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Fayyad criticized for attending Israeli security conference

Feb. 3, 2010 3:46 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 4, 2010 5:34 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma'an – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad addressed the Tenth Herzliya Conference on Wednesday, following Israeli Foreign Minster Ehud Barak, and amid harsh criticism from several sides in Palestine.

The conference, at the Campus of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, was co-sponsored by Israel's Institute for Policy and Strategy, and The Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy. Topics at the conference were Israeli personal security, regional security, Russian immigration, preparedness on the home front, pension savings, Iran as a nuclear threat and climate change.

Fayyad attended a final discussion on regional peace, and stressed the need to hand over security control to Palestinian officers, saying "It's time to stop the IDF raids. The Palestinians can have an official security presence outside Area A as well."

The prime minister also took the opportunity to address the settlements issue. He was quoted by Israeli media as saying:

"The Palestinian state must be built in the areas where the settlements are today. One of the main ways to move forwards towards an implementation of the Road Map is by stopping Israel's infiltration into territories slated to be part of our state.

"People ask why the Palestinians are making so much noise when it comes to the settlements. The issue is presented in a very materialistic manner, and they are trying to present it in a very simplistic manner. The Palestinians declare that their state must be built exactly on the territories you are building on ... East Jerusalem is an integral part of the future state of Palestine."

Criticism

Senior Fatah official Hatem Abdul Qader criticized Fayyad for his decision to attend conference, saying the political party as a whole was "furious about this participation in a conference held by the Israeli security establishment."

Abdul Qader said the conference was a venue for discussing ways of undermining Palestinian rights and driving them out of Jerusalem.

"This year’s conference set up five standers for the 'Jewish immunity of Jerusalem'; tightening control on Jerusalem, changing the demographics of the city, gaining control of Palestinian lands through confiscation and disrupting the social fabric of Jerusalem society."

Abdul Qader described the conference as "offensive on all levels," and not something that "any Palestinian should participate in." He further urged the PLO to take control of the increasing "lawlessness of Palestinian officials."

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