Abbas and Fayyad must resign too

Seen as corrupt and impotent, Abbas and Fayyad should handover power before public anger erupts.

     Mahmoud Abbas has been criticised at home after Al Jazeera released the Palestine papers [Reuters] 

    After two decades of failed political moves, the Palestinian Authority represented by its top leadership are hoping to avoid the inevitable: paying a heavy price for corruption of all kinds, alienating the Palestinian people, and failing to negotiate an end to Israel’s occupation.

    Threatened and undermined by the Al Jazeera-Guardian Palestine Papers leak, and dismayed by wrongly siding with Egypt’s ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, the Palestinian Authority is employing desperate political maneuvers.

    Palestinian President Abbas has asked his Chief Negotiator and cabinet in the West Bank to submit their resignation. He has also called for Parliamentarian and Presidential elections in September and deliberately avoided giving a specific date.

    Will Abbas and Fayyad succeed in soaking the Palestinian anger by these desperate maneuvers? No.  Nothing short of Abbas and Fayyad handing in their own resignations and accepting responsibility for their failures will satisfy the Palestinian streets.

    Need for new leadership

    With fewer allies in the region and no options left for a political horizon with Israel, Abbas and Fayyad must resign to pave the way for a newly elected, and more representative Palestinian leadership.

    Abbas and Fayyad have no political capital left to spend, they are out of touch with the Palestinian street, and they have successfully managed to alienate even supporters within Fatah.

    Their failures politically have discredited them and the Palestinian Authority both at home and abroad.

    At home, they are seen as corrupt, ineffective, and above all as Israel’s agents. The people do not trust them, and the fact that superb security coordination with Israel is all what they have to offer Palestinians after years of failed negotiations has even alienated the younger guard in Fatah, Abbas' only political base.

    Fatah's young guard is also disappointed in Abbas for failing to rebuild their movement and giving Fayyad the chance to further undermine their effectiveness in the West Bank. 

    Accepting responsibility

    Abbas has yet to promote Fatah's young in taking active leadership roles in the movement. To many in Fatah, Abbas is nicknamed the Gorbachev of the movement that has actively played a part in dismantling it and making it weaker. For a long time, he refused to replace Fayyad with a prime minister from Fatah and allowed Fayyad to claim credit for Fatah’s political concessions to Israel.

    Abroad, especially in the Arab and Muslim worlds, Abbas and Fayyad placed themselves on the wrong side of history. Fayyad, Abbas and aides like PLO secretary general Tayyeb Abdelrahim expressed strong public support for Egypt’s ousted dictator president Hosni Mubarak.

    The Palestinian leadership not only echoed Israel’s line which was sorry to see Mubarak leave, but also showed the Arab and Muslim worlds, where people were glued to its television sets watching Al Jazeera in support of the revolution-that this is a leadership that has nothing in common with them.

    Why would anyone support such leadership for the Palestinians? If anything, Abbas and Fayyad's actions confirm that this is a leadership that is only capable of one bad decision after the other. They must all resign and accept responsibility for their failures.

    Abbas and Fayyad are of a past era. They are no longer representative of the future we young Palestinians seek for ourselves.  Rather, we see them through the lens of withering and illegitimate Arab regimes that if not replaced democratically will be toppled through a popular revolution that I can assure them has already begun. 

    Fadi Elsalameen is a fellow with the New America Foundation's American Strategy Program. He is also director general of the Palestine Note and Diwan Palestine, Internet newspapers in English and Arabic.

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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