Video: Salam Fayyad on Building Palestine

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Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was compelling and showed real vision in this talk at the New America Foundation sponsored by the American Strategy Program and the Palestine Note. It’s worth the watch.
Special thanks to James Fallows for standing in for me as chair of the event on short notice – and thanks to Amjad Atallah of the New America Foundation Middle East Task Force for managing questions and to Fadi Elsalameen of the Palestine Note for co-hosting this with us.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

23 comments on “Video: Salam Fayyad on Building Palestine

  1. JohnH says:

    Hmm–as long as Nadine is bringing up the sins of Arafat, shouldn’t we talk about the Butcher of Beirut, Ariel Sharon? Sharon personally oversaw massacres at Sabra and Shatila as well a Qibya…
    And the sad part is that a terr-rrorr-rist like Sharon can be elected to lead the country and branded as a “man of peace.”

    Reply

  2. JohnH says:

    No, that’s a terr-rrorr-rrist, according to the conventional pronunciation of Israel government officials. Their terr-rrorr-rrist threat system is not based on color coding, but on the number of times they roll an “R” when they pronounce it.
    Hamas probably gets a couple extra rolls, making them “terr-rrorr-rrorr-rrists.”

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  3. Paul Norheim says:

    A “terrist” is someone who question the legitimacy of Jewish
    settlements on the sacred “terre” of Judea and Samaria and East
    Jerusalem.

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  4. nadine says:

    What’s a “terrist”? Is that some kind of extreme environmentalist who believes the pollution of humanity should be removed from the sacred Terre, like the nut who took hostages at the Discovery Channel a few weeks ago?

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  5. Paul Norheim says:

    I told you they’re terrist supporting leftwing extremists and
    Holocaust deniers.

    Reply

  6. nadine says:

    So what else do you expect from the WaPo?

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    And it looks like the leftwing extremists at the Washington Post
    calls it a “split” too:
    “Israeli Foreign Minister breaks with Netanyahu over peace talks
    UNITED NATIONS–Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
    on Tuesday broke ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin
    Netanyahu’s peace strategy, telling the UN General Assembly
    that Israel should drop plans to negotiate a peace deal within
    the next year, and pursue a two-stage interim pact that could
    lead to decades of negotiations and the redrawing of Israel’s
    borders to separate Arabs and Israelis.
    The remarks, which triggered a walkout by the Palestinian
    delegation, prompted an immediate disavowal by Netanyahu’s
    office. The prime minister has vowed to participate in U.S.-
    sponsored peace talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
    that aim at leading to the creation of a Palestinian state within a
    year.
    “The content of the foreign ministers speech at the United
    Nations was not coordinated with the prime minister. Prime
    Minister Netanyahu is the one who is managing the political
    negotiations of the state of Israel,” according to a statement
    from Netanyahu’s office
    The split in the Israel government underscored the friction
    within Netanyahu’s coalition government, which includes
    Liberman’s ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu, over peace talks.
    Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed to seek a final settlement
    pact that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state within
    a year.”
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/checkpoint-
    washington/2010/09/israeli_foreign_minister_break.html?
    hpid=topnews

    Reply

  8. Paul Norheim says:

    Maybe Obama could ask Netanyahu to sack Lieberman and
    appoint him as US Sec of State? He could do a good job
    faithfully implementing Obama’s open hand diplomacy vis a
    vis Iran.
    Ooops, I forgot Hillary…

    Reply

  9. Paul Norheim says:

    I called it a split, hairsplitter.

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    The Jpost doesn’t call it a “split,” merely Lieberman shooting off his mouth again.
    Lieberman, having no real portfolio to mind (Bibi does his own foreign policy, esp. with the US) tends to commit gaffes of excessive frankness. They don’t matter much, since Bibi is in charge of keeping up the charade that Obama has demanded. Most of the Israeli political spectrum agrees with Lieberman that only interim agreements are possible.
    It sounds like even Obama is starting to notice that the Palestinians are the problem with negotiations. If you have an undying faith that you’ll inherit everything for free someday, and you’re quite comfortable where you are now, why on earth would you pay now for what you’ll eventually get for nothing? That’s how the Palestinians figure it.
    It’s not a “split.” But you can call it a “splinter” if it makes you feel better ūüėČ

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  11. nadine says:

    “It looks to me like the United States has finally reached the end of the road in the peace process business. Time to hand off the whole mess to someone else. ”
    If the smartest President in the universe has finally realized what any Mideast expert could have told him on day one, that would be an improvement.
    Mind you, it’s not just us eeeeevil neocons saying so — look at today’s Richard Cohen column in the WaPo!

