World Focus: Why Palestinians have lost faith in Obama

For a man who is sometimes seen as the Palestinian politician that the Israelis and the Americans like best, Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad was in a strikingly robust mood during a two-hour press conference in Ramallah yesterday. While too polite to criticise the Obama administration, he nevertheless had a clear message in the wake of the failure by the US to persuade the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu to grant a freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank as a precursor to serious negotiations.

He suggested that the Palestinian leadership no longer had much interest in a "process for the sake of a process" and he questioned what Mr Netanyahu's "equivocal" endorsement of a Palestinian state really meant.

Mr Fayyad had been much struck by a report from the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, arguing that the 60 per cent of the West Bank controlled by Israel and designated as Area C under the Oslo accords, including the Jordan Valley, should not be handed over in any peace deal. If the Israeli establishment was envisaging a "Mickey Mouse state" along these lines, he said, then "it looks like it would not come close to what we have in mind."

As a former senior official in the World Bank, Mr Fayyad does not speak loosely. And it was hard to infer from what he said anything other than that the moderate Palestinian leadership will not – at least if he has his way – simply yield to US pressure for talks when Israel has successfully rejected such pressure for a settlement freeze.

There are probably several reasons for the somewhat sharper line that is emerging from Ramallah. The mishandling of the Goldstone report on the Gaza war – over which Palestinian diplomats agreed, again under US pressure, to defer a vote at the UN Human Rights Council – has provoked harsh internal criticism.

Mr Fayyad was almost certainly not involved in the decision – diplomacy is not his job – and indeed most of the criticism was directed at the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But that decision – now reversed – has marked a growing realisation within the West Bank leadership that there may not be too much point in serially yielding to US demands if the Palestinian Authority's own internal standing is compromised as a result.

In the case of Mr Fayyad, there is another factor. He has a plan: a blueprint, to be enacted over the next two years, for a Palestinian state. He intends to go ahead with those preparations whether or not negotiations progress.

His plan has credibility, if only because he has done a good deal – praised by the World Bank – to improve the authority's financial management, security forces, and provision of services to West Bank residents.

Mr Fayyad is too intelligent to think that a mere blueprint can end the occupation. But he would like to see the UN Security Council endorse it – with US backing – as the basis of a resolution designed to bring the end of conflict nearer. Whether the US would be prepared to back that is open to question given its actions – or critics would say lack of them – over the past few months.

Mr Fayyad appears to believe that pressing on with his plan is the best way of serving the West Bank public while at the same time showing the world that the Palestinians are fully ready for a two-state solution.

In the absence of the meaningful negotiations that Mr Fayyad seems to doubt can happen with Mr Netanyahu, it isn't hard to understand that he feels this is the best available strategy.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Auditor

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: IT Auditor , Information Governance, NHS...

Process Improvement Analyst (Testing)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Service Delivery Manager - Derivatives, Support,

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Delivery Manager - (Derivatives, Support...

WPF .NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: WPF Analyst Programmer NET, WPF, C#, M...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform