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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fayyad's propaganda road

A press release that is apparently from the Palestine Prime Minister's office although I couldn't find it on its website:

We build roads of peace, the Israeli government destroys them. We plant trees to protect our environment, they uproot them. We send our young children to school and their soldiers bully them and beat them up. Our state-building efforts meet with state-destruction by Israel.

We note with alarm that Israel continues with its persistent policy of destroying infrastructure that we build for our people on our land, economic projects and private homes. Prime Minster Netanyahu is vociferously fighting for the rights of Israeli settlers to illegally build on Palestinian land while Israeli soldiers and settlers relentlessly attack, destroy, and violate Palestinian children, women, and the elderly within their own neighborhoods and homes. The unwarranted destruction of the “Freedom Road” in the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan by the Israeli authorities is an affront to all countries that contributed to building this road for Palestinian families to access their homes, schools, agricultural land, and health clinics. We request donors to report back to their capitals on the unjustifiable destruction of this road that was paid for through the generous support of their tax payers.
Here's the photo that accompanied the release:

So why are the evil Israelis destroying Palestinian Arab roads that are only meant to help little old Arab ladies get to their health clinics?

The answer is that the road was not built to help Palestinian Arabs, but rather for the purpose of forcing Israel to destroy it so that the above press release could be written and heartbreaking photos can be distributed.

Because what Salam Fayyad's office is not saying is that this road was built in Area C, the part of the West Bank that remains under full Israeli control under the Oslo Accords. Fayyad is simply not allowed to build there according to the existing agreements.

As the LA Times Babylon and Beyond blog states:
According to the Oslo breakdown of the West Bank, Area C, which makes up more than 60% of the West Bank land, remains under full Israeli military control. But Area C is also an important segment in Fayyad’s state building program, crucial to his dream of setting up the necessary infrastructure for a viable Palestinian state by August 2011.

Israeli officials had informed Fayyad and the village residents that they would not allow the road because it was located in an area under its full control.

According to the village mayor, the Israeli army tried to stop construction on the $335,000 road, paid for by the Palestinian Authority, several times. But they continued with the project, and when the road was completed, Israeli officials informed the mayor two days before the inauguration that he had one week to destroy the road or the army would be sent in to do so.

But Fayyad snubbed the Israeli threat and proceeded with the official inauguration ceremonies.

Israel did not act until about three months later, when Fayyad was abroad, and bulldozers were sent in.
In other words, Fayyad took $335,000 from money donated to the PA from mostly American and European state donors to build a road that he knew - and was warned explicitly - would be destroyed.

Now, he is saying that he will tell his donors that their money was wasted by Israel destroying a road, without telling them that he is using possibly millions of dollars of Western aid not to build a state but to score cheap propaganda points against Israel.

And Fayyad has planned to do this and similar projects for well over a year. As a JCPA analysis from October 2009 said,
Fayyad's "blueprint" calls for massive Palestinian development in Area "C" of the disputed West Bank, which is under Israeli civil and security control, and which directly challenges the delicate, agreed-upon framework of the 1993 Oslo accords.35 Palestinian plans include building an airport in the Jordan Valley, taking control of Atarot airport near Jerusalem, establishing new rail links to neighboring states, and water installation projects near Tulkarem and Kalkilya close to the pre-1967 "green line."36 Israeli security echelons firmly oppose Palestinian airport development plans near Jerusalem and in the Jordan Valley. Furthermore, Fayyad's agenda has broader designs on Area "C." Fayyad told the Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat in a September 1, 2009, interview: "Many think that zone "C" areas have become disputed territories rather than occupied territories in the public consciousness. We assert that these are PNA territories where the state will be established."
This was no mistake. This was Fayyad cynically using donor money to make a political point, in a a plan that he published.

And JCPA's footnote 36 reveals more:

Fayyad, Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State, p. 35. Fayyad's aggressive plans to build in Area "C" of the West Bank is the most far-reaching attempt by the Palestinian Authority to establish de facto control outside of Palestinian Areas "A" and "B" as defined at Oslo. See also Alan Baker, "De Facto Deliberations." Baker, former legal advisor to Israel's Foreign Ministry and a legal architect of the Oslo accords, notes: "The concept of a one-sided establishment of a de facto state outside the agreed-upon process would appear to ignore a central component of the framework in which Fayyad himself is permitted to function, and from which he derives his own authority." The 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip "still remains the valid source of authority for the Palestinian administration in the territories, as well as for the entire functioning of Palestinian governance. This agreement sets out and enables the establishment and functioning of the Palestinian Council (which serves as the parliament of the Palestinian Authority), details the mode of election of its members and appointment of its ministers, and defines its jurisdiction, its legislative and other powers, structure and prerogatives."

If Fayyad is throwing out Oslo, he is also throwing out the entire political structure of the Palestinian Authority. He obviously feels confident enough that he can make unilateral moves like these without any repercussions.

But shouldn't nations know that they are paying money for him to build infrastructure specifically for it to be torn down?