Sep 01 2009

A phone call from Prime Minister Fayyad

Published by at 7:12 am under Blogs,Palestinian politics

By Daoud Kuttab

Except for a short encounter on a plane years ago, I had never met in person Salam Fayyad. I certainly didn’t have any communications with him before I wrote the piece praising his two year plan for Palestinian statehood. No one from his office had sent me a copy of the plan or suggested that I write about it.

However, I did hear from the Palestinian prime minister after it was published. At around noon on Monday the 31st of august, my cell phone rang and the person on the other side identified himself and said that Prime Minister Fayyad wanted to talk to me. Mr. Fayyad got on the phone and he thanked me for the article and said that I understood him perfectly. He was especially keen to tell me that I was the only person who actually who understood the difference between a de facto state and a unilateral declaration of statehood. The latter being in direct contradiction to a 2002 US congressional resolution calling on the US president to monitor that the Palestinian authority doesn’t make a unilateral declaration. Prime Minister Fayyad also liked the fact that I stressed the pro active nature of the plan and that I differentiated between the role of the political role of the president and the civil service role of the prime minister. I noted to him that some of his own ministers have been bad mouthing the plan even though they had participated in it. Fayyad confirmed that a special retreat for all his cabinet had taken place weeks earlier in which this plan was thoroughly discussed and approved. He was clearly unhappy with the way some of his own government had not fully backed the plan. Fayyad thanked me again and invited me for a longer discussion at a time to be determined later.

After the phone call was over, I thought to myself about what had happened. In nearly 29 years of my journalist work and the thousands of articles I had written on behalf of Palestine and Palestinian issues, never had any senior Palestinian official ever called me or contacted me. My only encounter with Palestinian officials had been my seven day arrest in 1997 on the orders of Yasser Arafat because of the live broadcasting on a tv station I was running sessions of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Prime Minister Fayyad told me that one of the purposes of the plan was to encourage and empower the Palestinian population to think positive and to work towards statehood instead of continuously curse their bad luck. As one member of the Palestinian people, the phone call from Salam Fayyad provided for me that encouragement and proved that I was correct when I publicly supported him and his plan.

One response so far

One Response to “A phone call from Prime Minister Fayyad”

  1. nicholason 01 Sep 2009 at 9:08 pm

    I am amazed that no Palestinian politician has called you in the best part of 30 years – but it confirms my opinion that Mr Fayyad is a serious politician. I hope he will be around for many years.

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