Is the Palestinian Authority Stable Enough for Peace Talks? / Assessing the Resignation and Return of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (JCPA) JERUSALEM CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS) Dan Diker and Pinhas Inbari 06/16/09)
JCPA-Jerusalem Center Public Affairs
JCPA-Jerusalem Center Public Affairs Articles-Index-Top
-Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad´s agreement to
remain as PA prime minister defied the unprecedented opposition to
his new PA government by both Hamas and the Fatah movement. While
Fayyad´s stellar reputation in the West as a reformer-statesman
continues to inspire confidence among U.S. security officials and
Western donor nations, his position is far more difficult in the
fragile Palestinian political reality.
-While the Fatah Central Committee tolerated the previous PA
government due to its offensive against Hamas subversion in the West
Bank, Fatah´s overall opposition to the current cabinet reflects
fundamental divisions between its "young guard" and the older and
more powerful founding generation.
-Fayyad has continued to pay monthly salaries to nearly 12,000 Hamas
Executive Force members, which had been agreed upon by the short-
lived Palestinian national unity government in 2007. The same PA-
funded Hamas Executive Force fought IDF troops in the recent Gaza
-Fayyad also avoided confrontation with Fatah´s Iranian-backed Al
Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, even integrating its militia leaders as local
commanders in the PA´s National Security Forces (the U.S.-
backed "Dayton forces"). While PA forces dispersed Hamas
demonstrations in the West Bank during the Gaza war, they did not act
against the protests of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
-Fayyad´s government reflects the intention of the U.S. to create a
new security framework in which the Palestinians could move from an
era of gangsterism, armed resistance, and terror to an era of nation-
building and statehood. However, Fayyad does not have the political
base to succeed in the long term. Moreover, Washington´s notion that
reformed political power can be purchased is naïve.
-The PA prime minister´s alliance with the "young guard" Fatah
leadership has thus far proved to be insufficient and the deals he
has made with local warlords and militia groups in the West Bank have
severely compromised his state-building project.
Just days before Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas´ first
official White House visit with U.S. President Barack Obama on May
28, 2009, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad reversed his resignation for
the second time in three months. He had first offered to step down in
January 2009,1 under growing pressure from Fatah, but immediately
acceded to Abbas´ appeal to stay on as prime minister. Fayyad´s
latest return enabled Abbas to cobble together a tenuous, last-
minute, coalition in advance of the Washington summit.
The Abbas-Obama meeting only stimulated Hamas´ determination to
topple the PA government. Hamas officials immediately labeled Fayyad
a "traitor" and promised an "earthquake" of a response.2 Within a few
days, the Fayyad-led PA security forces and Hamas were engaged in a
deadly firefight in the West Bank town of Kalkilya in which three PA
security forces and three Hamas operatives were killed including
Hamas senior commander Mohammed Samman. The bloody showdown did not
reflect the PA´s willingness to uproot terror groups. In fact, PA
security forces later admitted on Al Jazeera that they had not
intended to open fire on Hamas, but merely acted in self-defense as
Hamas had opened fire on them.3 One senior Fatah security official
considered the fatal showdown as a step toward civil war in the West
Fayyad´s last-minute agreement to remain as PA prime minister defied
the unprecedented opposition to his new PA government by both Hamas
and the Fatah movement. While Fayyad´s stellar reputation in the West
as a reformer-statesman continues to inspire confidence among U.S.
security officials and Western donor nations, his on again, off again
resignations indicate far more difficult political fortunes in the
fragile Palestinian political reality. They also indicate severe
internal security and political threats to Palestinian political
stability that may be overlooked by Western observers.
Another Fragile "Interim" PA Government
Hamas´ opposition to the new PA government is clear. The Hamas
leadership and parliamentary majority elected in 2006 did not
recognize the previous Abbas-Fayyad government. Furthermore, the
previous Fayyad administration had entirely excluded Fatah figures
from the cabinet, whereas the new government has given Fatah eight
portfolios. However, this Fatah participation is misleading. It only
includes a certain sector of Fatah figures loyal to jailed Tanzim
leader Marwan Bargouti and former Gaza strongman Muhammad Dahlan.
