Perhaps it would do Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad good to pick up the phone, better yet to take the short walk to the office of the Israeli Military Governor for Judea and Samaria (the Boss), and ask for the $300 million needed by the Palestinian Authority. That $300 million should represent the first of many payments to come for services rendered to the Israeli Occupation since Oslo. Israel owes the PLO/PA some $ 50 billion for services rendered.
For over a year, we’ve been told of the PA’s work on its “state institutional building” in anticipation of the declaration of the independent Palestinian state and we hear the praise of such programs from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. However, the performance of the World Bank and IMF in this messed up world economy raises lots of valid questions about the roles, if not the competency, of these two institutions to solve the worlds’ problems.
Now in July 2011, we are told Fayyad and the PA are unable to pay it’s employees’ salaries and that the government does not even have enough money to keep running for the next month. So where is this great success the World Bank and IMF are talking about?
Perhaps someone from the World Bank and the IMF can explain to all of us, what kind of “state” Fayyad runs if it does not even have enough money to keep going for one more month and is living on the dole of international welfare. This also raises the question of whether the Palestinians really want to have a state that is totally dependent on international welfare. We know they accepted to rely on UNRWA for over 60 years.
Just what kind of state are the guys in Ramallah talking about? And just what kind of “institutional building” has been going on all this time ? To date, we are still not aware of any efforts or plans underway to building governing institutions that are transparent and accountable to the people and can withstand public scrutiny.
We still have not been made aware of any efforts at building a viable executive branch of government that represents the nation and people and not narrow partisan politics or personal business interests. Palestine must have an executive branch that is equal to other branches of government. Our politicians must move away from the “personality cult” that has afflicted and badly damaged the Palestinian cause of liberation from the early days of Yasser Arafat till now. There must be an executive branch that is accountable before the people and not to Fatah or the PLO.
We still have not been made aware of any plans to build a legislative branch that is free and independent of the executive branch, one that is not only the people’s representative but strong enough and independent enough to withstand the kind of marginalization by the executive branch we have seen in the last 20, if not the last 45, years. The Palestinian Legislative Council has, since Oslo, has not served to function as the people’s representatives, accountable to one but the people who elected them, and remains as ineffective and useless as ever.
We still have not been made aware of any plans to build an independent judiciary that can dispense justice in a transparent way where the poor and powerful are equal in the eyes of the law and courts. There must be a judiciary where defendants and accused are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law with the right of defense to challenge witnesses and evidence in an open court. The judicial system must be free from the partisan politics we have seen both in Ramallah and Gaza. What is out there now is nothing to be proud of.
We still have not been made aware of any plans to disengage the Palestinian economy from that of the Jewish Occupation, or any other plans to rebuild the economy to serve the general public and not the narrow interests of a powerful oligarchy that has total control and monopoly over the talents and educations of the Palestinian, its best assets.
While it is true that there has a been a boom in housing construction, that narrow market is in the service of the oligarchy and the banks with people overburdened with mortgage and consumer loans. Reports say the people are indebted to the banks to the tune of over $2 billion, and that is in an economy that is totally dependent on salaries and payroll of the PA. When the salaries come, if they do come, they go directly to pay loans leaving consumers with little money for the daily livings. Keep in mind, this is also a payroll that is totally dependent on the good will of the Americans and the Europeans and how they feel the PA is keeping its commitment in serving and securing the Jewish Occupation.
We still have not been made aware of any plans to develop, train and qualify a labor force that can move away from rebuilding Jewish settlements and away from working in settlement factories. The late Arafat and his team were always too keen on making sure that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian laborers are able to work inside the Green Line, but never in his tenure did he made any efforts to give these hundreds of thousands of laborers a choice away from the humiliating process of seeking the daily jobs inside Israel. President Mahmoud Abbas and his team are no different, having never given labor and employment the urgency and attention needed.
The only thing we have been made aware of is the billions of dollars invested in the Palestinian Security Forces, making sure its meets its commitments to Israel, to the Jewish Occupation and to the safety and security of the marauding Jewish settler terrorists. That is the priority of both the PA and international donors.
However, we still have not been made aware of the function and duties of the Palestinian Security Forces toward the Palestinian people. I will concede the minor role the security forces play in solving petty crimes, and managing traffic but I still have not been made aware of one instant when the security forces prevented one single attack by Jewish criminal settlers on a Palestinian village or preventing the burning of an olive field or the poisoning of one single water well.
While it is understandable that the security forces would not fight the Israeli Defense Forces to provide safety and security for the people, I do not understand why the security forces have not intervened and protected the people from the daily and repeated crimes of these attacking Jewish criminals.
Frankly the PLO/PA has been running on empty for a long time. We have not seen the liberation of Palestine, we have not seen the return of refugees, we have not seen the removal of one single security check point, we have not seen the stopping or preventing of land confiscations, or house demolitions, and we certainly have not seen anything done about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem. Nothing the PLO or the PA committed to has ever been accomplished, nothing but total failures and lies, not to mention the tens of billions that have been fleeced and remain unaccounted for. Forget about Jerusalem, it was promised to Israel, as revealed in the Palestine Papers.
If I were to make a bet, it would be that the PLO will not go to the United Nations and will not keep the commitments it made in Istanbul today and will “postpone” its decisions till next year saying it is waiting for the “right conditions” and buying time for itself, its leaders certainly buying time for the Jewish Occupation to take more and more land and create more and more facts on the ground, facts the Palestinian leadership will have to accept in its commitment to a negotiated settlement.