Hamas, Fatah and the Palestinian factions did not spare the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad criticism following his participation in the annual Herzliya Conference held in Israel. It is considered a high-level conference in which security policies and strategies are discussed. The Israelis themselves also did not spare Fayyad criticism.
It is evident that Fatah attacked Fayyad in order to outdo Hamas and other factions, whilst Hamas and the [other] factions attacked Fayyad just to settle political accounts. But it must be said here that the Palestinian Prime Minister is brave in the true sense of the word, and this is how his participation in the Herzliya Conference should be viewed.
Salam Fayyad’s participation in the Israeli conference was no photo op; he went to the Israelis in their own setting to make them listen to what they had to hear and this is much better than what Hamas is doing in Damascus. Fayyad went [to the conference] and said that the [process of] building the Palestinian state began two years ago and that the infrastructure is on its way to being completed. He said that the Palestinian state is ready to be established in 2011 and that it does not need Israeli recognition and that this matter is in the hands of the international community and if the Israelis want cooperation then they must withdraw from Palestinian territories and begin serious negotiations.
Fayyad went to tell the Israelis that there won’t be any security for them as long as there is no security for the Palestinians and that Palestinian security [arrangements] should be made by the Palestinians themselves, not Israel. Moreover, he told the Israelis that the building of settlements must stop, and current settlements must be removed because [they are on] Palestinian land. He also stressed that East Jerusalem is an integral part of the future Palestinian state and it can never be separated from it. Salam Fayyad did not stop there; he attacked Israel for what it is doing to the Gaza Strip and for its policies against Hamas.
As previously mentioned, Salam Fayyad’s participation [in the conference] was no photo op; rather it came about to put a stop to the Israel propaganda machine which has not stopped despite the absence of a Palestinian party on the other side of the negotiation [table] and the absence of a Palestinian party that is willing [to cooperate] in the peace process. Therefore, Fayyad’s participation [in the Herzliya Conference] deserves support and he deserves backing, not attacks from Palestinians and describing his participation in the conference as political indiscipline. Political indiscipline is what the Palestinians are experiencing today; what else could it be when we see Ismail Haniyeh himself calling on the Americans to negotiate with Hamas?
When Fayyad talks at the Israeli security conference and tells the Israelis that they will not have security without Palestinian security, his words are much stronger than the words of Khaled Meshaal in Damascus. The evidence of this is that the Israelis were divided over Fayyad’s participation, especially when Shimon Peres described him as “the Palestinian’s first Ben Gurionist.” Peres stated that Ben Gurion built the Israeli state on the land decades before the establishment of Israel and that Fayyad is doing the same thing today.
Of course, it doesn’t matter whether or not Peres sides with Fayyad; what’s important is that Fayyad’s message reached the Israelis and the international community. Such action is much more important the action of others who only have rockets. That is why we say that Salam Fayyad is a brave man.