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Friday, July 02, 2010

Fayyadism isn't state building

Foreign Policy, which is generally deferential and supportive of the 'Palestinians,' has a scathing review of Salam Fayyad's 'state building' in Judea and Samaria. The review - by Nathan Brown of the University of Chicago - argues that Fayyad is maintaining existing institutions rather than building new ones, that his 'reforms' are only possible of the current lack of democracy in the 'Palestinian Authority' (a democracy that Brown asserts existed between 1996 and 2006), and that no one in the 'Palestinian Authority' believes that Fayyad is building the institutions of a future 'state.' Here's his bottom line.
Fayyad is not building a state, he's holding down the fort until the next crisis. And when that crisis comes, Fayyad's cabinet has no democratic legitimacy or even an organized constituency to fall back on. What he does have -- contrary to those who laud him for not relying on outsiders -- is an irreplaceable reservoir of international respectability. The message of "Fayyadism" is clear, and it is personal: if Salam Fayyad is prime minister, wealthy international donors will keep the PA solvent, pay salaries to its employees, fund its infrastructural development, and even put gentle pressure on Israel to ease up its tight restrictions on movement and access.

Fayyad may be a good person, but finding a good person is not a policy. If he is making mild administrative and fiscal improvements in some areas, this cannot obscure the deeper problem that most Palestinian political institutions are actually in deep trouble and the most important ones are in a state of advanced decay.
I would take it a step further. There is no sense in pursuing 'proximity talks' or any other kind of talks with Israel until the 'Palestinians' get their act together and choose leaders. Suppose a 'Palestinian state' were formed tomorrow. Who would lead it? Abu Mazen has no legitimacy. Fayyad's legitimacy comes from the quartet and not from the 'Palestinians.' If the 'Palestinians' were to hold elections, whom would they elect? And would the party they elect be trustworthy to abide by whatever security guarantees Israel manages to negotiate, and to perpetuate those security guarantees to a successor to whom power is handed peacefully once they are no longer in power?

Obviously, we cannot answer the last two questions until we have answers to the previous questions. But until the last two questions can be answered affirmatively, Israel would be suicidal to agree to the establishment of a 'Palestinian state.' Right now, those last two questions cannot be answered at all. So why are we involved in 'proximity talks'? They are a waste of time and raise expectations that don't deserve to be held and that endanger our (Israel's) security in the long run.


At 6:44 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Agreed. Israel should pull out of the "proximity talks" and send George Mitchell home. Unless Israel knows the Palestinians have a responsible leadership backed by democratic legitimacy that is able to honor any agreement with Israel and will recognize Israel as the Jewish State and end the conflict, a lasting peace agreement is not possible today. I don't see it happening with Abu Bluff and Fayyad. Why is Israel inflicting massive suffering on the Jews of Yesha for no good reason?

What could go wrong indeed

At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also I think that the hamas and gaza issues have to be solved before any kind of an agreement can be reached.


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