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.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
film
Sport
football
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
A photograph taken by David Redferm of Sonny Rollins
people
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

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker