Why the Palestinian Youth Need to Break the Shackles of The Old Leading Generation?

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

As in all human societies a conflict always exists between ways adopted by old and new generations. It is normal to see an older generation  inclined to hold on to its views and reluctant  to respond to changes of a world  in constant movement, unlike the younger generation that  seeks instant change instead of an evolutionary one in time that may save a nation from the horrible destructive impacts of a sudden revolution.

In our Palestinian society, the gap between the two generations is increasingly widening because, unlike other human societies, the Palestinian youth are being raised under a brutal colonial occupation without an apparent end and a decent future in sight. They never experienced the dignity of living under an independent political state enjoying liberty and civil rights like other nations in our world. They are stuck with an (Palestinian) Authority led by the older generation which lacks the actual power, socially and politically, except what the Zionist military colonial occupation permits or dictates by force.

The Palestinian parliament has only five deputies considered young, and only two of them held ministerial posts among a total of 250 of the ‘older generation’ in the various cabinets formed since the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in 1994. One would hardly find a leader whether in the P.L.O. Executive Committee, the National Council, the Central Council or Fatah Central Committee who is less than 65 year old!

A report by the palestinian Institute of Economic Development of Birzeit University drew a map for the expected future of social and economic development in Palestine projecting a pessimistic role for young leaders under the current conditions. The report indicated that “internal Palestinian divisions among the major political organizations and the lack of Palestinian youth in positions of leadership would lead to the destruction of the democratic process and would give endurance to the colonial Zionist occupation”.

Young Palestinians, despite being imprisoned under brutal Israeli military occupation, are seen as the only hope left to end it. Despite a high unemployment rate, they have tacitly transformed themselves into a rather cohesive unit and a driving force behind a popular struggle to resist the occupation, regardless of cost. Palestinian youth between the ages of 15 and 20 known as the Oslo generation are seen now standing tall, without fear, challenging the biggest brutal colonial killing machine in our world today that belongs to–believe it or not-a member state in the United Nations that has very recently been elected as the Chair of its Legal Committee !! Our Palestinian youth left with only one choice, i.e. to live the undignified life of servitude under a racist Zionist occupation, chose death instead which moved the hearts and minds of every human being with a live conscience in our world.

It is worthy within this context, to cite the roles of youthful generations in other nations, namely– for example – in the USA where they became an integral part in the political process. American youth, less than thirty years old, formed the block that ran the campaign of candidate Obama and against great odds gave him the victory of the very first American President of African descent. They invented a way to collect small donations on the internet in the hundreds of millions of dollars which made Obama independent of the special interests for the first time in American history. Thus, they changed the political map in the United States and, God willing, so will the Palestinian youth.

The participation of the younger generation (encompassing the majority of the Palestinian people) in government would most probably enhance – among other advantages – the democratic process, nib the corruption from its roots and terminate nepotism as a habitual practice in public departments. Such participation would lead to progressive changes without any upheavals since youth form the necessary blocks for building the structures of a nation that endure in time.

The current petty squabbling among major Palestinian organizations competing to grab more power to serve their narrow self-interests has rendered the Palestinian political arena without an effective leadership to deal wisely and steadfastly with a brutal colonial occupation. Our Zionist enemy that seeks the demise of the Palestinian presence in historical Palestine is–we must admit- the most educated and technically advanced society in the Middle East.  Any Israeli demand is met by billions and billions of dollars rolling in to enhance the economy of the Zionist colonial state while we knock on doors begging for crumbs asking nations to take pity on us. That is why our youth chose to rise up in revolt against such indignities that no human society can ever tolerate for even a fraction of the time that the Palestinians were forced to endure.

Our Palestinian youth, as seen in their current revolt or ‘Habba’ stepped forward to fill the vacuum left by the squabbling Palestinian divisions and an exhausted Arab nation that is being shredded from the inside by hell-bent ‘takfiri’ hordes falsely claiming Islam as their religion. The Palestinian youth, being the main force confronting the military colonial occupation, should share the power in the PA government ruled by men of the older generation. Their participation will certainly inject new blood and vigor in the governing body and its political institutions.  We are being taught by the Palestinian youth on a daily basis, the lesson of the purpose of life summed up in a single stand of courage, honesty and dignity.