rather, the US tries to support the PA, more so now than a few years ago.

    The PA currently DOES have a much more PRO-PALESTINIAN leadership than Hamas (whose leadership’s actions show that it is fundamentally anti-Israeli rather than pro-Palestinian). Fayyad the technocrat, in particular, seems to be trying to prepare for the creation of an actual Palestinian state, one that exists in the real world and one in which ordinary Palestinian people will be able to live.

    Sadly, many of the other senior Palestinian leaders prefer to foster suicidal/homicidal delusions while living off the international begging bowl or hiring their people out as mercenaries to dictators. And many of them hate Fayyad.

    I would have been a lot more interested in what Fayyad has to say. He’s an interesting guy.

    Comment by Howard — November 12, 2009 @ 9:18 am | Reply

  2. It would be surprising if Palestinians were not opposed to the US government, which is largely responsible for the abuse that they have suffered for more than sixty years.
    But why go on? These facts are notorious, the Palestinians are supposed to be on the verge of joining the Creeks and the Mohicans where ‘inferior’ races dwell.
    The money quote is Anu Amr’s:
    “The PA has been killing Palestinians to prove that he is prepared to serve Israel’s security interests. What did he get in return?”
    And the answer is Howard’s arrogant, ethnocentric attitudinising.

    Comment by bevin — November 12, 2009 @ 1:40 pm | Reply

  3. ex-President Abbas bent over backwards to accommodate the US and Israel and to benefit from what Tony Blair calls the ‘economic peace’, whatever that means.
    As David Rose explained, Abbas colluded with the US, Israel and Egypt with Muhammad Dahlan, to overthrow the elected Hamas in Gaza.
    In return, Israel continued its land grab, house demolitions, arbitrary arrests and settlement building.

    President Obama promised so much in Cairo but sent out Dennis Ross and Hilary Clinton. A new face was required.

    It’s easy to tell when the Israelis are under pressure to negotiate a peace: a new act of ‘self defence’ is carried out in Lebanon or Gaza.

    Comment by Mark — November 12, 2009 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

  4. […] Correspondent, formerly with the Christian Science Monitor. She has launched a new blog, ‘“Fair Policy, Fair Discussion” for the Washington-based Council for the National Interest Foundation, for which she serves as […]

    Pingback by Mired in Political Purgatory, PA Delays Elections « Wallwritings — November 12, 2009 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  5. palestinians Opposed to the US government ? this made me laugh . they had followed the US rule and expected the US to help them achieve the dream , the dream of Freedom and a homeland , the US did nothing but allowed the Israelis to settle on ILLEGALLY Occupied Land (westbank ) and construct more Homes on Palestinians fields and homes . Israel continues to destroy Homes in East Jerusalem and AMerica looks the other way . . we had expected America to be fair and just (it always talks about its love for freedom and human rights ) But it has let the Palestinians down very badly . Anyone who trusts the Americans to solve their problems is an idiot . ONLY resisting the occupation will end it , that s what the ALgerians did in Algeria .

    Comment by Nesreen — November 12, 2009 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  6. […] Correspondent, formerly with the Christian Science Monitor. She has launched a new blog, ‘“Fair Policy, Fair Discussion” for the Washington-based Council for the National Interest Foundation, for which she serves as […]

    Pingback by Mired in Political Purgatory, Abbas Will Delay Elections « Wallwritings — November 12, 2009 @ 10:51 pm | Reply

  7. The PA has been killing Palestinians to prove that he is prepared to serve Israel’s security interests.

    That’s outrageous – how could Abu Amr think that this is something to boast about?

    Comment by Joe in Australia — November 13, 2009 @ 12:56 am | Reply

  8. @bevin: “arrogant, ethnocentric attitudinising”? lol

    My paragraph 1 is simply a statement of historical fact: Abbas threatened to resign twice in 2008, once in 2007, 4 times in 2006, twice in 2005, … . For that matter, the man had to be cajoled into running for president in the 1st place. Do you disagree with me here?

    My parag 2 simply takes issue with Helena’s characterization of the PA as “pro American.” I did not JUDGE the PA for holding a position that is not pro-American; I simply observed that being less anti-American than Hamas does not make the PA leadership “pro-American.” Based on your comments, you appear to agree with me that the leaders of the PA are not “pro-American.” Right? So in what way am I being “arrogant” or “ethnocentric” here?

    My parag 3 commends certain PA leaders for being pro-PALESTINIAN. In this paragraph, I express a personal opinion that is favorable to Fayyad, whose efforts to wrestle with the practical challenge of building a real-world Palestinian state strikes me as sane and admirable (states don’t appear by magic when declared; institutions must be planned, and unless someone prepares in advance, the result is often a shambles).

    My parag 4 grumbles about some other members of the PA leadership are attacking Fayyad for PRESUMING to make such an effort. These guys are either playing factional politics and/or really prefer to maintain the PA status quo, which you obviously don’t like any more than I do, until the day when they can have a delusional “total victory.” Well, that day isn’t going to happen any time soon, and meanwhile, Palestinians in the cities, towns and villages are forced to live in the real world. So who’s arrogant here? Myself? Or Fatah leaders? 😉

    I make no secret of supporting the creation of a real, living Palestinian state beside Israel, with security guarantees that prevent more pointless wars from killing people on both sides and with a solution for the holy places that allows all 3 major religions to access them freely.

