Posted by Emily on 26 August 2009 at 5:15pm:
On Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad declared to The Times the Palestinians would have their own de facto state within two years, with or without negotiations with the Israelis. Citing the failure of peace talks over the last 16 years he declared, “Why not change the discourse? We have decided to be proactive, to expedite the end of the occupation by working very hard to build positive facts on the ground, consistent with having our state emerge as a fact that cannot be ignored” (see more).
Our two local broadsheets also reported on these statements. Please read Palestinians planning to bypass Israel for ‘state’ from The Age and Palestinians to set up own state to end the occupation from the Australian. To read more from the Israeli press, see here and here.
I think there are many ways to look at Fayyad’s statements. For example, Barry Rubin presents an interesting overview by reading between the lines of what is genuine facts on the ground and what is simply political rhetoric in his piece: ‘Palestinian Prime Minister: We’ll build state institutions in two years. What have you been doing for the last 15?’ I feel that it is easy to be critical, to question what measures, if any, have been taken to curb terror and incitement by the PA, to ask why they are choosing to do this unilaterally without negotiating with Israel (and let us not forget that Israel did the same thing when unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza in 2005). It is a lot easier to be cynical and suspicious.
Nevertheless, perhaps these will be vital steps on the road to Palestinian statehood. For decades many have been asking the Palestinian people to take responsibility, to create positive foundations for the future Palestinian state. Furthermore, we have criticized Hamas for taking what the settlers in the Gaza Strip left behind and destroying all hope for a vibrant economy by destroying the hothouses and other essential resources.
I have mentioned in these updates over the past few months about the ways in which things are slowly changing in the West Bank, both in regards to the security forces and in relation to the quite economic boom that has been occurring. So when the Prime Minister of the Palestinian people declares that “what is required is greater clarity and greater accountability”, I for one would like to have a little faith.
But I think that Prime Minister Fayyad needs to understand that cooperation and understanding must go both ways. And if he is going to talk about greater accountability, then the PA must also take greater accountability, and if they want to choose the path to peace, then their actions must also promote peace.
Perhaps the strongest condemnation of Fayyad’s statements so far (though I am yet to see any comment at all from the Israeli camp) comes from the Palestinians themselves, many who believe that these statements about a Palestinian state by 2011 should have been made by Palestinian President and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas sources declared that the statement was “not worth the paper it was written on” (see more).
Finally, I would like to digress from this issue and draw your attention to a report I just received from Terrorism Info about summer camps in Gaza. When you think about summer camps I am sure the images you are conjuring up in your head relate to activities such as hiking, canoeing and children singing songs around a camp fire. In Gaza, things are a little different. In Gaza, they integrate social activities with political and Islamic indoctrination and semi-military training. The goal is to foster a new generation of Hamas terrorist operatives (see more). Based on these images alone, I know which group I would prefer to be in charge of the future of the Palestinian people.
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01 – SARI:
which action are we taking? How could be proactive too?
02 – ANDREW:
How can you have faith in p. leadership? they say one thing to a Western audience and do the other in the comfort of their mosques and schools.
03 – MALVINA:
I agree with Barry Rubin. But nevertheless, perhaps Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is tired of waiting, not for Israel, but for his own PA mates,- not to mention the Hamasniks,- to agree to anything vis-a-vis Israel. Perhaps he realizes that terrorism as a means of getting anywhere is no longer the way to go for his people. It’s too competitive a strategy to make the headlines these days in the world!
So he may have come to the conclusion that the perennial victimhood of his people is not getting them anywhere and they now have to prove that they can also govern themselves, by themselves and hopefully, responsibly!
04 – GERSHON
The Two State Solution already exists. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is the Palestinian State and the State of Israel is the Jewish State. In addition to Jordan there are 66 Arab / Muslim nations where the Palestinians can settle. But there is only one tiny land on this Earth which is called Eretz Israel, the Jewish Homeland. Fayyad has no right to take away that! On the other hand, we do not understand where he wants to declare the Palestinian State? King Abdullah will not give away his throne and the People of Israel will not abandon Eretz Israel.
Lets get serious again. Fayyad knows that the Palestinians are the most disliked people in the Middle East. They do not want to build a home for themselves. They just want to continue with terror. In the past 62 years they had the same opportunity as Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany had. Both nations absorbed millions of penniless people and built prosperous democracies. The Palestinians wasted all donations on terror and they will do it again as long as the donor nations pamper them. What is the real solution? Let the Arab countries absorb those people who call themselves Palestinian and let Israel, Jordan, Egypt and other countries live in peace with each other.
05 – S.
Establishing the institutions of a functioning state without sovereignty was what the Jews in Palestine did before 1948. If only the Arabs could emulate the Jewish experience there might be a glimmer of hope and your faith might be rewarded.
Barry Rubin can’t count. It should “What have you been doing for the past 61 years?”