Has Fayyad Failed?


Ben Birnbaum profiles the embattled Palestinian prime minister:

Fayyad’s state-building project lies in jeopardy. Over the past few months, economic growth in the West Bank has slowed. Unemployment has ticked up. The P.A.’s deficit has soared. And any day, the Hamas-Fatah unity government could arrive, meaning the end of Fayyad’s tenure as prime minister. Yet Fayyad seems to be clinging to any rays of hope he can find. Palestinians, he argued, are beginning to believe in themselves even as they lose faith in everyone else. He also cited some “interesting polls” showing that the Israeli public is well to the left of its current government on final-status issues.

(Photo: A Palestinian youth kicks a flaming tire during clashes with Israeli soldiers outside the Ofer Prison close to the West Bank city of Ramallah, following a march in support of Palestinian prisoners of on hunger strike while being held in Israeli prisons, on May 7, 2012. Israel's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by two Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 69 days in protest at being held without charge, their lawyer told AFP. There are some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike throughout Israeli jails. By Abbas Momani/AFP/GettyImages.)