Friday, May 22, 2009

Not better but worse

Pre-empting the outcome of national dialogue, Mahmoud Abbas has reappointed his unpopular premier. It won't do him good.

By Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah

".....Indeed, the Fayyad government, despite its rhetorical proclamations against Israel, has utterly failed to impede Israel's efforts to expand Jewish colonies in the West Bank, and especially in the Jerusalem region. The government has also miserably failed in safeguarding the human rights and civil liberties as thousands of Palestinians, particularly Islamic activists have been incarcerated without charge or trial, with some even tortured to death.

Under the Fayyad government, the security agencies, such as the Preventive Security Services and the Mukhabarat, or general intelligence, assumed disproportionate powers, in many instances outside the rule of law.

Finally, the formation of the new government is likely to further undermine the popularity of Abbas and his allies while strengthening the standing of their opponents within Fatah, especially Marwan Barghouti, the imprisoned Fatah leader.

Abbas on several occasions suggested that he had no choice but to retain Fayyad as prime minister since dismissing him wouldn't bode well with Western powers that pay the salaries of tens of thousands of PA civil servants and security personnel and generally keep the PA financially afloat. One PA official, who is close to Abbas, summarised the whole issue in a few words: "He who pays the piper, decides the tune.""

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