The BBC’s Jon Donnison reported, in his Fayyad article [labelled a “What next?” piece], that “When the 61-year-old again announced he was quitting on Saturday night, it was at least the third time he had resigned since he was first appointed to the job in 2007. That is not to mention all the threats of resignation over the past six years. And yet Mr Fayyad is still doing the job, at least in a ‘caretaker’ role”. This is posted here
Donnison lists the two previous Fayyad resignations as being in March 2009 and then in [May] 2011, both times to make way for a government of “national unity” or of “transition”, in order to “heal the political division between Fatah and Hamas — which may indeed be part of the reason again now.
[Fayyad also quit once before that, to run in the 2006 parliamentary elections’]
Meanwhile, Hugh Naylor wrote in The National that:
“Last month, the two leaders [Mahmoud Abbas + Fayyad — but Fayyad cannot really be called a “leader”] were at loggerheads over the resignation of Nabeel Kassis as finance minister. Mr Fayyad reportedly accepted it before consulting Mr Abbas, which caused acrimony. An official in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which Mr Abbas also chairs, said that spat encouraged the Palestinian president to accept Mr Fayyad’s resignation. ‘I also think Abu Mazen was tired of Fayyad resigning every two months’, said the official, referring to Mr Abbas by his nickname. ‘But I also think Abu Mazen saw Fayyad’s threatening to resign as a bargaining chip to leverage power’…” This piece is published here.
Ah, yes, power — for, the scenario now being acted out was, and is, a classic power struggle between the two men, who otherwise are not really enemies. Abbas may well even feel some sympathy for Fayyad at the moment.
After all, Mahmoud Abbas himself was the previous champion of resignation [see our page on that, on this blog], when he served as Palestine’s first Prime Minister, an institution created at donor insistence to curb Yasser Arafat’s freeranging power. In a continuation of that paradigm, Fayyad was supposed, in some way, to be a “check + balance” to Abbas, who has since consolidated his hold on all reins of Palestinian power, and who has stayed in office beyond the expire-by date of his mandate until the next elections which only he has the power to proclaim, and which he also has the power to cancel.
Abbas does not seem uncomfortable at all in ruling by decree [at the encouragement of donors who believe in democracy only when all actors are “good guys”], in the absence of a functioning parliament [the Palestine Legislative Council], which closed up shop, at least in the West Bank, not long after the surprise election of Hamas [after Hamas did, for those 2006 elections, what everybody had called on it to do, which is to convert itself into a political party and contest the vote].
Donnison also reports, in his BBC piece, another theory [one of the standard Palestinian templates]: “One Palestinian official told me he believes Mr Fayyad has bigger ambitions, possibly to replace Mr Abbas, and wants to leave the job of prime minister in order to try and build his personal popularity”.