A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fayyad's Fall: Was the West Too Supportive?

The resignation over the weekend of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad came after weeks of political maneuvering and longstanding issues with President ‘Abbas,but the timing is nevertheless unfortunate given the US attempt to restart the peace process, embodied in President Obama's and Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visits to the region.

There's a wide range of commentary out there (links below), but one emerging theme seems to be this: Did the US (and Israel) actually undermine Fayyad's position by their enthusiastic support for his policies? Did this tend to lead to his being seen as "America's man" (and hence Israel's) in the Palestinian Authority?

Certainly from Fayyad's initial appointment in 2007 the US and the West generally have been enthusiastic in their support of Fayyad's economic policies, reform measures, efforts to build infrastructure and civil society, — and quite justifiably so, in my opinion. But as this perhaps laid on a bit too thick, allowing Fayyad's enemies to label him a Western (read: American) puppet or stooge? That seems to be a criticism being put forward by many of Fayyad's supporters.

For a wide range of English-language analysis and opinion on Fayyad's departure: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The National, Arab News, Haaretz (paywall),  972 Magazine.

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