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Khaled Abu Toameh


by Rhonda Spivak, posted Feb 13, 2012

Last July 15 2011,  after the  Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement was  put on hold when the two sides failed to reach agreement on who would head a new Palestinian unity government, Khaled Abu Toameh, who in my opinion provides some of the most insightful analysis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and intra-Palestinian politics, wrote a piece  "Why  The Paelstinians  do not want Fayyad."

Now in light of the Hamas-Fatah  reconciliation agreement  just signed at  Doha, it is worth re-reading Abu Toameh's piece, since  Abbas essentially threw Fayyad under the bus  caving into Hamas's demand that Fayyad not be appointed Prime Minister in any unity government . Instead, Abbas, who behind the scenes apparently was not on good terms with  Fayyad, chose to appoint himself as Prime  Minister (in addition to being President!) since he knows full well that  appointing anyone else would even further jeopardize continued US funding of the PA. But the fact that Abbas had to dispense with Fayyad in order to reconcile with Hamas shows just how much the balance of power has shifted in  favour of Hamas not Fatah-and I fully expect that if elections ever do occur in the West Bank, Hamas will win not Fatah (which is also the assessment of  Abu Toameh). 

The question of why Fayyad is not popular in Palestinian politics was discussed by Khaled Abu Toameh who wrote: 

"Palestinian society, it is much more important if one graduates from an Israeli prison than from a university in Texas. This is the reason that the two Palestinian governments, both Hamas and Fatah, are dominated by graduates of Israeli prisons who hold senior positions."

According to Abu Toameh, Hamas dislikes Fayyad,  because they hold him responsible for the Palestinian Authority's security crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

As Abu Toameh  added,

"Many Palestinians are also opposed to Fayyad because, they say, he was never part of the "revolution." They see him as an "outsider" who was imposed on President Abbas by the Americans and Europeans.

"Fayyad's main problem, however, is that he did not participate in any violent attacks on Israel. Nor did he send his sons to take part in the intifada against Israel.

"The longer the time one serves in an Israeli prison, the higher his or her rank is in the Palestinian security forces. This has been true ever since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. And this is how people like Mohammed Dahlan and Jibril Rajoub became commanders of the Palestinians' Preventative Security Force.

"In the West Bank, most of the senior officials running the ministries have either spent time in Israeli prisons or taken an active part in anti-Israel violence."


"There is no shortage of well-educated Palestinians who could contribute enormously to the establishment of proper institutions and good government. Yet they have almost no role in the "uniform culture," where many Palestinians continue to admire those who were part of the "revolution" more than university graduates and former World Bank officials such as Fayyad."

 It is to be remembered that Fayyad did not do well in 2006, when his Third Way list, which contested the Palestinian parliamentary election, won only two seats.

Abu Toameh concluded that " Fayyad would have become popular had he joined the armed wing of Fatah or Hamas and spent a few years in an Israeli prison."  (Remember also that Yasser Arafat wore his military fatigues, not a business suit after having studied at an Egyptian university in Cairo). 

The fact that Palestinian leadership is dominated by Palestinians who have served in Israeli prisons, also has an effect on the West Bank polity and economy, and on the dearth of  proper democratic institutions and foundations, Abu Toameh noted in the article. As he wrote

"Because of this policy, many educated Palestinians who have never been to an Israeli prison are forced to search for jobs in the US, Europe and the Arab world," says Abu Toameh.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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