Thursday, January 27, 2011

US threat to Palestinians: change leadership and we cut funds

Obama administration told Palestinian Authority its leaders must remain in office if it wants to retain US financial backing
  
Seumas Milne and Ian Black, The Guardian, Jan 24, 2011

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas with US president Barack Obama 
The government of Barack Obama (right) ‘expects to see the same Palestinian faces’, such as President Mahmoud Abbas (left), if it is to continue funding the Palestinian Authority. Photograph: Rex FeaturesThe Obama administration has privately made clear that it will not allow any change of Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, the leaked papers reveal, let alone any repetition of the Hamas election victory that briefly gave the Islamists control of the Palestinian Authority five years ago.
 
That is despite the fact that the democratic legitimacy of both the Palestinian president and Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and prime minister, Salam Fayyad, is strongly contested among Palestinians, and there are no plans for new elections in either the West Bank or Gaza.

“The new US administration expects to see the same Palestinian faces (Abu Mazen and Salam Fayyad) if it is to continue funding the Palestinian Authority,” the then assistant secretary of state David Welch is recorded as telling Fayyad in November 2008. Most of the PA’s funding comes from the US and European Union.

Almost a year later, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, reacted angrily to news that Abbas had threatened to resign and call for new presidential elections. She told Palestinian negotiators: “Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] not running in the election is not an option – there is no alternative to him.” The threat was withdrawn and no election was held.

Continues >>
Post a Comment