When did the PA Prime Minister join the Likud?
Trying to appear "centrist" to hide his repugnance for more Annapolis-style peace talks, Bibi Netanyahu - odds on favorite to become prime minister - ushered in a steady crew of left-leaning has-beens (Dan Meridor) and never-weres (Uzi Dayan) to the Likud party. Voters, however, caste aside the pretenders, choosing a slate that may actually deliver on the Likud platform.
Perhaps Bibi should have tried to recruit less obvious candidates - such as PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, whose recent op-ed in the Financial Times makes a strong case for implementing the Likud's ideas about "economic peace":
A few days before Fayyad's piece appeared, Netanyahu published how own op-ed on the subject in the Chicago Tribune:
The Palestinian Authority remains steadfast in its peaceful pursuit of independence. Central to our approach is the idea that economic development is critical to the success of our state-building project...
Economic development is crucial to demonstrate to our people, particularly our youth, that diplomacy delivers what violence does not. Weariness with a seemingly endless peace process has caused many Palestinians to question the value of negotiations. Since the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, conditions have worsened for ordinary Palestinians.
Palestinians have seen their everyday situation worsen. Many now believe that peace is beyond our grasp. I disagree. I believe that peace is possible, but achieving it requires a new approach.From the looks of things, Bibi and his PA counterpart have quite a bit more in common than a strong dislike for Ehud Barak. They actually have a parallel vision for ending the conflict and improving the lot of the Palestinians. Maybe the doom-and-gloom prognosticators who worry that Bibi will shun the internationally-sanctioned "peace process" should pay more attention to what PA leaders say they really need.
Rather than building peace exclusively from the top down in political agreements, this new approach must also focus on building peace from the ground up with economic development.
In the meantime, Bibi should concentrate on pushing the real supporters of his policies - Fayyad, et al, to the front ranks of his party. I wonder what would happen if he offered Fayyad no. 20 on the Likud list....