Moreover, the Fatah Central Committee did not approve the
appointments, as part of its protest against the new government. The
Fatah Central Committee´s rejection of the new PA government and the
simultaneous participation in the cabinet by some Fatah figures has
further weakened Fatah´s overall public support and has strengthened
Hamas across the West Bank.5
While the Fatah Central Committee tolerated the previous PA
government due to its offensive against Hamas subversion in the West
Bank, its overall opposition to the current cabinet reflects
fundamental divisions inside Fatah between the "young guard" and the
older and more powerful founding generation. The Fatah majority
opposition to Fayyad and Hamas´ violent rejection of his second
independent "interim" government has already seeded the ground for
future instability in the West Bank.
What´s Behind Fayyad´s Multiple Resignations?
On March 7, 2009, Fayyad submitted his resignation to Abbas, saying
he wanted to remove himself as an obstacle to sensitive
reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas.6 His announcement came
just weeks after a Gaza international aid conference in Sharm a-
Sheikh, Egypt, allocated $5 billion to his government to rebuild
Gaza. Despite his declaration, Fayyad did not leave his post and
instead acceded to Abbas´ request to continue as prime minister until
the possible formation of a Fatah-Hamas national unity government.7
With the swearing in of a new interim government, the prospects of a
Fatah-Hamas government now appear slim.
Many Israeli and Western observers have tended to interpret Fayyad´s
resignations as tactical moves that would keep him firmly in the
prime minister´s office on the expectation that Hamas-Fatah
reconciliation talks would ultimately fail.8 However, his two
resignations and subsequent return suggest far greater tensions and
political dysfunction. Understanding the Palestinian context of
Fayyad´s severe political limitations reveals a sizable gap between
Western expectations that he can deliver wide-ranging Palestinian
reforms from the "top down" and the starker realities of the
Palestinian street. Both Fatah and Hamas see Fayyad as interfering
with and even threatening their respective political agendas, and
steadfastly reject his U.S.-backed challenge to their authority.
Fayyad´s government was initially established by special decree
following Fatah´s expulsion from Gaza by Hamas in June 2007, when in
reaction Abbas disbanded the Hamas-Fatah national unity government.
However, neither Fayyad nor his government of independent figures
were members of the PLO´s ruling Fatah faction. Rather, they were
independent technocrats from the secular-civil NGO community in the
West Bank. They represented the old Palestinian left and its human
infrastructure from the First Intifada in the late 1980s.
From its inception in 2007, the Fayyad government´s politically
peripheral status set it on a collision course with both Fatah and
Hamas: Fatah has been determined to get rid of Fayyad because he
sidelined them when forming his independent government. Hamas has
rejected Fayyad as prime minister because his Ramallah-based
government was born outside of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian
Legislative Council. In fact, the very existence of the Fayyad
government was perceived as a challenge to the legitimacy of Hamas´
Gaza-based government headed by Ismail Haniye.9
The Palestinian Forces of U.S. Gen. Dayton
Fayyad´s Western-backed security and economic policies only
exacerbated tensions with both Fatah and Hamas. Fayyad cooperated
with U.S. security reform plans in line with the Roadmap to establish
an independent force called the Palestinian National Security Forces -
named the "Dayton forces" by Hamas. Its ranks were vetted and
trained by U.S. security subcontractors in Jordan under the
supervision of Gen. Keith Dayton, U.S. Security Coordinator for the
Palestinian Authority. Under Fayyad´s supervision, the Palestinian
National Security Forces have been mobilized to establish law and
order in West Bank cities including Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem, and
The "Dayton forces" are considered by the U.S. to be the major
success of Fayyad´s government. U.S. enthusiasm over its early
successes has resulted in the doubling of the force to nearly 3,500
troops and a near 70 percent increase in its 2009 budget to $130
The IDF General Staff has also noted the positive contribution of
the "Dayton forces" in preventing violence in the West Bank during
Israel´s war against Hamas in Gaza in the beginning of 2009.11
However, Brig.-Gen. Michael Herzog, chief of staff to Israeli Defense
Minister Ehud Barak, said that while the PA security forces have
improved significantly over the last year, they were still far from
ready to assume full security responsibility in the West Bank.12
Despite noticeable improvements in public security in some of the
major Palestinian West Bank cities, Fayyad´s control of these forces
has upset many in Fatah. Some senior Fatah members have heavily
criticized Fayyad´s lack of a security background,13 while others
have simply been indignant that the unaffiliated Fayyad has replaced
Fatah in the PA´s key security role. The Fatah Central Committee even
voted in November 2008 to compel PA Chairman Abbas to replace Fayyad
as head of the security forces with an approved Fatah member.14
Hamas has viewed Fayyad as far more problematic, with Hamas websites
comparing Fayyad to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Ahmad
Chalabi in Iraq who, they said, were installed by the United States
in order to uproot the Islamic resistance (muquawama).15 Both Hamas
and Fatah´s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades even threatened Fayyad´s life.