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    It’s not only emanating from the Jew-haters at Haaretz and
    the New York Times, but also from the Jerusalem Post:
    http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=189554

    Reply

  13. nadine says:

    “Of course not. US policy during both the Bush and Obama administrations has been to keep Palestinians divided so that they can be conquered. Washington is very eager to keep all of the Gazans behind lock and key in their Israeli jail, and to make sure that Israel never has to deal with a negotiating partner that represents the whole of the Palestinian people.” (Dan Kervick)
    The odd thing about the Gaza “jail” is that Hamas holds the keys — not the usual arrangement. Hamas is the warder of Gaza. It is Hamas who reneged on the PA agreements and placed itself firmly in Iran’s “resistance” camp of never recognizing Israel and plotting to destroy it and kill the Jews.
    As usual, it is amusing watching you twist your logic into pretzels to avoid ever attaching any responsibility to Hamas for their own decisions.

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    “Many commenters have noticed the split between the PA and Hamas, and the fact that the PA doesn’t represent the Palestinians. Apparently
    there is a similar split within the Israeli government:”
    Hamas doesn’t represent the Palestinians either.
    All breathless expressions of “collision courses within the Likud” emanating from Haaretz should be taken the same way as Democratic proclamations of imminent civil wars within the GOP: with several large grains of salt.

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    Many commenters have noticed the split between the PA and Hamas, and the fact that the PA doesn’t represent the Palestinians. Apparently
    there is a similar split within the Israeli government:
    “Earlier Tuesday, Lieberman [The Israeli Foreign Minister] presented the UN General Assembly with his draft for a population and territory
    swap, as part of an eventual peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
    Under Lieberman’s controversial scheme, part of Israel’s Arab population would be moved to a newly created Palestinian state, in return for
    evacuation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
    “A final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians has to be based on a program of exchange of territory and populations,” Lieberman
    told the UN General Assembly in New York.
    An earlier statement by the Prime Minister’s Office stated that “Lieberman’s address was not coordinated with the prime minister,” adding
    that “Netanyahu is the one handling the negotiations on Israel’s behalf. The various issues surrounding a peace agreement will be discussed
    and decided only at the negotiating table, and nowhere else.”
    The PMO’s statement Tuesday essentially put Netanyahu and Lieberman on a public collision course, after the foreign minister effectively
    expressed his disagreement with Netanyahu’s peace-talks policies.”
    More here:
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-israel-palestinians-can-reach-mideast-peace-in-a-year-1.316220

    Reply

  16. Dan Kervick says:

    It looks to me like the United States has finally reached the end of the road in the peace process business. Time to hand off the whole mess to someone else.

    Reply

  17. Don Bacon says:

    I don’t believe that Clinton ever said she was a broker. She (and State) talked about merely facilitating and hosting the two-party talks. Typical Obama administration hands-off strategy. Don’t leave any fingerprints. And then: “We tried.”
    Now Fatah is talking to Hamas about reconciliation and a new election — that should keep Foggy Bottom busy for awhile. Doing what, I don’t have a clue (besides trying to buy votes in any election). Does anyone?

    Reply

  18. Matthew says:

    Dan: Even Abbas realizes that the US can’t deliver now. It would be beneficial for both the USA and the Palestinians if the US gave up its self-appointed (and profoundly ironic) role of “good faith” broker.

