With BBC audiences still unaware of the fact that the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister resigned in late January, a new – and of course unelected – prime minister was appointed by Mahmoud Abbas on March 10th.
“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appointed longtime ally Mohammad Shtayyeh as prime minister on Sunday, a senior official said, in a move seen as part of efforts to further isolate Hamas.
Abbas asked Shtayyeh, a member of the central committee of the Palestinian president’s Fatah party, to form a new government, Fatah vice president Mahmoud al-Aloul told AFP.”
A member of Fatah’s central committee as noted above, Shtayyeh has a record of denying Jewish history in the region and whitewashing terrorism. That of course has not prevented him from being interviewed by the BBC on numerous occasions over the years.
In late 2014 listeners to BBC World Service radio heard Shtayyeh claim that areas assigned by the League of Nations to the creation of a Jewish homeland but occupied by Egypt and Jordan between 1948 and 1967 were “Palestinian territory”
“This is a strategic shift in which we are leaving the bi-lateral negotiations that has not been really the answer for ending the Israeli occupation that has occurred on the Palestinian territory in 1967.”
He also gave an inaccurate and misleading portrayal of years of avoidance of serious negotiation by the PA.
“We have given the negotiations every single possibility and unfortunately the United States has not really made Netanyahu thirsty enough to bring him to the river to drink.”
Shtayyeh gave a similarly inaccurate portrayal of the reasons for the demise of the last round of negotiations between Israel and the PLO during which three tranches of releases of convicted terrorists took place, with the fourth and final tranche postponed due to lack of progress in the negotiations and later cancelled because of unilateral Palestinian moves that included ‘reconciliation’ between Fatah and Hamas.
“And Israel did not allow the release of the Palestinian prisoners which has been agreed upon and mediated by Secretary Kerry, so from our side we have given negotiations every possibility.”
Since early 2017 BBC audiences have repeatedly heard Shtayyeh opine that the prospects for a two-state solution have ended.
“This is very dangerous what President-elect Trump wants to do,” Palestinian official, Mohammed Shtayyeh tells me. “It is American recognition that Jerusalem is part of the State of Israel.”
“We would consider this American move as an end to the peace process, an end to the two states and really putting the whole region into chaos.””
“For us we consider Jerusalem as a future capital of the State of Palestine, so having the president moving the embassy there, then it is an American recognition that Jerusalem is part of the State of Israel. That’s why we consider this American move as an end to the peace process; an end to two states and really, putting the whole region into chaos.”
“The peace process is not going anywhere. The facts on the ground are changing all the time. Israel continues to build settlements,” says Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior negotiator who will help write President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the United Nations this week.
“The only option we have is to go to the United Nations and ask for recognition of the 1967 borders. This is not a unilateral move. The United Nations is a multilateral forum.”
None of that is of course surprising coming from one of the Fatah faithful who was present at the 2014 wreath-laying ceremony for the Munich Olympics terrorists in Tunis together with Jeremy Corbyn.
It does however mean that – as one analyst put it – there is no reason to expect any changes in the new PA government’s policy.