Former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad’s office on Saturday rejected statements critical of the Palestinian leadership attributed to him in a New York Times article published the day before.
Fayyad resigned his post last month after almost six years in office, following bitter disagreements with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and fellow Fatah members. He was quoted in an article by Roger Cohen on Friday saying the Palestinians’ story “is a story of failed leadership, from way early on.”
The statements critical of the PA leadership enraged Palestinians, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.
The former prime minister’s office said in a statement that “The statements in the article are just journalist Roger Cohen’s personal impressions, and certainly not the words of Fayyad.” Fayyad’s office said that the former prime minister had not granted any interviews since announcing his resignation on April 13.
In an email correspondence with The Times of Israel, Cohen reacted to Fayyad’s office’s claim by saying he interviewed Fayyad and declined further comment.
In the New York Times article, in which Fayyad was directly quoted in numerous passages, the former prime minister — who remains in the post on acting basis only — described Israel’s occupation of the territories as the “biggest problem” facing the Palestinians, but also heaped blame on fellow Palestinian leaders, and made clear he would be going through with his resignation this time.
“It is incredible that the fate of the Palestinian people has been in the hands of leaders so entirely casual, so guided by spur-of-the-moment decisions, without seriousness,” Fayyad was quoted as saying. “We don’t strategize, we cut deals in a tactical way and we hold ourselves hostage to our own rhetoric.”