Power Struggles in the West Bank
Fayyad´s reform-oriented economic policies were greeted with similar
opposition. The prime minister had encouraged local, private-sector,
business initiatives such as the "economic group" led by Nablus
tycoon Munib al-Masri. Fayyad also initiated high-profile economic
conferences in Nablus and Bethlehem to encourage international
investment. At the same time, Fayyad called on Israel to remove
security checkpoints and facilitate the movement of economic goods
and services as a prerequisite for economic growth.
Fayyad´s Western-style economic reforms and initiatives enhanced
his "most favored Palestinian statesman" status in Washington, but
also disturbed Fatah and Hamas. His reforms threatened Hamas´ "state
within a state" infrastructure in the West Bank, similar to the
infrastructure in Gaza that brought it to power there. Hamas had
governed these infrastructures largely unchallenged until Fayyad´s
appointment in June 2007. Furthermore, Hamas and some Fatah groups
opposed what they understood as PA attempts to anesthetize the
Palestinian armed resistance through Western-backed economic
projects.16 Hamas attacks on the Erez and Karni industrial zones in
Gaza are good illustrations of this attitude.
Fayyad attempted to justify his policy reform moves to Fatah and
Hamas colleagues as fulfilling the Palestinians´ Stage One
obligations according to the Quartet´s diplomatic Roadmap.17 Fayyad
insisted that Palestinian fulfillment of Roadmap obligations would
force Israel to remove West Bank settlement outposts and accept a PA
presence in eastern Jerusalem.18 However, Fatah and Hamas remained
unconvinced, suspecting that fast-track economic progress would douse
the flames of the "liberation struggle" and possibly replace it.
Specifically, Fatah saw its pivotal role threatened in both the
military and economic spheres by Fayyad´s empowerment of the private
sector and the establishment of the independent "Dayton forces" that
were replacing the PA-sanctioned Fatah militias.
Fayyad was also seen as a threat to Hamas military control. His
government was established following the Hamas takeover in Gaza, and
its prime task was to contain Hamas in the West Bank and avoid a
similar bloody putsch there. Fayyad´s motivations were driven by
political self-preservation as opposed to preventing attacks against
Israel. Nonetheless, Fayyad´s National Security Forces arrested Hamas
activists, censored Hamas incitement in Friday mosque sermons,
appointed new loyal mosque preachers, and revised and supervised the
funding of religious affairs.19
In sharp contrast to Fayyad´s moves against Hamas, Fatah had refused
to take similar actions when it was in full control of the PA between
1993 and 2006, in contravention to the security requirements agreed
to at Oslo and in line with the Quartet´s 2002 Roadmap. However,
Fatah appreciated Fayyad´s tough anti-Hamas measures taken after
Fatah was expelled from Gaza.
Fayyad was not naïve. He attempted to curry favor with both
movements. He has continued to pay monthly salaries to nearly 12,000
Hamas Executive Force members, which had been agreed upon by the
short-lived Palestinian national unity government that resulted from
the 2007 Mecca accords.20 It is no small irony that the same PA-
funded Hamas Executive Force fought IDF troops in the recent Gaza
war.21 In addition, in the West Bank, Fayyad was careful not to
undermine Hamas control of municipalities and the social and
educational services they provided to local residents.
