April 15, Washington DC -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) thanks outgoing Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for his outstanding service. Fayyad will continue as Caretaker Prime Minister for the Palestinian Authority (PA) but is expected to leave office in the near future.
Fayyad achieved the status of a global statesman by leading the PA in enormous strides in multiple sectors -- particularly after the institution-building program was launched in the summer of 2009 -- including finance, security, accountability and public services. These achievements are vital in their own right, and also serve as an enormous contribution to the goal of establishing a successful Palestinian state.
As Finance and Prime Minister, Fayyad oversaw the development of what is probably the most transparent public finance system in the Arab world.
Upon taking office as Prime Minister in 2007, Fayyad personally took charge of restructuring the Palestinian security sector, which was fractured and in disarray. Under his leadership, new security forces restored law and order, greatly reduced crime and violence, and coordinated effectively with Israeli forces, prompting the removal of a significant number of roadblocks and checkpoints.
Before the recent fiscal crisis, the institution-building program succeeded in launching more than 1,700 community development programs, and built over 120 schools, three hospitals and 50 health clinics. More than 1,000 miles of roads were paved and 850 miles of water pipes installed. Significant reforms were made in the education and justice sectors. Simultaneously, Fayyad reduced the percentage of the Palestinian budget dependent on foreign aid.
These achievements received widespread international recognition. "According to the World Bank and the I.M.F., the Palestinian Authority has been remarkably successful in building Palestinian public institutions," Jonas Gahr Store, foreign minister of Norway and chairman of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, noted in September 2011. He continued, "The World Bank affirms that Palestinian institutions have achieved a level above the threshold for a functioning state in key sectors such as revenue and expenditure management, economic development, service delivery and security and justice. In this respect, Palestine has achieved more than many states that are full U.N. members, and has also passed a tougher economic stress test than many E.U. member states."
Fayyad was subjected to an increasingly vituperative campaign of public vilification. He met this challenge by addressing the recent Palestinian fiscal crisis, which was exacerbated by a shortfall in donor aid and the withholding of Palestinian tax revenues by Israel. In recent weeks, Fayyad secured renewed funding for the PA, met payroll, and passed a budget. He never failed to carry out his responsibilities with competence and integrity, in spite of the mounting obstacles he faced from many different quarters simultaneously.
ATFP President Ziad Asali said, "The global credibility that Salam Fayyad earned remains an enormous asset for the Palestinian people and cause. ATFP wishes him well in whatever role he chooses to play in the future."
ATFP is confident that a Palestinian state will be established, and that the policies of building accountable and effective institutions will be an integral part of that process.