Given that I’ve sung the praises (or drunk the kool-aid) of Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad in the past, I felt I’d be remiss if I didn’t reply to Nathan J. Brown’s thought-provoking obituary for the Fayyad era that recently appeared in Foreign Policy. The article, entitled “No Savior,” challenges the traditional view of Fayyad, that he is a new kind of Palestinian leader, an ex-technocrat instead of an ex-terrorist, a man who ignores deep factional disputes to get things done and make a Palestinian state a real possibility. Instead, Brown argues, Fayyad made minimal progress at developing institutions, and was merely quite good at keeping the old ones from collapsing. Most damningly, he argues that the West fundamentally misread Fayyad when it saw him as a new voice for Palestinian self-sufficiency, because Fayyad’s greatest talent was appearing competent enough to get the West to pour in buckets of aid money. Fayyad made Palestine “ready for independence” by deepening its dependence.
Tag Archives: gaza
On Saturday, the famous Rafah border crossing between Egypt’s North Sinai Governorate and the Gaza Strip will be opened, with most Palestinians not needing visas to cross. The action represents a substantial shift in Egypt’s foreign policy, one that will be quite popular on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria. The Egyptians had been tacit supporters of Israel’s extremely controversial blockade of Gaza, which (coupled with the Sadat-era peace treaty) drew accusations that Egypt had subverted its foreign policy to the needs of Israel. Despite hysterics from many commentators, the new military regime in Egypt would be insane to abrogate the peace treaty and attack Israel, for Egypt’s military has always been a political institution and not a thoroughly professional fighting force.