Slogans shouted at rallies sound better when they rhyme. “Not Ismail, not Haniyeh, we want back the government of haramiyeh.” Haramiyeh means thieves, and the protesters in Ramallah – Palestinian Authority workers who have not received their salaries for the last seven months – shouted what can be heard in conversations in the streets of the
The continued strike at PA offices, the rallies of the clerks and the demands for a unity government – all call on the Hamas-led government to recognize the negative balance of its brief tenure. There is justification for the complaints: A government is supposed to make sure that civil servants get their salaries, as part of fulfilling its obligation to protect the welfare of the population. A government – even one as lacking in powers as a Palestinian government under Israeli occupation – is supposed to weigh its political and ideological platform against its ability to meet its civil and economic obligations. But under Hamas, the backbone of society collapsed when the civil servants’ livelihood – as basic and modest as it was – was no longer assured, as it had been during 12 years of chronic instability.
The Fatah governments bequeathed to the Hamas government a dependence on the funds of donor nations, whether they were used for development or to cover the annual budget (including covering the funds that
This year, the donor states decided that they would not let the Hamas movement get the best of both worlds: refraining from recognizing agreements that formally made the establishment of a “government” possible, while receiving the fixed donations. That is logical. The Fatah movement, which is having a hard time digesting its removal from office, is relying on the logic of the international position and is acting in its way to topple the elected government. Fatah is behind the strikers (in the Arafat era, those who led struggles for fair wages were persecuted by the security services and placed in jail.)
But while Fatah is demanding that Hamas recognize the negative balance of its brief tenure, the Fatah movement and its leaders – from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on down – are refusing to draw the relevant personal and political conclusions from the negative balance of their extensive time in power when it comes to the extremely important issue of the struggle for independence and liberation from Israeli occupation. On the basis of these promises, most of the Palestinian public supported the
Before the Oslo Accords, the West Bank and
In this period, the borders of the Palestinian enclaves (Area A and Area B) were fixed, creating isolated islands that were the only areas
Before the decade of negotiations began – the Madrid Conference in 1991 and then the
However, the negative balance of one movement does not cancel out that of its competitor. Apparently both movements are now competing for power and are forgetting that their job is to shorten the days of foreign – Israeli – rule over their people.