Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler
Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Friday. November 2.
1) Fayyad resigns? Abbas recants? Qaddoumi refocuses? Arafat still dead
In a series of tweets, Jonathan Schanzer answers the question: Did Salam Fayyad's resign? (I've corrected the numbering but left everything else intact.)
Intro -> OK - I've got some color on the Fayyad attempted resignation. Numbered tweets to follow....
For more on the recent elections, see Khaled Abu Toameh.
1. Fayyad did not try to resign to Abbas or the PA government. Rather, he went to the PLO. A strange choice.
Fayyad proposed to the PLO that the new guard Fatah figures who won
spots in recent muni elections should form the backbone of a new govt
3. By proposing new guard, he appeared to be furthering his democratic agenda & efforts to help democratize.
4. In proposing new guard, he may also be trying to establish a political base - something he has traditionally lacked
5. PLO did not say no to his proposal. They did not say yes, either. Shortly thereafter, story was leaked on pro-Dahlan site
6. PLO/Abbas will not let Fayyad go. They need him to for transparency/governance. But they will use this to make him look bad.
Timing of this was NOT tied to UN statehood bid. Fayyad already has
disavowed the bid. If sanctions come, he'll say "I told you so"
In short, this was a half-hearted attempt to resign. Had Fayyad really
wanted to, it could have been done in a more direct/public way
9. Fayyad still has public opportunities to make a statement, if he wishes. TV appearances forthcoming.
On TV, to explain today, he'll either quit (unlikely) or explain that
he's doing his best to help Palestinian politics reform (likely) .
All this underscores a clash of visions at top of PA. Fayyad has little
support from US or base. Brinksmanship a sign of frustration.
Elder of Ziyon answers: did Mahmoud Abbas renounce the right of return?
Abbas is defining himself as a refugee who chooses not to return
under UNGA 194. But that in no way limits how the Arab world
(mis)interprets UNGA 194, and therefore it does not impact the PLO's
negotiating position in the least.
Less here than meets the eye.
This way Abbas can continue the long Arab game of telling gullible
Westerners what they want to hear without actually saying what they want
so desperately to believe he said.
Farouk Kaddoumi apparently refocused his attention - on Jordan:
A senior leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization expressed
support for a new proposal for Jordan's annexation of the West Bank, in
an interview with the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi.
Jordan's not interested and hasn't been since 1988.
PLO leader Farouk Kaddoumi, a founding member of the PLO, said the move
would involve the establishment of a Jordanian-Palestinian
Yasser Arafat is still dead.
A French official says criminal investigators from France will exhume
Yasir Arafat’s remains next month to try to find out how the
Palestinian leader died. A separate Swiss investigative team will arrive
in the West Bank city of Ramallah at the same time. The push to
re-examine Mr. Arafat’s 2004 death came after a Swiss lab recently
discovered traces of polonium 210, a deadly radioactive isotope, on
clothes said to be his.
Alas the AP doesn't take the time to illustrate how absurd the polonium scenario is.
2) The statehood bid, again
Once again the Palestinians are seeking to get their status upgraded at the UN. Israeli ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub writes:
Frustration at the failure to reach a negotiated solution of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict creates an understandable thirst for
alternative approaches. One such approach is resurfacing at the moment:
the Palestinian initiative to achieve unilateral recognition at the
United Nations. In yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, the former Palestinian
foreign minister, Nabeel Shaath, demanded that “Britain atone for its
sins” and support this move. This would be a serious setback for peace.
Assaf Romirowsky in Palestinian State 2.0 adds:
Negotiations, to be sure, have not yet resulted in a final agreement.
But they have actually produced significant results. In fact, the very
institutions and bodies that the Palestinians point to as the basis of
their claim to statehood in the UN are themselves the result of
face-to-face negotiations between the two sides. Decades of UN General
Assembly resolutions, by contrast, have produced nothing. Indeed, more
often the UN has driven the two sides apart.
The current initiative is likely to do the same, but with even more
damaging results. While some Palestinian leaders have tried to suggest
to the Western media that the initiative is designed to energise or
restart the negotiations, their explanations in Arabic are troublingly
different. For example, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told
the Arab media in recent weeks that the Palestinian plan was to exploit a
UN upgrade to commence campaigns against Israel in international
forums, including the International Criminal Court and a slew of UN
The late Palestinian professor of English literature, Edward Said,
took it one step further and shortened the phrase to "a land without
people" to imply that Zionists actually believed there were essentially
no people in Ottoman Palestine. But mainstream Zionists from the
beginning attempted to work with the Arab population and then favored an
Arab state alongside Israel. Palestinians and Arab countries rejected
this completely on November 29th, 1947 and thereafter.
Since then Palestinian identity has been rooted in three ideas. One is
that resistance to Israel is permanent and sacrosanct. Another is that
Palestinians are, individually and communally, refugees, made so at the
hands of Israel. The third is that the world, specifically the UN and
Western countries, must support these refugees until they can return to a
future Palestine and to homes in what is now Israel. State-building
does not figure into this.
While a functioning Palestinian State remains desirable, the fact that
Palestinian leadership has refused to directly negotiate with Israel and
uses bodies like the UN to endorse a "virtual" state that has no viable
infrastructure is telling. Is the Palestinian goal a state of their
own, or just the erasure of Israel, to be followed by what? Insisting
upon a Palestinian state must go hand in hand with reviving the
flat-lining Palestinian political system and institutions that would
support it. If not the odds of success are slim to none.
Labels: Abu Mazen, Middle East Media Sampler, Palestinian state RIGHT NOW syndrome, Palestinians, Salam Fayyad, Soccer Dad, Yasser Arafat