Fayyad´s Problems with Fatah
Fayyad also treated Fatah carefully. He avoided confrontation with
the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah´s military wing. In several
cases, such as in Nablus, he even integrated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
leaders as local commanders in the PA´s National Security Forces
(the "Dayton forces"). In general, the thrust of his activity was
directed against the Hamas military wing that was suspected of
plotting to subvert the Palestinian Authority via preaching anti-PA
invective and financing anti-PA activity across the West Bank. Fayyad
made it clear that his forces would work to stop "internal anarchy"
but not "armed resistance" against Israel.22
A good example of the constant struggle of the "Dayton forces" to
defend the PA from a Hamas takeover was noted at a PA cabinet meeting
on June 11, 2009, where it was revealed that Hamas had sought to dig
tunnels under PA security installations.23
Fayyad also reached local agreements with Fatah militias according to
which activists would keep their weapons hidden at home and suspend
anti-Israel terror operations in exchange for being left alone by PA
security forces.24 Some Fatah terror operatives were even sheltered
in PA installations during negotiations with Israel to pardon them
and remove them from Israel´s wanted list.25
Zakariya Zubeidi, commander of the Aqsa Martyrs in Jenin, challenged
the understandings with Fayyad by appearing armed at a June 12, 2009,
interview with the Israeli Yediot Ahronot newspaper during which he
explained why he has agreed to refrain from armed resistance while
promising to return to cooperation with Hamas "the moment the order
At the same time, the Aqsa Martyrs were reportedly involved with
Hizbullah in subversive activity in Egypt.27 The official Palestinian
news agency Wafa was quick to announce a statement by the Aqsa
Martyrs declaring that they had severed relations with Hizbullah,28
but the announcement implied continued PA recognition of the Aqsa
Brigades. The Fatah militia also admitted that Hizbullah had been its
only source of financing, an indication of Iranian influence in the
Furthermore, while Fayyad´s "Dayton forces" dispersed Hamas
demonstrations in the West Bank during the Gaza war, they did not act
against the protests of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which violated
standing agreements that its members conceal their weapons and desist
from public displays of force. They only moved against Hamas.
Fayyad´s bid to reach a modus vivendi with other Fatah leaders also
partially succeeded. The fact that his government was based on the
local West Bank leadership as opposed to the old Fatah "Tunis
leadership" helped him in stabilizing and even enhancing relations
with jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Bargouti and Fatah´s former
Preventative Security head Muhammad Dahlan.29 Fayyad has visited
Bargouti in prison on several occasions.
However, Fayyad´s attempts to curry favor with Fatah met with only
limited success. Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members accused Fayyad of
being an American agent and published threats against him,30 as
rivals in Fatah´s "old guard" leadership mobilized to pass
resolutions in official Fatah meetings calling for Fayyad´s ouster.31
Fayyad´s siding with the "young guard" also fanned economic
rivalries. Fayyad´s shared economic interests with Munib al-Masri´s
economic group clashed with the economic interests of the "old guard"
in several cases that have likely negatively affected his relations
with PA Chairman Abbas.32 Economic and political tensions between the
two leaders have reached new heights. Abbas even surprised President
Obama during their recent meeting in Washington when he suggested
nominating another prime minister instead of Fayyad due to "Fatah
opposition."33 However, a more compelling reason was Fayyad´s winning
of a hotly contested, multi-million dollar cell phone contract that
apparently caused Abbas a major loss of prestige and exposed the PA
treasury to a major financial setback.34
Hamas writer Ibrahim al-Madhun noted on the Hamas website al-
Bayan: "What the Arab public does not know is that Salam Fayyad is
not welcomed by Fatah even in the West Bank. He is not pleased with
the Fatah movement and perceives it as an anarchic organization that
needs to be destroyed from the foundations and rebuilt in a way that
corresponds to the Israeli occupation. The Fayyad danger to Fatah is
greater than to Hamas."35
The Sharm a-Sheikh Aid Conference
The Sharm a-Sheikh Palestinian aid conference, hosted by Egypt in
January 2009, placed Fayyad in an untenable situation. The
international community pledged more than $5 billion for Gaza
reconstruction.36 However, the international community conditioned
the aid with a demand to bypass Hamas completely. Egypt insisted on
the precondition of a successful outcome of reconciliation talks with
Hamas in Cairo. The Gulf emirates and Saudi Arabia conditioned their
donations on channeling funds directly to construction projects on
the ground in Gaza, thereby bypassing both Fatah and Hamas. For its
part, Hamas established a special bank in Gaza to receive Qatari aid
and that of other friendly parties to bypass the PA.
