Requiem for Fayyadism

This past weekend, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the resignation of Salam Fayyad, caretaker prime minister since June 2007. Abbas also asked Fayyad to stay on as caretaker — until a new caretaker prime minister could be found.

Why did all this make news? In a superficial sense, nothing had changed — at most, Palestine might eventually get a new caretaker prime minister. And despite the praise “Fayyadism” received from enthusiastic foreign supporters, there may be no change in a deeper sense as well.

The attention given to Fayyad’s departure obscures the fact that his state-building reform program had largely been in abeyance for two years. Even when it was in full swing — between 2009 and 2011 — Fayyad himself was expansive in tone, but his promises were carefully hedged when one read the fine print.

Nathan J. Brown

Foreign Policy

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