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Part 8: Palestinian youth revolt - Any role for political parties?

Dec. 1, 2015 5:00 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 1, 2015 10:33 P.M.)
Palestinian youth throw stones towards Israeli forces during clashes in Hebron on October 4, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader, 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 eighth 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 Alaa Tartir, the program director of al-Shabaka, and also a post-doctoral researcher at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Who will protect and build on the Palestinian wave of anger currently raging in the oPt, and how? The answer to this question should concern us deeply: The continued sacrifices of the Palestinian people should not be exploited by the traditional Palestinian political elite - yet again - as a card in some new round of ill-fated negotiations. It must also not become a way for the authorities to use simply to release the youth’s anger.

The traditional Palestinian leadership’s protracted inability to realize Palestinian aspirations has created an opportunity for non-traditional leaders, including Palestinian civil society actors and opponents of the PA. However, they have yet to make fully use of this opportunity. A structural transformation of Palestinian leadership is needed. It will need time, resources, and political determination as well as mass mobilization at key moments. The forms of struggle and the political objectives are among the key questions to be answered. The alternative is taking shape, but it is still young like the youth in revolt. It is important to address these questions quickly: Without the necessary support and mechanisms to coordinate efforts and initiatives, the movement will quickly die out.

Non-traditional Palestinian leaders should act now to pool their efforts into creating a strategy for struggle that generates rather than draining the wave’s potential and energies. It is a tall order, but it is the only way to avoid another disappointment that increases the existing frustration and disorientation. Moments of historic transformation are never easy.

The way ahead will involve cycles of confrontation on many different fronts. In other words, the confrontation should not be limited to physical standoffs at military checkpoints but extend to the political, economic, media, and other spheres. Indeed, confrontation in a situation of colonization is the only way to change the balance of power equations, challenge the facts on the ground and built a path to the future.

The current movements by the youth and by non-traditional leaders in civil society embody the politics of confrontation: They use collective action to challenge the authorities and their claims of representation. However, we need to move from the current state of anger to a movement that represents the Palestinian society as a whole, transforming it into a society grounded in social movements and horizontal networks that focus on political, economic, and social issues. This can be done by building on existing social and other networks in order to promote collective goals, working for liberation from colonization and defying repressive authorities and elites. This can transform the current wave of anger into a permanent state of confrontation with the colonizer as well as a sustainable social movement that brings the colonized closer to freedom and self-determination.

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 7 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.
Comments
Brian Cohen / Israel
Before 1948 Jerusalem had a majority of Jews and thousands lived in the Old City. Then the Jordanians captured half of the city and colonized the Jews homes. DItto in Hebron and other places where Arab military might prevailed- Arab colonies were set up on Jewish lands.
01/12/2015 23:17
Brian Cohen / Israel
Then after 1948 came the war crimes by Arab countries who ethnically cleansed the Jewish populations and illegaly siezed (aka stole) their homes and assets: Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Morocco...illegal war crimes by what are still brutal Arab dictatorships. Palestine is the same-a brutal Arab dictatorship.
01/12/2015 23:20
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