Salam Fayyad is one of the Mideast leaders who isn't reacting to the social media pointed in his direction with a knee-jerk ban. Instead, he is rolling his Facebook pageout as a platform for crowdsourcing his cabinet.Palestinian Prime Minister
Dr. Fayyad dismissed his old cabinet on February 14, in the wake of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. He is obliged to appoint a new cabinet in less than six weeks, so he's reached out to the young people to ask them to be a part of the process.
According to Foreign Policy, the reaction to the outreach was quite strong, with a thousand responses posted within only a couple of hours.
Like most situations in which people who've held things bottled up get a chance to directly address a decision maker, there were both statements of encouragement and indictments of the collusion between Fayyad's Fatah party and Hamas.
Fayyad's goal seems to be to bring the Gaza Strip, under Hamas, and the West Bank, under Fatah, back together as a single polity. One way he hopes to do that is get the youth of Palestine on his side using social media.
Long before the Jasmine Uprisings, Palestinian youth used Facebook. One group, Gaza Youth Break Out!, issued a stunning manifesto, condemning all the old fogies they believe have united to keep them down for years. Walid Husayin used Facebook to satirize Islam and was arrested for it.
Time will tell if Dr. Fayyad actually intends to act on the feelings of his constituents, or if this was merely a stunt. If he does, it could create a sense of investment in the process that seems to be in short supplyin Palestine these days.
Fayyad and Ramallah photos via Wikimedia Commons