’Pebbles Cooking’ Policy, a Farce that Reflects Palestinian Suffering

’Pebbles Cooking’ Policy, a Farce that Reflects Palestinian Suffering


When it won the armed confrontation against Fatah Movement in June 2007, Hamas movement declared a general amnesty and took the initiative of calling- through Prime Minister Ismail Haniya- for dialogue, but Fatah Movement replied- through president Mahmoud Abbas- that “there is no dialogue with coupists”, triggering a heated verbal war, exchange of accusations through local media and Arab satellite channels. This led to escalating enmity and a schism in the homeland, gradually jeopardizing our national project and our social and human relations, and dealing a knockout punch to even the dreams of a free and independent Palestinian statehood, upon whose bases the settlement process has been lingering for more than two decades.


Hamas (both movement and government) has undoubtedly been more successful in running the file of the crisis with Fatah Movement. It made the Authority in Ramallah- through the viewpoint of observers- in the defensive through blaming it for standing behind obstructing the dialogue and of adopting a suspicious agenda to establish schism and division.


It was clear that Hamas”s discourse preaching dialogue to reach a more scrupulous and credible reconciliation aimed to maintain people”s unity and bridge the gap between both parts of the homeland. Hamas gained a huge popular sympathy because of this flexibility and readiness to restore the situation upon the win-win principle. It preconditioned reforms required by the political partnership system with securing a peaceful transfer of power to lay grounds for the concept of legitimacy won through allot polls by one party or another.


The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah realized that the policy of ignoring and not dealing with Hamas and its initiatives for dialogue will 3compromise any gains.


Therefore, another flexible rhetoric emerged, a rhetoric that talks about recognizing the presence of Hamas as a part of the Palestinian people and as a majority in the Legislative Council. This rhetoric preconditions that for the dialogue to be finalized, Hamas movement declares readiness to backpedal on seizing control over Gaza Strip and that situations return to before 14 June 2007.


Hamas…The view and situation


This debate over each party”s conditions of and view towards dialogue and reconciliation continued. For its part, Hamas offered ideas which revolved- from the beginning- around the following points:


1- Unity of geography of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

2- Unity of the Palestinian political system, one single authority and one single government.

3- Respecting the democratic option, rules of the democratic game and adhering to its results.

4- Respecting the Palestinian legitimacy and all its components: The presidency and the Legislative Council.

5- Respecting and adhering to the Palestinian Basic Law.

6- Rebuilding Palestinian security services on national and professional bases without any faction interventions.

7- Adhering to Cairo Agreement (2005), the Accordance Document approved by the Palestinian factions (2006), and Mecca agreement (2007).

8- Sticking to our people”s right to resistance occupation so long as it still exists.

9- Restructuring and reactivating the Palestinian Liberation Organization on the basis of free elections and with the participation of all Palestinian powers, factions across the political spectrum bot at home and in exile.


Although what Hamas offered was clear, but the PA party in Ramallah refused to start the dialogue unless Hamas shows readiness to abandon the so called security achievement and accept to restore it to the situation before seizing power in Gaza Strip.


Therefore, the PA in Ramallah reiterated its nos and repeated its circumlocutions over Arab efforts and initiatives (Yemeni, Egyptian and Qatari initiative) under the claim that the ball is in the court of Hamas, that Ismail Haniya”s government must restore the situations to normal and that it must recognize the legitimacy of the PA”s measures.


For its part, Hamas movement: What president Abu Mazen demands and puts as a condition for the dialogue are in fact potential results for the dialogue, but the policy of “putting hurdles” leads only to aborting or obstructing the dialogue.


Several months passed under such political rows. The Authority in Ramallah was betting on a possible collapse of Hamas thinking that it wouldn”t be able to afford salaries of more than 20000 employee especially after Fatah cadres withdrew from government services and bodies to create a job deficit that may- some PA officials hoped- cause a crisis.


However, Hamas stunned everyone with its ability to fill government vacant jobs and afford the money required to pay salaries of all employees who remained I their jobs and those who were appointed later to fill the job deficit.


Between the ordeal and “cooking pebbles”


There is an ordeal which is manifested in the dispute, in the rivalry over sources of living, in lacking a joint cooperation. This ordeal is manifested in violating human dignity in society, oppression, and psychological, social and intellectual worry. When the human being turns into a commodity, when he loses its dignity as a human being, when he becomes only something and when he is defeated and humiliated, when all this happens, then there is an ordeal.


Symptoms of the ordeal include a feeling of alienation, a tendency to travel abroad, a deep feeling of boredom, or a feeling of hatred, humiliation and defeatism etc.


These symptoms of ordeal are clearly reflected on the Palestinian case as a state of confusion is overwhelming the political landscape.


People are insulting each other and fanaticism and partisanship prevail. While the homeland is suffering and opportunists are mushrooming. Citizens are suffering and waiting for “cooking pebbles”. Our homeland is collapsing while infighting is endless.


The public opinion reportedly says that Hams pays money to its members and Fatah gives money to its members while people who don”t belong to any party are the real victim. Every party approves the “pebbles cooking” policy through making these hungry people ( who don”t belong to Fatah or Hamas ) think that “there is a delicious food” and that they should only wait.


The public opinion sees that it is too long, that people are tired by political rows between Fatah and Hamas, and that this suffering must come to a halt. The Zionist entity engulfed us in daily concerns and made us move away from the core of the conflict, creating queues on crossings and to receive a gasoline or gas coupon.


It has become a tragedy in the full meaning of the word. We- the Palestinians- want to blame others for our mistakes. We should carry out our duties. When we get convinced that we achieved this duty, we can then point fingers of accusation to others.


There are many files in the crisis that we need to get rid of. The political landscape can no longer endure any more disastrous files. People have realized – after waiting for long- that what are boiling and are being cooked are merely pebbles, and that the amounts of salt added from time to time will never turn it into a soup.


Our people expected Madrid conference to bring them a statehood and peacemaking but it was revealed to be an illusion. Then came Oslo which was revealed to be a Pandora”s box of illusions followed by “the road map “, the US initiative backed by the Quartet Committee. This road map was unfortunately a security scheme that filled the road of our people with pumps and hurdles. Then came the suspicious call for Annapolis conference which embodied a scandalous case of deceit on Palestinians chins and some Arabs who naively took part in it.


The PL leadership stops short of declaring its bankruptcy and failure in running our national project, administering instead a policy of evading to admit failure through escaping forward allegedly claiming that light is at the end of the tunnel.


All factions have to settle it in Cairo . They have to either return home with a consensus that establishes a national reconciliation, lay ground for a political attitude that protects and saves our national project, or their consultations must be deemed useless, throwing this Oslo-produced PA to dustbin of history.



*Political adviser of the Palestinian Foreign Minister