Moderates do exist

By Vadim Sagalchik

In response to Othman O’Malley’s column asking where are all the moderate figures in the Middle East and implying that democracies do not exist there, we have to look no closer than Israel and Palestine to find moderates that do actually want to work together. Salam Fayyad, the current prime minister of Palestine, received a doctorate in economics from the University of Texas and has experience in the International Monetary Fund. He has conviction that armed resistance is counterproductive; however, he is implementing economic reforms in the West Bank that are setting it on the right course for independence and moderation. When Fayyad became finance minister, he stripped authority over the civilian payroll from the Palestinian civil service bureau (which was under Arafat’s watch at the time) and brought it to his own ministry, which meant that the bureau in charge of hiring no longer also distributed checks, and it enabled Fayyad to end a patronage system that was annually adding 10,000 to 15,000 people, with undeserving credentials. He also issued the first detailed, public Palestinian budget, while increasing transparency across the board. Subsequently, Fayyad’s economic focus will align people’s interests with the Palestinian will for peace, and the second democracy in the Middle East will emerge.

Vadim Sagalchik

Junior in Business