Despite mutual enmity, Fatah and Hamas have been motivated to
cooperate in undermining Fayyad as the point man for international
aid. In their view, if he were to receive even part of the pledged $5
billion, he and his government would be strengthened. Hamas regarded
itself as the legitimate recipient of the money, resenting Fayyad´s
role as financial gate-keeper and accusing him of being an agent of
the United States.37
At the same time, Fayyad also faced an acute financial crisis when he
was unable to pay salaries to PA officials on multiple occasions.38
This was largely due to the fact that much of the $7 billion in
international pledges from the 2007 Paris donors conference had still
not been delivered.39
The pressures on Fayyad resulting from the discontent of the
Palestinian street forced him to make sharply anti-Israel
declarations to survive politically. He warned that he would compel
Israel to yield to international resolutions and demanded that Israel
remove all roadblocks, implement the Gaza-West Bank "safe passage,"
cease all settlement construction, and end military operations in the
Implications for Fatah-Hamas Relations
Fayyad´s resignation and return to office may have far-reaching
repercussions for the future stability of the PA, since Hamas and
Fatah made it clear that, from their respective perspectives,
Fayyad´s resignation was final.41 Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Fatah
bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council, demanded the appointment
of a Fatah prime minister.42 Some Fatah groups also threatened
violence to change the political reality in the PA.43
Fatah-Hamas "anti-Fayyad" coordination may play out in several ways.
First, there may be upgraded opposition to Fayyad´s "Dayton forces,"
which were seen to be operating in collaboration with Israel by
Fatah, Hamas, and other Palestinian factions. Second, both Fatah
militias and Hamas share the need for an external enemy like Israel,
which had traditionally served as an effective, if temporary,
unifying factor that masked internal Palestinian rivalries during the
This is significant in view of the mutual suspicion and enmity
between Fatah and Hamas and the likely collapse of their national
unity talks in Egypt, which could easily devolve into a new round of
violence against Israel.45 Fayyad can neither temper nor join his
Fatah and Hamas rivals. His version of non-violent political activity
against Israel, such as demonstrations against the West Bank security
barrier in which he had participated on several occasions, have not
been widely popular.46 Fatah and Hamas have both rejected his non-
The government of Salam Fayyad reflects the intention of the United
States to generate a reform process in the PA that would create a new
framework through which the Palestinians could move from an era of
gangsterism, armed resistance, and terror to an era of nation-
building and statehood. Fayyad has led a commendable effort to
advance this new agenda. However, the PA´s embattled prime minister
does not have the political infrastructure to carry the weight of
this burden. He lacks a political base and has threatened existing
Palestinian political frameworks. Moreover, Washington´s notion that
reformed political power can be purchased is naïve. In fact, Fayyad´s
unprecedented control of Western donations makes him a ripe target
for both Fatah and Hamas.
His alliance with the "young guard" Fatah leadership has thus far
proved to be insufficient and the deals he has made with local
warlords and militia groups in the West Bank have severely
compromised his state-building project. Fayyad is now encircled.
Hamas and Fatah are united against him, the donor community has not
fulfilled its commitments, and the collapse of the Wataniyya cellular
phone company venture risks future investments and destabilizes the
already vulnerable PA treasury, while Fayyad´s anti-Israel posture
will likely backfire with the Netanyahu government in Israel.
