Tuesday, Sept. 17
Latest News
  1. Palestinian goverment: 26 million in development of ministries
  2. Rudeineh: Washington us unable to achieve anything by itself
  3. US: “No plan for unilateral annexation by Israel of the West Bank"
  4. Cluster of incendiary balloons land in southern Israel
  5. Palestinian FM condemns Germany's vote to define BDS as 'anti-Semitic'
  6. Israeli forces forcibly evict Muslim worshipers from Al-Aqsa
  7. Israeli forces detain 14-year-old Palestinian near Ramallah
  8. Erekat: Deviation from peace terms of reference doomed to fail
  9. Iceland's Hatari shocks Eurovision with Palestinian flags
  10. UNRWA: 4 Palestinian children killed in attack on Syria refugee camp

Part 7: Palestinian youth revolt - Any role for political parties?

Nov. 30, 2015 4:33 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 30, 2015 8:24 P.M.)
A Palestinian demonstrator uses a slingshot to hurl rocks at Israeli forces during clashes in al-Bireh on the outskirts of Ramallah, on November 29, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani, File)
Al-Shabaka is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and foster public debate on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law.

The following is the seventh segment of an eight-part publication on the current absence of authentic Palestinian national leadership and the current youth uprising against Israel’s prolonged military occupation and denial of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

The segment is authored by Belal Shobaki, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Hebron University, Palestine, and a member of the American Political Studies Association.

The current popular movement makes it even more urgent for the political parties to transcend partisan interests and contribute to the expansion of civil and social activism. Fatah and Hamas have a golden opportunity to move beyond their preoccupation with the institutional concerns of managing the PA and to act in a way that befits their identity as liberation movements under occupation. All factions should join ranks in drafting a national agenda that transcends Oslo and the institutional structure incapacitating the Palestinian struggle. They can use their media machines to rebuild a political, economic and social culture that nurtures the uprising rather than polarization and partisan mobilization. This would entail a behavioral change in the Palestinians' comfortable consumption habits, especially in the West Bank.

Fatah may find it difficult to take such actions, given that it identifies with PA institutions. However, Fatah's loss will be much greater if it fails to change. The general mood of the Palestinian public, including Fatah's own constituency, differs completely from the political leadership's belief that the current events are just a "wave of anger" that can be controlled by the security agencies and exploited to drive negotiations with Israel. The Palestinian factions' failure to mobilize for an open confrontation with the occupation while the youth uprising continues will doubtless generate field leaders who will be more capable of directing the scene than those sitting in their offices. This would lead to a widening gap between field forces free of regulatory and partisan restrictions and government bureaucrats.

Such a movement should look beyond the Fatah and Hamas options. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Islamic Jihad could mobilize strong rallies and demonstrations against the occupation. Both enjoy the respect of the Palestinian people and have more freedom than Hamas, which has been the target of a double security campaign in the West Bank by Israel and the PA. Both movements could work with other factions to support open confrontation with the Israeli occupation and lead a call for the formation of coordinating committees to manage the uprising. These committees should later evolve into a joint leadership that subsequently becomes an integral part of the PLO as part of a program to reform the organization.

However, creating a new space is contingent on overcoming past experience and specifically the experience of the Oslo formula for a two-state solution. The actors currently monopolizing Palestinian political institutions are the ones who still back this formula. If the public turns the uprising into a rejection of Oslo, in addition to confronting the occupation, either new leaders will emerge who will pursue new options or the current leaders will feel compelled to change their rhetoric and political behavior.

This piece is part of Al-Shabaka's roundtable discussion publication. The full version was originally published on Al-Shabaka's website on November 23, 2015.

Part 6 can be found here.

The views expressed in this article are the authors and do not necessarily reflect Ma'an News Agency's editorial policy.
Send Comment
Comment:(300 chars)
Most Read
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015