Remember all the Western journalists praising Fayyad in the West Bank?

It was an illusion, built on seemingly endless Western aid and no plan to end the Zionist occupation on Palestinian land:

For years, Fayyad’s soft talk and cheery dedication enabled policymakers throughout the world to ignore the brewing crisis. And this may be where Fayyad, despite his impressive management skills, did Palestinians a disservice.

In 2009, the incoming Obama administration was quickly lured into a set of approaches (many inherited from the Bush years) that proved their complete bankruptcy this year — ignoring Gaza and allowing its population to be squeezed hard, pretending that there was a meaningful Israeli-Palestinian negotiation process at hand, assuming that Hamas could be dealt with after the peace process and Fayyad had worked their magic, and making the paradoxical and erroneous assumption that the best way to build Palestinian institutions was to rely on a specific, virtuous individual.

Fayyad cannot be held primarily responsible for this collective self-delusion; at most, he facilitated it. And in the process he provided all actors with a breathing space that is now disappearing. Ultimately, the ones who convinced themselves he was capable of completely transforming Palestine are most responsible for squandering the brief respite his premiership offered.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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