Somebody here, I think, thinks Twitter and Facebook don’t matter…
This is more than just a symptom — it is a syndrome. It’s because communication doesn’t really matter, here.
Communication is expected to follow formalistic rules. A political statement uses certain prescribed terms and is delivered in loud and rising tones. An elegant and polite person would never take such a strong stand as Rami Hamdallah did when he resigned last week [it’s considered “too divisive” — and this, in a place where division has wreaked havoc since January 2006 parliamentary elections brought a surprise win for the Hamas-backed Change and Reform Party, which stood for the first time].
At least, Hamdallah is behaving well enough to say, as requested, until something new is put together…
Daoud Kuttab wrote today [though with a somewhat vague timeline] that “The apparent conflict of authority between the president and the prime minister in the Palestinian areas is certainly not new: But, Kuttab wrote, The bias toward the presidency escalated after Haniyeh and his Hamas supporters rejected the authority of Abbas, forcing [!] the Palestinian
president to dismiss Haniyeh and appoint Salam Fayyad in 2007. The defacto suspension of the Palestinian Legislative Council meant that the appointed government did not gain a vote of confidence from the Palestinian representatives. When Fayyad attempted [recently] to question the power of the Palestinian presidency — with the refusal to allow back the resigned Minister of Finance Nabeel Kassis — he found himself on the losing end of a power struggle, and eventually had to hand in his resignation in April 2013. Hamdallah appears to have noticed this issue much earlier and seemed to have rinsisted on retaining all the legal and administrative powers that came with the office … Without a parliament to vote confidence into a government, the relations between the presidency and the prime minister’s office can get complicated. Technically, every prime minister takes on a legal position after being sworn into office in front of the president.
These consecutive governments in Palestine are known to be governments of Abbas, and he holds ultimate power to keep or dismiss the prime minister. However, the Palestinian Basic Law, which functions as a temporary constitution, gives the prime minister a lot of power, including being the reference point of all his ministers”. This is posted here.
Kuttab doesn’t stress enough, however, the fact that the Palestinian Basic Law has not yet been approved precisely because the Palestinian Legislative Council is in a state of “de facto suspension”…
In his piece, Kuttab does report that Hamdallah, after his appointment, publicly stated that “he hoped to stay prime minister until Aug. 14. On this date, an agreed-to prime minister — as part of the reconciliation process — would be found. [So] Hamdallah has not officially resigned from his academic post [as head of an-Najah University], but rather has taken a leave of absence”…
Kuttab also notes that “The fact that Hamdallah had clearly accepted a temporary position seems to have led some to believe that the real prime minister is one of the deputies”…
In an earlier piece, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies wrote here that “The premier reportedly chafed in his new position due to power struggles with his powerful deputy prime ministers, Mohammed Mustafa, a close advisor to Abbas on economic affairs, and Ziad Abu Amr, a former foreign minister from Gaza. Communication with Abbas was also challenging, according to Palestinian insiders”.
Schanzer added that “Hamdallah’s criticism of the Palestinian Authority echoes that of his predecessor Salam Fayyad, who quit amidst strong differences of opinion with Abbas over the importance of transparency and institution building in Palestinian governance. In other words, Abbas’s appointment of Hamdallah backfired. Abbas wanted a weak premier who could enable him consolidate power. He tapped Hamdallah because he was a political neophyte and a Fatah party loyalist. But Hamdallah, with his parting shot on Twitter, is very clearly challenging Abbas’ governing style, if not his very authority. The brief premiership of Hamdallah underscores the fact that the Palestinian Authority is suffering from chronic instability. This could weigh heavily on the PA’s ability to conduct diplomacy and raise funds from donor countries. Abbas will need to move quickly if he wishes to project stability. Hamdallah’s resignation also makes it clear that, even in the post-Fayyad era, the need for improved Palestinian governance is an issue that will not go away>…
Which brings us back to Twitter.
Our earlier post reports on the Tweets of the now-Caretaker Prime Minister. The confusion/mystery has not been cleared up. Four Tweets have gone out under the account named “Rami Hamdallah @PalestineGov“. These Tweets — all in English — are still posted, and neither the account nor any of the four Tweets has been modified or deleted.
Meanwhile, the [Palestinian] Government Media Center is Tweeting under the account named “Gov. Media Center @PalestinianGov” — mainly in Arabic.
The former Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, is still Tweeting under this account: “Dr.Salam Fayyad @SalamFayyad_pm” [“The Official Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad twitter”]
Dr.Salam Fayyad @SalamFayyad_pm
[Arabic script is apparently not supported on this site] ?????: ?????? ??????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ??? ?? ????? ??????: ??? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ????? ??????: ???? ??????… http://http://fb.me/LZiNxtNo
There are two other Twitter accounts under Fayyad’s name:
Salam Fayyad @FayyadSalam [“Prime Minister of The Palestinian National Authority, Palestine”]
Salam Fayyad @PMFayyad [“Palestinian Prime Minister http://palestinecabinet.gov.ps”] – the last Tweet from this account was sent on 18 February 2011.
Two of the Salam Fayyad accounts [but not @FayyadSalam] list the same website =
One of them, Salam Fayyad ?@PMFayyad, even Tweeted an email address on 18 Feb 11 —
@BBCKimGhattas @PMFayyad is the official twitter account for Prime Minister Fayyad. Any questions, email email@example.com
And there is also the parody account Salam Basha Fayyad
@SalamBasha [Your Prime Minister’s favorite Prime Minister. Area A ] which has ReTweeted + Tweeted:
And that’s not all! Adding to the confusion:
It’s strange that Salam Fayyad [or someone?] is still updating this FaceBook page – “Palestinian Prime Minister” http://salamfayyad.wordpress.com/author/salamfayyad/ …
Meanwhile, at the same time, someone [?] is posting photos to this FaceBbook page for Dr. Rami Hamdallah [“Palestinian official”] https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=549144735148083&l=d57155cf71 …