by KHALED ABU TOAMEH, GATESTONE—
The Fatah leaders are yearning for the days of Yasser Arafat, when they were able to steal international aid earmarked for helping Palestinians. The Palestinians’ problem with Fayyad is that he did not sit even one day on an Israeli prison. For them, graduating from an Israeli prisons even more important that going to any university.
Earlier this year, Fayyad, in a surprise move, announced that he has accepted the resignation of Qassis without providing further details.
Shortly afterwards, Abbas issued a statement announcing that he has “rejected” the resignation of the finance minister.
Fayyad has since refused to comply with Abbas’s demand and reinstate Qassis.
But the dispute between Abbas and Fayyad is not only over financial matters.
In fact, much of it has to do with the feeling among Fatah’s top cadres that Fayyad is seeking to undermine the faction’s influence and probably end its role in the Palestinian arena.
They accuse him of cutting funds to Fatah’s members in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and refusing to pay salaries to former Fatah militiamen.
In this power struggle between Fatah and Fayyad, the prime minister is certain to emerge as the biggest loser.
Fayyad has no grassroots support or political power bases among Palestinians.
He does not have a strong political party that would be able to compete with Fatah.
Nor does he have his own militia or political backing, especially in the villages and refugee camps of the West Bank.
In the 2006 parliamentary election, Fayyad, who was graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, ran at the head of an independent list called Third Way. He won only two seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Most Palestinians did not vote for Fayyad because he had never played any active role in the fight against Israel. For Palestinians, graduating from an Israeli prison is more important than going to any university in the world.
The Palestinians’ problem with Fayyad is that he did not sit even one day in an Israeli prison.
Had Fayyad killed a Jew or sent one of his sons to throw stones at an Israeli vehicle, he would have earned the respect and support of a large number of Palestinians. In short, Palestinians do not consider Fayyad a hero despite his hard efforts to build state institutions and a fine economy.
The Palestinians’ only heros are those who fight against Israel or are sitting in Israeli prison.
Just last week, a public opinion poll showed that Marwan Barghouti, the Fatah leader who is serving five life terms in prison for his role in murdering Israelis, would be elected as president if he ran in the next elections.
The poll showed that Barghouti was even more popular than the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, who was never convicted by an Israeli court of murdering Jews .
If Fayyad wants to embark on a political career in the future, he will have to join Fatah’s armed wing, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and start participating in terror attacks against Israelis. He will need to do something against Israel to show Palestinians that he has “credentials.”
Otherwise, Fayyad will have to start search for a new job outside the West Bank.