This raises new questions as to the future of the "Dayton forces"
that have been so highly touted in Washington circles as representing
a stable, effective, centralized military force. The recent bloody
confrontations between Fayyad´s "Dayton forces" and Hamas may point
to further armed confrontation both within the Palestinian ranks and
1. Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh, "Can the Palestinian Authority´s
Fatah Forces Retake Gaza?" Jerusalem Viewpoints, no. 569, Jerusalem
Center for Public Affairs, Jan.-Feb. 2009.
3. According to Adnan Dmeri, Spokesman for PA National Security
Forces, Al Jazeera, May 31, 2009.
4. Interview with a senior Fatah security official in Ramallah, May
5. For example, the new government includes "young guard" figures
such as Hatem Abd al-Qader, Marwan Bargouti´s deputy in the Tanzim
supreme committee. Other "young guard" figures such as Hussein a-
Sheikh are known to be close to Muhammad Dahlan. The general
impression in Palestinian circles is that Dahlan is playing an
increasingly powerful role in the composition of the new government.
6. The text of Fayyad´s resignation can be found at
7. Fayyad interview with Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, April 2, 2009,
8. Assessment by Yuval Diskin, Head of the Israeli Security Agency,
to the Netanyahu Cabinet, March 29, 2009, as reported on Israel
9. Al-Bayan, a Hamas website (in Arabic), said Fayyad´s resignation
would not be rescinded and compared Fayyad to Afghanistan President
Hamid Karzai, whom Washington had installed in Muslim territory in
order to uproot the muqawama - the "Islamic resistance."
bb732c3d9033.aspx. "The end of the Salam Fayyad phenomenon in the
Palestinian arena....The first Fayyad mission was to participate in
eliminating Yasser Arafat and demolishing his financial influence,
but his basic mission was eliminating the Palestinian resistance and
creating a new Palestinian regime that will follow the Zionist
entity." Also, a Hamas leaflet in the West Bank, reacting to the
resignation, said: "There will be no government that follows the USA
shape." http://www.omamah.org/?x=3&z=81&y=21. Leading Hamas figure
Mahmud Zahar went as far as stating, "even if they give us the sun in
our hands, we shall not accept that Fayyad will head the government."
10. Speech by Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, U.S. Security Coordinator for
Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, Washington Institute
for Near East Policy, May 7, 2009,
also, "U.S. Plans to Expand Program for Abbas´ Forces," Reuters,
April 27, 2009.
11. Dayton Speech, May 7, 2009. Dayton noted: "The results are beyond
our most optimistic expectations and they relate directly to the
title of this talk, ‘Peace through Security.´ The facts on the ground
have changed, and will continue to change. The situation may be
fragile; there are many challenges ahead. But this is real progress
in changing facts on the ground." A senior IDF source told the
authors in a meeting in Jerusalem on May 24, 2009, that the IDF
General Staff has been impressed with the Dayton forces´ abilities to
enforce public order in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West
12. Speech by Brig.-Gen. Michael Herzog, "The Middle East Security
Agenda, an Israeli Assessment," Washington Institute for Near East
Policy, May 7, 2009,
13. Senior Fatah personnel blamed Fayyad for administering the
security organs as an "accountant" and not as a military
professional. Meeting in Ramallah with a senior Fatah official,
January 12, 2009.
14. Diker and Abu Toameh.
16. Dan Diker, "Peace Parks and Pipe Dreams," Jerusalem Post,
November 26, 2007.
17. Al-Quds al-Arabi, April 23, 2009.
18. See also Fayyad interview with the Medialine News Agency website
in which he warned that he would compel Israel to yield to
international resolutions like the Roadmap.
