So this chap worked for the World Bank and the IMF, that certainly qualifies him to be a prime minister after a coup. Note that the article does not even question his appointment or the legitimacy of the Abbas govt. sans Hamas. No doubt the civil war will continue to the detriment of the Palestinian cause.
New Palestinian PM: US-educated favourite of the West
RAMALLAH, West Bank: Salam Fayyad, who was on Friday tasked with forming a new Palestinian government, is a US-educated pragmatist widely respected in the West for his efforts to clamp down on corruption.
A political independent, the 55-year-old is a technocrat and former official at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank who won widespread praise for his efforts to bring greater transparency to murky Palestinian finances. The bespectacled, immaculately-dressed Fayyad served as finance minister from 2002-2005 and then again in the short-lived Palestinian unity government formed in March.
He is a fluent English speaker who easily quotes Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the American Declaration of Independence, and passionately believes in the principles of transparency and accountability.
An articulate advocate of Palestinians rights and hopes, he has won praise from unlikely quarters who rarely agree on anything.
A spokesman for former hardline Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon once said: “Everything that Fayyad is trying to do is well appreciated and is the right thing.”
The Israeli liberal Haaretz daily newspaper dubbed him “everyone’s favourite Palestinian.”
“A professional and dedicated person” who combines “a great commitment to the Palestinian people with an integrity and a professionalism that is much needed,” was how Fayyad was introduced before a speech at Washington’s respected Brookings Institution think-tank in 2002.
“Everyone who met him in the past few years was enchanted by him. In Jerusalem, Washington, Paris, London and many other capitals, Fayyad became the ultimate Palestinian ‘icon,’ the ideal partner,” Haaretz wrote this year.
Such respect was underlined when US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met him after he returned to the finance ministry this year as part of the unity government, amid an official Western boycott of the cabinet’s Hamas ministers.
During his first stint as finance minister, Fayyad’s efforts helped persuade international donors to increasingly channel money directly toward the Palestinian Authority, rather than via non-government agencies.
He was elected to parliament during the January 2006 elections as the head of a small list, “The Third Way”, made up of candidates belonging neither to Fatah nor Hamas.
Following Hamas’s stunning sweep of the poll, Fayyad declined an offer to join the government formed by the Islamists.
He agreed to return to the finance ministry in this year’s unity cabinet to try to convince Western donors to lift a punishing aid boycott imposed on the government in the wake of the Hamas victory.
“I believe that my top priority is to lead the effort to end the economic sanctions and restore the soundness of our public finances,” he wrote in an editorial in a Palestinian newspaper two weeks after his appointment.
“As a Palestinian, it is my duty to hope and to exert my utmost efforts to transform the dreams of my people into real facts.
“We are a people who deserve to enjoy freedom on their land and who deserve democratic and transparent and accountable institutions. We are a people who deserve to live in peace and economic cooperation with their neighbours including Israel.”
“We don’t want to become a beggar state because we possess capabilities and education and talents that enable us to build a prosperous economy and a strong democracy.”
Born in April 1952 in the Tulkarem region in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, Fayyad received a bachelor of science in engineering from the American University of Beirut, and a masters in business administration and a doctorate in economics from the University of Texas.
In 1987 he joined the World Bank in Washington, where he worked before becoming the IMF’s representative in Jerusalem between 1995 and 2001. He also briefly worked at the Arab Bank, serving as its chief representative in the West Bank. He is married and has three children.