US-educated economist Salam Fayyad has agreed to be Finance Minister in the Hamas-dominated Palestinian unity government.
Fayyad is generally held to be a ‘moderate’, and if anyone will be able to get the US and others to disgorge financial aid for the Palestinians, he will.
‘Moderate’ or not, he is not exactly a Zionist. In a speech at the annual Herzliya Conference this year, he called for “warm relations” between Israel and the PA. Although he recognizes that Israel has legitimate security concerns, he appears to suggest that these concerns would melt away if Israeli “micromanagement” of Palestinian life by military decrees, checkpoints, etc. were stopped and the Palestinians were given ‘freedom’.
Unfortunately he provides absolutely no reason that Israelis should believe that this would happen, especially when the PA is ruled by organizations fully committed to killing Jews.
Fayyad is the leader of the Palestinian Third Way party, which was one of the contestants with Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian elections. The no. 2 person on the Third Way list is the well-known Palestinian activist Hanan Ashrawi. Fayyad’s acceptance of a portfolio in the Hamas-led government has caused a split between him and Ashrawi.
Ashrawi, perhaps because she’s female and Christian, objects to the Islamic fundamentalism of Hamas and refuses to allow her party to participate in a government dominated by Hamas.