On the security front, Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad counts on the IDF and Shin Bet. Despite his claims that the IDF should not be operating "in the Palestinian state's territory," he knows that he has no control on the ground, neither in the Gaza Strip which he dreams of reuniting with the West Bank, nor in his own backyard in Judea and Samaria.
If Fayyad is indeed interested and capable of reuniting Gaza and the West Bank, when and how does he intend to do so? Will he be leading a Palestinian army that will deploy in Rafah and move north until it retakes Gaza City from the hands of Hamas? Obviously not. He is in fact creating the conditions for boosting Hamas, so that the IDF will ultimately have to enter Gaza, retake it while paying a heavy diplomatic price, and then end the "occupation" and hand it over to Fayyad, without him having to do a thing.
And back to the economic front: About two years ago, the World Bank demanded that Fayyad not only cut down PA salaries (no results thus far) but also that he minimize the second-highest PA budget clause: Payments aimed at covering electricity and water bills which PA residents refuse to pay (the accumulated electricity debt of Gaza residents stands at $2.7 billion.) This clause, which constitutes about 8% of the PA's budget, is hidden by Fayyad under the heading “Net Lending.”
Fayyad seemingly charges local authorities for the electricity provided to their residents by Israel, yet immediately “loans” them the money. As such, they appear as a local authority debt to the Palestinian Treasury. Two years ago, he attempted to force PA residents to present proof of payment on their electricity bills before receiving government allowances. The PA’s “public service sector” immediately embarked on a warning strike, and Fayyad got the hint and has refrained from demanding that the bills be paid.
A few months ago, Fayyad came up with an original solution: As he hands over immense sums for the salaries of tens of thousands of security officials in Gaza, who no longer work since Hamas took power there, he raised their salaries by 4% and even got EU funding for this. However, at the same time he deducted a similar sum from these salaries for “electricity bills.”
Everyone was pleased until Hamas authorities found out about it. They viewed it as financially detrimental to their government, and in response stopped handing over to the Palestinian fuel authority the sums of money collected from Gaza residents who do pay for electricity. This was the reason for the latest fuel crisis in the PA.
In conclusion: Ben-Gurion, who was a man of real work and pioneering spirit would be turning in his grave had he heard that Fayyad – a man who excels in dubious schemes and in drafting impressive donation requests that include words like “transparency,” “responsibility,” and “economic stability” – has been crowned as his successor in the 21st Century.
Avi Trengo is a journalist