For a man who is sometimes seen as the Palestinian politician that the Israelis and the Americans like best, Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad was in a strikingly robust mood during a two-hour press conference in Ramallah yesterday. While too polite to criticise the Obama administration, he nevertheless had a clear message in the wake of the failure by the US to persuade the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu to grant a freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank as a precursor to serious negotiations.
He suggested that the Palestinian leadership no longer had much interest in a “process for the sake of a process” and he questioned what Mr Netanyahu’s “equivocal” endorsement of a Palestinian state really meant.
Mr Fayyad had been much struck by a report from the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, arguing that the 60 per cent of the West Bank controlled by Israel and designated as Area C under the Oslo accords, including the Jordan Valley, should not be handed over in any peace deal. If the Israeli establishment was envisaging a “Mickey Mouse state” along these lines, he said, then “it looks like it would not come close to what we have in mind.” [continued…]
Interior Minister and Shas Party chairman Eli Yishai plans “to muster all of Shas’ political power on the issue of the foreign workers,” he told Haaretz on Tuesday.
During a conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Yishai warned that if the cabinet rejects his demand that children of foreign workers not be given residency or citizenship in Israel, he will abdicate responsibility for the Immigration Authority, which is currently in his ministry’s purview, to the Prime Minister’s Office, and foment a coalition crisis to boot. [continued…]