noted: "The Roadmap is an international document. Actually it has
become itself a matter of international law because there is UN
Security Council Resolution 1515 that actually deals with that. I
think the issue should be, ‘Isn´t it time already for there to be
insistence on applying international law as it is and stop what has
become a common practice of negotiating it?´ A commitment is a
commitment and obligations are obligations." On the occasion of Land
Day events in the Bethlehem area he went further, declaring
that, "Israel must take immediate steps with no negotiations of
compliance to the Roadmap, removing the siege, activating the safe
passage, stopping settlement activity and assailing the PA
authorities." Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, March 26, 2009. The Palestinian
ambassador in Stockholm, Dr. Haidar Abd a-Shafi, admitted that the EU
decision to link the upgrade of its relations with Israel with its
obligations to the two-state solution was a result of Abbas´ and
Fayyad´s diplomacy in Europe. Al-Quds, March 2, 2009. At a gathering
for Gaza that took place in Ramallah on March 11, 2009, Fayyad
boasted that he succeeded in pressuring Israel through the
international community and isolated the "Hebrew" (he does not
recognize the Jewish state) state for inflicting massive damage on
Gaza. He demanded that Israel unconditionally yield to international
demands and open all roadblocks and the Gaza-West Bank safe passage,
and cease all settlement construction as well as military incursions
in the West Bank. Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, March 12, 2009.
19. Ibrahim al-Madhun noted on the al-Bayan website: "The strategic
mistake that Salam Fayyad committed lately was his animosity to the
Hamas movement in the West Bank and the operations of the security
organs of killing, kidnapping (arresting) and torturing of hundreds
of Hamas fighters...and closing down charity institutions as well as
educational and health care that belong or are close to Hamas, and
the ambitious Fayyad did not understand that the Hamas movement is
the ‘main gate´ to Palestinian legal and national policy and that
every attempt to bypass it is doomed to failure."
20. Diker and Abu Toameh.
21. The al-Ahed website (in Arabic) reported on April 8, 2009, that
after Israel permitted the transfer of money to Gaza, the (Fayyad)
government sent salaries to Gaza banks for the benefit of PA
government employees "and military personnel" which included
thousands of Hamas operatives. http://www.alaahd.com/arabic/?
22. The Palestinian representative in Lebanon, Fatah senior official
Abbas Zaki, in an interview on PA TV, shed light on the nature of
Hamas´ subversive activity in the West Bank. He had tried to
intervene with Abbas and Fayyad in favor of some of Hamas´ detainees
in order to release them. He said, "I received detailed information
on plans to commit assassinations of responsible personnel and formal
commanders in addition to being involved in smuggling and storing
huge quantities of weapons and smuggling of illegal funds. The
problem was that the weapons that they stored were not (slated to be)
used against Israel but were prepared for different targets." Al-
Hayat al-Jadeeda, January 31, 2009.
24. Diker and Abu Toameh.
25. Even Islamic Jihad terrorists found shelter from Israeli pursuit
in Fayyad installations in Jenin. See
http://www.maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=139862 (Arabic). On
the shelter of the Aqsa Martyrs in Bethlehem, see
26. Yanna Pevzner, "Beyond the Bullet," Yediot Ahronot, June 12,
28. Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, April 18, 2009.
29. It is not surprising therefore that Dahlan´s website Pal Press
endorsed Fayyad´s return as head of a Palestinian unity government.
30. Diker and Abu Toameh.
32. An open dispute broke out between Fayyad and Abbas over advancing
the interests of competing cellular phone companies Jawwal and
Wataniyya. While Fayyad supported Jawwal´s partnership with a leading
Kuwaiti company, Zain, Abbas supported Kuwaiti competitor Wataniyya.
communications advisor, Dr. Sabri Saidam, insisted that before the PA
approved the agreement, Jawwal must disconnect from Munib´s Paltel
concern. Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, April 5, 2009. See also
33. Authors´ meeting with senior Fatah sources, Ramallah, June 10,
34. Al-Jazeera, June 6, 2009. For more on the Wataniyya-Zain cell
phone contract crisis, see
35. During the Cairo reconciliation meetings, Hamas and Fatah
exchanged views on a variety of topics including their shared
interest in removing Fayyad, http://www.albian.ps/ar/portal/7f1a6b0a-
36. Amira Hass, "International Donors Pledge $5.2 Billion for Gaza
Reconstruction," Ha´aretz, March 2, 2009.
