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Falling into traps; a Palestinian hobby?

Khairallah Khairallah

Published: Updated:

Why do the Palestinians insist to give up the best they have? Do they have the hobby of falling into traps that they either set for themselves or others set for them? It is really confusing considering that some of them are the brightest people in the Middle East. It is also really confusing considering that the Palestinian people have been resistant for decades against injustice that fell upon them - an injustice that may be lessened one day if reasonability and realism are adopted instead of illusions.

He who thoroughly looks at numbers and at the statements of officials at the World Bank and Monetary Fund will realize that the best thing that happened to the Palestinians in the last five years was assigning Doctor Salam Fayyad to the premiership position.

Even if we overlook the stances of international officials on Fayyad, it is enough that the latter has managed to make the West Bank an area that its people do not want to leave. He deserves all possible gratitude for the efforts he made during extremely difficult and complicated circumstances. He did not achieve fake victories that are good for nothing. He made important achievements towards establishing institutions for a Palestinian state that will sooner or later see the light.

Historic leader of the Palestinian people Yasser Arafat, god bless his soul, has always said that it is impossible to eliminate people who are present on the political map of the Middle East.

What victory?

Salam Fayyad has recently submitted his resignation. Some have used it against him that some American officials frankly implored him to stay in his post. What is wrong with that? Doesn't the support of American officials to a Palestinian figure - regardless of his name and post - who aims to establish an independent state falls within the interest of the Palestinian cause? Is there any victory achieved if the entire world stands with the Palestinian people and the U.S. stands against it?

The Palestinians are supposed to continuously remember that Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu's first goal was and still is blocking Washington's support to them. Sharon was not capable of placing Yasser Arafat under house arrest in Ramallah until after relations were severed between the White House and the Palestinian presidency following the armed intifida at the end of 2000 and beginning of 2001 and following the September 11, 2011 attacks which Arafat did not deal well with their repercussions amidst the presence of American president George W. Bush junior who divided the world into those against the U.S. and those with it.

One must be realistic and must keep away from all sensitivities caused by Salam Fayyad's success as a Palestinian premier since 2007. Fayyad's government managed to reorganize Palestinian security apparatuses and managed to put the latter into the citizens' services. Thus these security apparatuses have worked to implement the law and not violate it like what happens in a fine number of Arab countries. Palestinian citizens thus felt safe especially amidst the transparency practiced by the cabinet. This transparency led Palestinians to invest in the West Bank instead of fleeing it. Transparency along with the security apparatuses' seriousness have also succeeded in removing a fine number of checkpoints established by the occupation and aiming to cut relations among the West Bank's areas.

Questions over aid


Let's take a look at numbers that are never wrong. Serious institutions like the American Task Force on Palestine that operates from Washington bases its work on these numbers. Salam Fayyad's government has in three years managed to establish 1,700 small developmental projects, build or repair 1,200 schools, three hospitals, 50 dispensaries and 1,600 kilometers of road, in addition to extending 1,000 kilometers of water pipes. It also carried out reform in the fields of the judiciary and education and worked to decrease full dependency on foreign aid.

One can go on and on in talking about the achievements of the years 2011, 2012 and 2013. One can also go on and on in talking about the difficulties that the Palestinian cabinet confronted due to Israel and the economic crisis that affected the entire world. But one must recognize that the Palestinian cabinet's institutions have acted a lot better than institutions of countries that have full membership at the U.N. especially when it comes to transparency that the Palestinians are used to or rather getting to know!

What is wrong in having Salam Fayyad's cabinet provide Western, American and Arab aid to the Palestinian people, authority and institutions? Doesn't this aid contribute to supporting the independent Palestinian decision and the serious work towards organizing parliamentary and presidential elections in the near future? Isn't this cabinet which enjoys an American and European cover the shortest and the most successful path towards building modern institutions that confirm to the world that the Palestinians deserve an independent viable state which capital is Jerusalem and which lives in a sense of security with all of its neighbors?

It is about time that the Palestinians give up on the slogans that do not lead them anywhere and that only strengthen the reality that Israel is attempting to impose. Talks on a national reconciliation with Hamas is of no value as long as Hamas is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement and as long as it focuses on altering the nature of the Palestinian community and not overpowering occupation.

Hamas is simply attempting to take control of the West Bank and not to establish a real independent state that includes the West Bank and Gaza where elections can be regularly held. It is not after establishing a state of law opposite to the "Taliban emirate" like what is currently happening at the Gaza Strip.

Salam Fayyad's cabinet was not perfect. But it was the best cabinet given the current circumstances. Fayyad was a man humble to the extent that he did not hide that what matters is aspiring towards a better future for the Palestinian people and not holding on to the premiership position.

During his last speech as a premier, he said: "One must consider the people's (interest) and hold general elections...this will be the only path towards rebuilding a political system and achieving our people's national rights."

Yes, the Palestinians need to rebuild their political system before they get to anything else.

This article was first published in Middle East Online on April 20, 2013.

Khairallah Khairallah is a Lebanese writer who has previously worked at Lebanon’s Annahar newspaper, he then moved to London and began writing political columns in Arabic language newspapers, including AlMustaqbal and Rosa ElYoussef.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.