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The Citron Turned into a Bitter Lemon
By Alex Fishman
Yedioth Ahronot
Published in Hebrew Jan. 31, 2010
Translated Feb 4, 2010
Passed on by PM Salam Fayyad`s PMO Media -

[Note: Alex Fishman is a commentator well-known for good contacts inside the Israeli military, for which he often acts as an unofficial spokesperson. Ed.]

Over the years, all pillars of the security establishment in Israel have dealt with Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad like the dear sensitive citron. He is a well-educated, moderate pro-American and mainly without Charisma. All of a sudden, they realized that he has become a bitter Citrus aurantium. What a disappointment; what a slap!

All security forums have been thinking very hard recently in so many seminars and working papers and asking the question: What to do with this man who is getting stronger and gaining independence that exceeds our plans. All of a sudden, he has the will and the power to achieve them without us. Pinokyo has become a real boy who can kick, curse and wants to leave the house. We are worried, even terrified.

Fayyad, in partnership with Abu Mazen, has succeeded in eliminating the chaos that prevailed in the streets and returned to the Palestinian citizen in the West Bank personal security. There is no more chaotic acts by masked thugs; there is no more gunfire shooting in the marches and funerals. Fayyad reinforced the security forces in the West Bank; he cleaned them from the opposition and under his rule, military brigades have been established under the guidance of American General Dayton. Fayyad also backed up and developed security coordination with Israel: We work at night, they work at day.

The Palestinian PM is also the central factor that attracts funds from the West. Europe and the United States pay funds to the PA because of him. He gives them a sense of clean hands, transparency and thorough. Fayyad sacked many of “those who take money free of charge” in the PA. He pays the salaries to more than 100,000 employees in the PA in the West Bank and Gaza. He started to introduce order to the courts and to the blue-uniform police, and with the assistance of foreign experts, he started to build governance institutions. In cooperation with Abu Mazen, he partially paralyzed the “religious system” of Hamas in the West Bank and some of the military network of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The economy has revived. Dozens of thousands of Israeli Arabs are shopping in the weekends in the West Bank. Fayyad, “the clerk” who came from the World Bank, is gaining a lot of power and threatens to become a star.

In fact, isn’t this what we wanted? It seems that this is not exactly what we wanted. We wanted him to be a tenant but he wants to be a landlord. And since he is gaining power – whether in the Palestinian society in the West Bank or in the United States and Europe – he is starting to defame and disturbing us all over the world and he is threatening to achieve his goals against our will. Suddenly, he demands to get more cities in the West Bank under his responsibility and demands to double the number of Palestinian army brigades from 12 to 25, more weapons and more armament. All of a sudden, he is using the Palestinian security services – contrary to the arrangements – in Jerusalem too. Suddenly, he started to demand a Palestinian currency; the NIS is no longer good for him.

This is still nothing, what really drives us crazy is the fact that this man established ministerial committees to slander and distort the image of Israel in every possible international arena and these committees file cases against us at the UNESCO and the International Court of Hague, a government team is dealing with the case of “stealing body organs of Palestinians” and harming us at the World Health Organization. Fayyad, in person, is exerting all efforts to prevent Israel from being accepted in the OECD until his demands from Israel are met. He succeeded to convince the world countries to demand from Israel more good will gestures and concessions outside the framework of negotiations and with Palestinians giving nothing in return; his capacity to maneuver the world is driving us crazy.

Recently, he went very far when he demanded from Israel to transfer responsibility of lands in areas B and C to the PA and he plans to build a new Palestinian city “A-Rawabi” near Ramallah, part of it on “our lands”. He, rudely and with no shame, is asking for lands in the Jordan Valley in order to have there Palestinian villages and farms. Has he gone crazy? Doesn’t he know that Jordan valley is ours? And there are more such schemes up his sleeve and the world understands him.

In Israel, there is a fear that with such a pace, he might succeed in extracting from the UN a resolution to establish a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem without negotiations with Israel. And this is after all what we have done for him. Then people say that we don’t want peace.


[i] Translated from Hebrew, originally published in Israeli “Yedioth Ahronot” newspaper, ed.31.1.2010 p. 24

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