Things are bad in the Arab world, but Thomas Friedman sees green shoots in an unlikely place: Palestine. “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to the wider Middle East what off-Broadway is to Broadway,” he writes in the New York Times. “It is where all good and bad ideas get tested out first.” And right now, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is testing out a very good idea.
Fayyad’s a former finance minister, and he believes in “legitimacy by achievement,” the idea that if Palestine develops quality institutions, independence will follow. Friedman dubs this “Fayyadism,” a direct opponent to “Arafatism,” which “focused on Palestinian rights first, state institutions later, if ever, and produced neither.” Thanks to Fayyadism, “things are getting truly better in the West Bank.”