The most conspicuous aspect of Fayyadism is how far it differs from the policies pursued by President Mahmoud Abbas
The two men got on together pretty well for many years, with only minor disagreements marring their relationship. But cracks began to appear after the signing of the May 2011 Cairo [Fateh-Hamas] agreement, and especially after the announcement of the [February 2012] Doha declaration, in which it was agreed that Abbas, not Fayyad, would head a new government of national unity.
In order to understand what happened, we have to go back to the point at which the Fayyad government's plan to build state institutions and end the occupation failed to achieve its objectives within the specified timeframe. It was at that point that President Abbas concluded that the only way forward was to seek UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state. Fayyad however saw this course of action as futile, preferring to force the international community to face its responsibilities by demonstrating that PA institutions are capable of statehood.
Instead of learning the lessons from its failure to achieve statehood under occupation, Fayyadism strove to extend the life of the plan to build state institutions indefinitely (not unlike the transitional phase of the Oslo agreement, which was supposed to end in May 1999, but which is still in force 13 years later).
Yet disagreement over Abbas's decision to go to the UN is only one of the points of contention between Fayyad and the PA President. Others include:
--Fayyad focuses mainly on ensuring the survival of the PA and consolidating its role, while trying to expand PA control into Areas 'C', boycotting settlements, and civil resistance – without achieving any tangible progress on any of these issues. He rejects all positions calling for dissolving the PA, altering its structure and/or functions, or even criticizing it as an 'authority with no authority,' as such positions, especially if they come from the Palestinian leadership, could undermine the very foundations of the PA and cause it to lose credibility with the international community and – especially – donors, including banks and the private sector. That was why the PA recently concluded an agreement with Israel to improve the process of transferring customs revenues – a step that could be exploited by the Israelis in their effort to extend the occupation by promoting what they call 'economic peace.'
-- Fayyad's readiness-- articulated in an interview with the UK daily Independent – to resume direct peace talks unconditionally, and continuing to press Israel to fulfil its obligation to establish a Palestinian state in the territories occupied in 1967. Fayyad's rationale is that resuming peace talks would improve the Palestinians' position with the United States, Europe, and other members of the international community, and could salvage what could be salvaged of Palestine by forcing Israel to honor its commitments and shoulder its responsibilities.
-- Fayyad opposes the plan to seek UN recognition unless supported by the United States and Europe. He says that the Palestinians do not need another declaration of independence, one that could only lead to collision with the United States, just in order to prove what has been proven already – that up to 150 countries support them in their quest to recover their rights, including statehood, including 132 that have actually recognized a state of Palestine.
-- Fayyad has tabled a plan for [Fateh/Hamas] reconciliation that focuses solely on security. He rejects the ideas that have driven the current reconciliation process which is based on consensus, arguing that the present course has only raised the price of reconciliation and internationalization without achieving either. He calls for holding parliamentary elections in the West Bank only if Hamas refuses to hold them in Gaza. He believes that it is possible for Gazans to run for parliament in the West Bank so as to ensure that the enclave is represented in the new Palestinian legislature. This would consecrate the split between the two wings of the Palestinian homeland, besides constituting a violation of the Gazans' basic right of representation.
-- In an interview with the Washington Post in June, Fayyad called for pursuing what he called 'a third way,' this is after the failure of his alliance with Abbas and Fatah. In the last  elections, Fayyad's 'Third Way’ slate won only two seats. He says that he might form a new party to contest the next elections if he believed that his chances were good.
-- Fayyad refused to head the delegation (as Abbas specifically said he would) that handed the Netanyahu government a letter from the PA President. His explanation was that he found the exercise futile, and anyway he was not a postman.
Fayyadism is a form of realism; it purports to preserve the successes the Palestinians already achieved (American and European recognition especially) particularly since alternatives have so far not been found. Fayyad's program is based on the art of the possible; he believes in recognizing reality and working to improve it. This is a move away from the primary goal of ending the occupation. Working to improve conditions under occupation does not necessarily mean ending it; in fact, it could lead to consolidating it.
Throughout the history of the Palestinian cause, there has always been a 'realist' current, calling for accepting realities as they are. This current has waxed and waned. Followers of this current agreed to an alliance with Britain, the mandatory power, they accepted  partition and the consequences of the nakba (with the West Bank under Jordanian control and Gaza under Egyptian stewardship), and they acceded to the  agreement between Sadat and Begin about self-rule.
The  signing of the Oslo accords and the official policy adopted since then (with the exception of the period between 2000 and 2004) was a continuation of logic advocated by the realists. Yet when peace talks reached a dead end with no end in sight for the occupation, the late Yasser Arafat began changing direction. This led Israel to intensify its aggression (with U.S. support) against the PA. The Israeli onslaught ultimately resulted in the reoccupation of the West Bank, Israel's disengagement from Gaza, and the blockade of Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters. The Israelis and Americans began calling for Arafat's removal and replacement with a new Palestinian leadership that 'fights terrorism,' as George W. Bush put it. Arafat was finally assassinated.
The Palestinians do not need to try solutions they have already tried and found wanting. Relying on the Americans to broker a two-state solution has failed miserably; repeating the exercise would only result in more disappointment and despair – or perhaps worse: a limited form of self-rule on only part of the territories occupied in 1967, with no Jerusalem and no right of return; a form of self-rule that complies with Israeli requirements.
While it is true that Fayyadism now appears to be the only game in town, the most it can possibly achieve is some improvement in the lives of Palestinians under occupation. As such, it could be better than taking risky gambles – or doing nothing at all.
But the Palestinians can adopt a different, patriotic, realistic, and democratic policy, a policy that upholds the rights of the Palestinian people and their national aspirations, a policy that does not ignore reality, but seeks to change it for the better.
The struggle must be restored to its original form, that of an occupied people fighting a colonial and racist occupation bent on stealing their land and expelling them; an occupation that is just waiting for the appropriate conditions to put its plans into action. These plans are designed to destroy any possibility of Palestinian statehood on the territories of 1967 or of the creation of a single bi-national state.
As a result of this new policy, internationalization can become one of the constituents of an alternative strategy and not simply a means to pressure the Israelis into resuming peace talks. Resistance in all its acceptable forms can also become part of this strategy, which is built on restoring national unity, reviving the national project, and building inclusive national institutions, and aims to change the balance of power in order to bring an end to the conflict.