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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Abbas hanging Fayyad out to dry?

I noted yesterday that the protests that have been spreading throughout the West Bank all week have been directed at PA prime minister Fayyad.

Mahmoud Abbas decided to adopt survival tactics and yesterday said that he supports the protesters and their goals:
President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that the "Palestinian Spring" had begun, as Palestinians took to the streets across the West Bank in protest over rising prices.

"The Palestinian spring has begun, and we are in line with what the people say and what they want," Abbas said, addressing a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

The president said the protesters' demands to reduce costs of basic goods and for regular payment of salaries were "right and fair."

"Hunger is disloyal," Abbas said, quoting a Palestinian proverb reflecting that hungry people thought only of their need for food. "We are trying to do what we can do to reduce prices."
One reason he is jumping on this bandwagon can be inferred from this:

"We are here to say to the government enough is enough … We want a government which lives just as its people live eating what the people eat," Khalid, a protester, told Ma'an.
There was a recent report that Abbas owns some $8 million worth of land and property in Jordan.

In Abbas' full speech to the Arab League meeting, he spoke about a lot of topics with his usual lies - blaming Israel for the absence of negotiations, and claiming that Hamas has embraced non-violent resistance, for example.

But in his entire speech, he never said a word about supporting his handpicked prime minister!

It appears that Abbas is trying to distance himself from Fayyad, as Fayyad scrambles to survive himself. Fayyad even agreed to a debate with one of the leaders of the protests, which is about as close to desperate as one can get.

Fayyad, who is not a Fatah member, has been under attack from the start from both Hamas and Fatah. To survive, he has been forced to make Fatah-style outlandish statements (such as "Jesus was a Palestinian.") . Up until now Abbas has shielded him, mostly because the West likes Fayyad and he represents the only chance for the PA to act like a responsible government rather than a whining welfare quasi-state.

This time, though, it looks like Fayyad does not have any support at all.

Too bad, Tom Friedman. You are wrong again.