37. Hamas threatened Fayyad not to channel the Gaza money to
Ramallah. Hamas, on its main Palestinian Information Center website,
accused the Sharm e-Sheikh conference of bolstering Abbas´ authority
in the West Bank at the expense of the victims of Israel´s Gaza
operation as well as the owners of the demolished houses in
Z9vIOAwAyZMbwoOuCjJZYI%2biCs8okgPE%3d. Also, during the Gaza war
Hamas published reports about alleged security cooperation between
the IDF and the "Dayton forces." For example, see the Hamas website
Palestine Today for March 19, 2009: "Abbas´ Organs in Hebron
Delivered Three Hamas Supporters to the Occupation." See also
38. Fayyad´s intended delay in paying salaries to security organs
that were recruited before the formation of the "Dayton forces"
created a serious showdown between all Fatah military personnel and
the new conscripts. http://www.alaahd.com/arabic/?
action=detail&id=7579. Fayyad government secretary Dr. Sa´di al-Krunz
admitted to al-Ahd, one of Fatah´s websites, that no money entered
the PA from the Sharm e-Sheikh summit "despite the organs set up for
them and the Paris donors´ summit." http://www.alaahd.com/arabic/?
39. On June 16, 2009, the PA´s Ramallah-based information minister,
Riyadh al-Malki, admitted that only $760 million arrived at the PA
treasury from the January 2008 Paris donor conference at which $7
billion had been committed to the PA. Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, June 17,
40. See note 18.
41. Hamas leader Ibrahim al-Madhun said: "It is the Hamas movement´s
duty while preparing for the national dialogue to remove Fayyad from
any future government whatsoever and help the Fatah movement to put
an end to the U.S.´s project in the West Bank."
43. Al-Quds al-Arabi, May 20, 2009. Fatah sources also noted that
Fatah groups planned to organize major disturbances in Ramallah and
the West Bank and that major trade unions will refuse to cooperate
with the Abbas-Fayyad government.
44. David Makovsky, Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East
Peace Process project at the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy, expressed concern over the future of the "Dayton forces" in
the event Hamas and Fatah agree on a unity government.
The Islamic Jihad website, "Palestine Today," revealed from Hamas
sources the points of agreement and disagreement over security
cooperation. They only mentioned the "old" security organs and
explicitly avoided any mention of the "Dayton forces."
http://www.paltoday.com/arabic/News-41294.html. Also, according to
the Fatah website Al-Ahed, Hamas accepted Abu Ala´s suggestion
following the return of Fayyad to office that Fatah and Hamas
amahestablish a joint security committee, which can only be
understood in the context of a joint rejection of Fayyad´s "Dayton
45. Hamas has announced that it is ready for a new military Intifada
in the West Bank, http://www.omamah.org/?x=3&z=212&y=7.
46. On March 22, 2009, Fayyad convened in his bureau the committees
of the "popular intifada" as opposed to the military one. These
committees were charged with organizing the popular activities
against the security barrier and the settlements. Fayyad told
them: "This example of resistance received respect, appreciation and
support worldwide." See Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, March 22 2009.
47. Hamas´ rejection of Fayyad´s "non-violent" Intifada is obvious.
As for Fatah, al-Quds daily published a report on March 8, 2009,
about a meeting at Al-Quds University with the participation of Fatah
cadres in preparation for the 6th General Congress and in their
concluding statement they said: "To stick to the resistance
strategy...(alongside) the political alternatives...[is] not being
limited to one alternative." "Resistance" here means terror. A senior
Fatah official from Bethlehem, Nafez Rifai, said that the "anti-wall"
activities such as in Ni´lin and Bil´in can be applied as
a "successful modus operandi" after the South African example. That
is to say, Fatah adheres to the old military struggle principle but
is ready to adopt other useful methods in addition to the "armed
struggle." However, he indirectly attacked Fayyad from another angle,
saying: "The Fatah leadership will end up penniless as a result of
non-patriotic agendas trying to undermine the movement financially."
Dan Diker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at
the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he is also a senior
foreign policy analyst. He is also an Adjunct Fellow of the Hudson
Institute in Washington.
Pinhas Inbari is a senior policy analyst at the Jerusalem Center for
Public Affairs. He is also a veteran Palestinian affairs
correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar
newspaper, and currently reports for several foreign media outlets.
He is the author of a number of books on the Palestinians including
The Palestinians: Between Terrorism and Statehood.
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