The resignation of the Palestinian Authority's relatively popular but unsupported Prime Minister Salam Fayyad ends a story of frustration, progress and hope. Who killed the prime minister of Palestine? Well, no one killed Salam Fayyad, of course. But the idea of a prime minister of Palestine, the political leader of a someday-democratic state-coming-into being who would lead with cosmopolitan pragmatism, international credibility, and state-building savvy, seems now officially dead. After warnings and false starts, Fayyad has turned in his resignation and it has apparently been accepted by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – according to reports. The resignation was precipitated…Read More... | 14 Comments
By Lia Tarachansky and Max Blumenthal From street level in downtown Ramallah the economy seems to be thriving. Gleaming storefronts display an array of brand-name products, American fast food restaurants are sprouting up and the city is host to a bustling nightlife that could rival Tel Aviv. For years Israeli officials have pointed to economic growth in the West Bank, arguing the occupation is not as detrimental as many argue. Israeli Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein and Eitan Dogat, head of the branch of the Israeli government in charge of the occupation (COGAT), have quoted figures showing…Read More... | 31 Comments
The question is no longer about whether one state should be considered, as there is only one state which governs over two people. The question is which kind of state it will be: the left or the right-wing version. The protests a few weeks ago in the West Bank against Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, once the hope for an institutional and economic state-builder for Palestine, look like one more sign of failure for the emergence of a de facto if not de jure Palestinian state. In the lead-up to September 2011, the Palestinian state appeared poised to advance towards greater general legitimacy. Internationally, the political zeitgeist was…Read More... | 39 Comments
A wave of protests in the occupied Palestinian territories against the high cost of living has raised the obvious question as to whether the 'Arab Spring' has arrived in Palestine. Since demonstrations started in the first week of September, Palestinians have regularly blocked roads in major West Bank cities, protesting the high prices for food, fuel, and other basic necessities, many of them criticizing the Palestinian Authority and calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Protesters also targeted the Oslo Peace Accords, which were signed with Israel 19 years ago last Thursday. Many called for the abolition of…Read More... | 3 Comments
Though rumors of a general strike that would have shut down all traffic and closed businesses in Bethlehem and other West Bank cities failed to materialize, streets have been blocked in several locations as taxi and truck drivers took to the streets to protest high fuel and food prices. Reports from Ramallah, Tulkarem, Nablus, Hebron, Jenin, and Bethlehem indicate a growing number of daily actions to protest the cost of living. Targets of the protest include the Palestinian Authority in general and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in particular. Protests are expected to continue in the coming days. Related: Palestinians take…Read More... | 2 Comments
The trade agreements signed earlier this week between Israel and the Palestinian Authority serve as a reminder of the convenient status quo of occupation. They also illustrate just how irrelevant the PA has become in the struggle against the foreign military regime, and raise the question: When and how will it pay the price? On the face of it, one might have expected that a new treaty signed between the ultra right-wing government in Jerusalem and the less and less influential one in Ramallah after a series of secret meetings would have made it to front pages everywhere. However, once…Read More... | 15 Comments
Jason Alexander comes here to make peace, but sounds more like George Costanza. Problem is, he's not alone. Jason Alexander (“George Costanza” in Seinfeld) is a good liberal, he cares about Israel and wants to see peace, he wants to see Palestinians have their freedom and Israelis their security. He and an American group called “One Voice” were just in Israel and the West Bank again, talking to Shimon Peres and Salam Fayyad, to Israeli and Palestinian notables of all sorts. On Thursday Alexander wrote an op-ed in Yediot Aharonot titled, “Yes, you can,” which was almost mathematically even-handed. He…Read More... | 22 Comments
In just few hours, the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is slated to give the keynote address at the annual gala dinner of the American Task Force on Palestine, or ATFP. A few days ago, it was unclear Fayyad would be allowed to attend, much less speak, after the Palestinian Authority severed ties with the group. The ATFP is a non-profit organization based in heart of the U.S. capital that, in its own words, “is dedicated to advocating that it is in the American national interest to promote an end to the conflict in the Middle East through a negotiated…Read More... | 3 Comments
Israel and the family of nations should look into the Palestinian statehood bid and judge it based on current international law. By Issa Edward Boursheh The Montevideo Convention, today a part of customary international law, outlines four requirements for statehood: a) Defined territory b) Permanent population c) Government d) Capacity to enter into relations with other states Does the future Palestine state meet the following criteria? And if not, will negotiations offer a reasonable solution that will keep the longed-for two-state solution alive? If there’s one thing that Netanyahu should do this September, it is to thank Palestinian President Mahmoud…Read More... | 7 Comments
"It’s very clear that the public wants a real state, not just a state in name. The public is willing to pay the price." Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki explains why a unilateral declaration of statehood may be the last chance Palestinians give to their current leadership, and the dilemmas Palestinians face come September. As September approaches, this is the moment to understand what the Palestinian people are thinking. What will the potential statehood declaration mean for them? What are their hopes and fears? And perhaps the question on everyone’s mind is – what do they plan to do? Will there…Read More... | 13 Comments
Palestinian demonstrators and their supporters have clashed with Israeli soldiers at a weekly gathering in the village of Bil’in in the West Bank. It happened as the demonstrators approached a portion of the controversial separation barrier built by Israel. Soldiers fired back with tear gas after demonstrators drove a bulldozer into part of the barrier. ------------------ Read more on the context of the protest in Noam Sheizaf's report from in Bil'in here.Read More... | 4 Comments
Abu Mazen: Like it or not, Hamas is part of Palestinian people. Ramallah - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared today that the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas shouldn't stand in the way of future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. In a meeting with representatives of "Israel Initiatives," a group of businessmen and veteran security officials who advocate a solution based on the Arab League Peace Initiative, Abbas said, "I am ready to talk. If Prime Minister Netanyahu calls me tomorrow, I will talk to him." The reason for the breakdown of negotiations, Abbas said, is Israel's refusal to…Read More... | 3 Comments
Dozens of European diplomats and senior figures from across the Palestinian political spectrum joined hundreds of activists in the opening of the 6th International Bil'in Conference on Popular Resistance. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, called for the international community to promote Palestinian self determination. The 6th annual Bil'in conference on popular resistance opened today in a festive opening session attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the recently released protest organizer, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, Abbas Zackie on behalf of the PLO, and former Vice President of the European Parliament, Luisa Morgantini. The conference was dedicated to slain activists Rachel Corrie, Vittorio…Read More... | 2 Comments
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