Reuters reports that “Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad offered his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday following a rift between the two men over government policy….”
Fayyad has offered to resign before, but there is reason to think that President Abbas will accept the offer this time. There is no love lost between Abbas’s Fatah Party and Salam Fayyad, and what aid donors appreciate most–the fight against corruption, the effort to build efficient and effective government institutions, the desire to insulate Palestinian security forces from Fatah politics–are just the things about Fayyad that Fatah pols appreciate least.
Nor is there a replacement available who has Fayyad’s stature and integrity. This will affect aid donors, who will wonder just what will become of their money if Fayyad is not there to watch over the PA budget. It will also affect the attitude of Israelis toward the PA, for Fayyad has personified a business-like approach to building real Palestinian independence that does not threaten Israeli security.
If Fayyad is, now, pushed out of the prime minister post, there will be many recriminations about who and what lost the opportunity for progress that his years in the post provided. Some will even be justified, and that is a subject I will revisit here if Fayyad goes. His departure would be a major event in Israeli-Palestinian relations.