    Reply

  19. Dan Kervick says:

    Reports are that Hillary Clinton was not pleased to hear that Abu Mazen blowing off Obama’s big talks in order to talk to Hamas.
    Of course not. US policy during both the Bush and Obama administrations has been to keep Palestinians divided so that they can be conquered. Washington is very eager to keep all of the Gazans behind lock and key in their Israeli jail, and to make sure that Israel never has to deal with a negotiating partner that represents the whole of the Palestinian people.

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    “Thank you, Mr. Rothkopf.” (John Waring)
    Yawn. Another liberal Jew seeking to redefine “pro-Israel” to mean “anti-Israel”. Or maybe on every third day, “deeply ambivalent about Israel.” If, mind you, Israel displays super-duper moral excellence sufficient to excuse its continued existence.
    What a crock. When did we go from “we expect more of Israel because they are a democracy” to “we expect more of Israel because they are the only grownups in the room” to “we expect more of Israel because they must demonstrate they are an endless font of unilateral concessions for us to tolerate their existence”? What a mug’s game.
    Meantime, the Palestinians are still led by irresponsible kleptocrats and terrorists, but that’s just fine. Poor babies, can’t expect anything better from them! They’re “occupied”. Nice work if you can get it. They have no wish to become unoccupied any time soon. God forbid, somebody might expect them to become responsible for themselves.
    So Abu Mazen has skipped out of the negotiations with a big smile on his face, like an eight year-old on the last day of school. He’s secretly blowing kisses to Bibi Netanyahu, thanking him for not extending the settlement freeze.
    Meanwhile, talks have apparently been making real progress. Oh, not the talks between Israel and the PA; the talks between Hamas and the PA:
    “DAMASCUS, Syria

    Reply

  21. John Waring says:

    Please read the just posted article by Mr. David Rothkopf. Here is the link.
    http://rothkopf.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/09/27/when_morality_realism_and_interests_align_extend_the_set
    Thank you, Mr. Rothkopf. Rather than curse the darkness, you have lighted a candle.

    Reply

  22. Don Bacon says:

    I listened to most of this (boring talk) as penance for a double post on another thread. Okay, second offense.
    Prime Minister Salam Fayyad referred only vaguely to the kinds of ongoing problems noted above, talking about the general difficulties of living under occupation.
    In his speech he mainly spoke of the importance of the document “homestretch to freedom,” a “framework for government” which the PA drew up in August 2009 and which envisions a Palestinian state by August 2011. Without detailing what is actually in the document he spoke *extensively* about it as a morale-building instrument for Palestinians, something that would give them a sense of empowerment.
    During the Q&A Fayyad did get more specific on issues:
    * Statehood & freedom would unleash new energies
    * Need to resolve differences w/Hamas, primarily security issues, and reach an understanding. Israel governs w/coalition and Pals could do the same
    * Regarding Netanyahus demand for recognition as Jewish state, PLO recognized Israel at Oslo 2009 but Israel never recognized Pal right to statehood. Israel recognized refugees as an issue at Oslo. Need to negotiate on refugees as an issue separate from statehood.
    * He supported international boycott of West Bank settlement products and believes it doesn’t affect statehood negotiations.
    * International Court of justice opinion in 2004 that settlement activity is illegal, need more respect for int’l law
    * PA is unable to help Gaza physically because of siege but has transferred $4.2bn

    Reply

  23. Cee says:

    * air strikes against Gaza, killing two Palestinian civilians in another one;
    * peaceful protesters attacked in Gaza and the West Bank;
    * live rounds and shells fired against farmers and workers in the Strip’s border areas, killing an old man, his grandchild, another boy, and 30 sheep;
    * over 100 live rounds fired at an Erez Crossing peaceful demonstration near Beit Hanoun;
    * its medieval siege maintained, suffocating 1.5 million people and preventing 40,000 students from attending UN schools;
    * violations against Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons escalated; most are political prisoners;
    http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2010/09/24/killing-palestinians-with-impunity/
    * 16 new Jordan Valley demolition orders for Palestinian barns and greenhouses issued plus others to bulldoze their homes;
    * 87 incursions into West Bank communities and three in Gaza in the first half of September, arresting 43 civilians, including nine children; and
    * unabated illegal settlement construction.

    Reply

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