No, this is not a joke. The BBC just reported that Abbas appointed a new prime minister, Salam Fayyad, as Prime Minister of Fatah-controlled Palestine. The BBC helpfully adds that “a former World Bank executive, Mr Fayyad is a well-respected figure internationally” thereby using the code words indicating that this appointment has received the approval of Abbas’ bosses in the Imperial High Command. Wikipedia says that “he is seen as pro-Western” and that he also was the IMF’s representative in Palestine. Needless to say, he demands that Hamas “recognize Israel”.
My take on all this is that this is yet another case of what the French call “la fuite en avant” (the “escape forward”): a situation in which a subject is overcome by panic and “does more of the same expecting different results” (one of the best definitions of insanity). Considering Mr. Fayyad’s World Bank, IMF, Fatah and pro-Israel “credentials” we can be sure that the situation in the West Bank will deteriorate even further.