From Bad to Worse

A week ago, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, resigned. This was another tragedy for the Palestinianes in the effort the create their own state. Tom Friedman in the NYTimes (April 24) analyzes the consequences in these "Four Takeaways.""1. For Palestinians, particularly Abbas and Fatah, who so easily turned their most effective executive into a scapegoat, if there is no place for a Salam Fayyad-type in your leadership, an independent state will forever elude you."2. Hamas and the Israeli settlers are both really happy today. Fayyads aim to build a decent Palestinian state in the West Bank, at peace with Israel, was a huge threat to both of them. They both prefer permanent struggle so they both can claim there is no one to talk to on the other side and, therefore, they never have to change policies."3. Thanks, American Congress and Israeli government. Your mindless, repeated cutoffs of cash to Fayyads government helped undermine the best Palestinian peace partner Israel and the U.S. ever had. Nice job."4. 'There is nothing inevitable about a liberal order emerging from any of these Arab awakenings,' argues the pollster Craig Charney. Indeed, to produce that outcome takes someone like a Fayyad with the consistent help of external parties as well as a loyal base at home ready to see it through. In the end, Fayyad had neither. Add another nail in the coffin of the two-state solution."

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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