    My last parag wishes to know what Fayyad thinks, because I am interested in the thoughts of a man who has always struck me as competent, intelligent and a patriotic Palestinian. That’s hardly “arrogant” or “ethnocentric,” is it? lol

    Would you mind leaving the personal insults out next time you respond to my comments? I really try to engage in civilized discussion on this blog. It saddens me that more often than not, people who disagree with me here seem to resort to knee-jerk personal attacks that don’t add anything of value to the debate, rather than addressing my comments. I have a thick skin and can take an insult; but what exactly is the point of insulting someone simply because they have different opinions? Knee-jerk name-calling is a technique for avoiding thinking about what the other person is saying.

    As for Abu Amr’s quotation, Abu Amr apparently forgets that the PA has been fighting Hamas, not because it’s good for Israel or the US but rather because Hamas’s coup in Gaza shows that it is a threat to Fatah.

    Comment by Howard — November 13, 2009 @ 10:51 am | Reply

  9. […] [Here is one tally, probably incomplete, according to my memory: "historical fact: Abbas threatened to resign twice in 2008, once in 2007, 4 times in 2006, twice in 2005, … . For that matter, the man had to be cajoled into running for president in the 1st place" – from a comment posted by "Howard" on Helena Cobban's new work blog, "Fair Policy, Fair Discussion", here.] […]

    Pingback by UN-Truth » Abu Mazen’s manoeuvers — November 13, 2009 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  10. In my view, there is nothing pro-Palestinian at all in the current PA leadership as epitomized by Abbas. It is very pro-Abbas and pro- the old guard Fatah leadership. To preserve the meager perks that Israel and the US dole out to them, they have agreed to do Israel’s bidding in suppressing their own people. We must remember that the so-called Hamas coup was really a preemptive strike to prevent the US-Israeli arranged coup to depose the elected PA government and impose Dahlan and Fatah in Gaza. Hamas will settle only for a real state, something that Israel has made clear under all its leaders that it will not allow. Under the Israeli/ US plan, Palestine will have no control of its borders, its airspace, its foreign policy, its defense or any other normal accoutrement of sovereignty. It will also have no control of its water and other life essentials. It will have no political voice in the entity that will, in fact, run these things, ie the Israeli government. It will be the Bantustan that apartheid South Africa tried to create. If this is the entity that Fayyad is helping to prepare, he is not very pro-Palestinian either.

    Comment by Jack — November 13, 2009 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  11. Abu Mazen feels betrayed and fooled by the Americans…

    It might be one view in that direction, but let not forgot so recent history btween Abu Mazen the Americans…

    1- US support training aid to Fatih fighters last year
    2- Abu Mazen on his orders (by his handler ,i.e. US) to postpone the discussion of the Goldstone report in the UN Human Rights Council, just few weeks before he came with his new game of he resign, there is nothing that Abu Mazen feels betrayed and fooled by the Americans…, its all Abu Mazen to twist the felling he responsible for postpone the discussion of the Goldstone report in the UN Human Rights Council which voices rised to hold him accountable for that case.
    I think in this matter he win as he asked will be investigation to Goldstone report looking now remote all most dead.

    America’s leading human rights organisation has accused Israel and its supporters of an “organised campaign” of false allegations and misinformation, including “extremely personal attacks” on its staff, in an attempt to discredit the group over its reports of war crimes in Gaza.

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) ties the campaign – which has included accusations that the group’s reports on the Jewish state are written by “anti-Israel ideologues” and that it has sought funds from Saudi Arabia – to a statement by a senior official in the Israeli prime minister’s office in June pledging to “dedicate time and manpower to combating” human rights organisations.

    Israel ‘personally attacking human rights group‘ after Gaza war criticism

    Comment by Salah — November 13, 2009 @ 10:14 pm | Reply

  12. Abu Mazen today is in a much worse situation than when he was Prime Minister in 2003. Nonetheless, he will not resign because, in my opinion, he will never accept that Hamas’s leadership will score a personal victory against him, since their dispute has now become as personal as it is political.

    Still, he might find an exit by telling the Americans that he will not run for president again, when the time for the presidential and legislative elections comes next January, and that they need to find someone else who can bear the consequences of their weak policies in the region. (He will agree to postpone the elections should Hamas sign the reconciliation; however, the latter rejects this for fear of losing in the elections).

    Jihad el-Khazen

    Comment by Salah — November 13, 2009 @ 10:20 pm | Reply

  13. Please be very fast to discover the lies of Israelis and know where your dollars use for before this TAKEN OFF AIR

    Comment by Salah — November 14, 2009 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

  14. http://www.ifcj.org/site/PageNavigator/eng/USENG_homenew

    These steal your money these Zionists gangs

    Comment by Salah — November 14, 2009 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  15. What does it mean for a Palestinian to be pro-American when there is such deep penetration of the US government Zionist subversives: Daniel Kurtzer and Zionist Menace.

    Comment by Joachim Martillo — November 15, 2009 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

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