Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Palestinians' New Dynamic

Shibley Telhami, Univ. of Maryland-College Park & The Brookings Instutition
The Baltimore Sun, Jan. 25 2006
In a surprise move, the Bush administration allowed the Palestinian Authority to take sole credit for U.S.-funded projects intended to help its prospects in today's Palestinian elections. This marked a sudden reversal of a recent policy to take direct credit for development projects in the Middle East as part of a new public diplomacy effort to improve America's image.

The impact will likely be minimal, but the strategy highlights a particular dilemma for the United States as its credibility and reputation in the Palestinian areas and the rest of the Arab world have suffered significantly: How to embrace allies without being the kiss of death.

In reality, U.S. support for the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is a mixed blessing. Being seen as America's man has somewhat diminished the legitimacy of Mr. Abbas' leadership who, despite being democratically elected, has never achieved the popular credentials of Yasser Arafat. But being America's man can also help a political leader...

Full-text available, click here.

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