[News] Palestinian Youth Revolt: Any Role for Political Parties?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Nov 27 12:59:23 EST 2015

  Palestinian Youth Revolt: Any Role for Political Parties?

by Jamal Juma' <https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/JamalJuma/>, Jamil 
Hilal <https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/JamilH/>, Nijmeh Ali 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/nijmehali/>, Khalil Shaheen 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/khalil-shaheen/>, Jaber Suleiman 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/JaberS/>, Mjriam Abu Samra 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/mjriamabusamra/>, Belal Shobaki 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/belalshobaki/>, Alaa Tartir 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/alaat/> on November 23, 2015



The absence of authentic Palestinian national leadership is particularly 
acute at this time of crisis. The current youth uprising against 
Israel’s prolonged military occupation and denial of human rights in the 
occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) and within Israel is generally 
acknowledged to be largely leaderless. What role is there for political 
parties to contribute to the youth uprising given that they remain 
entrenched in the Palestinian body politic despite their splits and 
weaknesses? Assuming that Fatah-Hamas reconciliation remains stalled, 
what can other political parties and forces do to provide a framework 
for national leadership, whether within or outside the Palestine 
Liberation Organization (PLO)? What other avenues could provide a space 
for national – or local - leadership to emerge at such times of crisis, 
and beyond?

There are some common strands in the Al-Shabaka policy analysts’ 
diagnosis of the situation, but their ideas for future action divide 
into two broad clusters: Those who suggest alternatives beyond the 
current political set-up and those who look for ways to make the current 
structure work. Jamal Juma’ 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/JamalJuma/> calls for serious 
investment in rebuilding the political space in order to support the 
uprising, including strengthened homeland-Diaspora ties. Jamil Hilal 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/JamilH/> argues that one way forward 
is by building on and linking local, democratically constituted 
committees as the basis for a revived national movement. Nijmeh Ali 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/nijmehali/> does not see a new 
alternative framework but rather calls for a change of behaviors within 
the existing system. Khalil Shaheen 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/khalil-shaheen/> also believes there 
is still room in this transitional phase for the traditional party 
system - as compromised as it is.

Jaber Suleiman <https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/JaberS/> points out 
that the youth wave of anger is as much against the PA, but that there 
is no option but to find ways to collaborate in order to sustain the 
momentum. Mjiriam Abu Samra 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/mjriamabusamra/> concludes that it is 
the youth themselves who will ultimately radically reform Palestinian 
politics. Belal Shobaki <https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/belalshobaki/> 
notes that the fact that the Popular Front for the Liberation of 
Palestine and Islamic Jihad can still bring out the numbers could serve 
as a way to harness traditional parties to the new wave. Alaa Tartir 
<https://al-shabaka.org/en/author/alaat/> argues that confrontation at 
all levels and different spheres needs to become a way of life until 
freedom is realized.

    Jamal Juma’: Vision, Clear Objectives, Multi-Level Relationships

For nearly two months, Palestinians have waited for the political 
parties to shoulder their role in leading and guiding the uprising. 
Clearly, they are neither able nor willing to do so. There are several 
reasons for their inaction. For one thing, party leaders are reluctant 
to pay the price of leading and framing popular resistance, whether this 
price is extracted by the Israeli occupation authorities in the form of 
arrests, prosecution and targeting of organizations - especially as the 
parties operate openly and their organizational structures are weak. Nor 
do they want to lose the privileges they enjoy as members of the PLO, 
both in terms of financial benefits and political status.

Moreover, the various parties cannot act without the consent of the 
Palestinian Authority (PA) security apparatus and that of its leading 
faction, Fatah: They are currently too weak to change the status quo. 
President Mahmoud Abbas, who holds all the power, believes that the 
uprising accomplished its mission by refocusing attention on the 
Palestinian cause and stimulating the international community and is 
betting on new initiatives to resume the negotiations with Israel. 
Indeed, Abbas has announced in unequivocal terms that he does not want 
an uprising.

Given the weakness of their current composition and organizational 
structures, these parties cannot provide a political, organizational and 
economic framework capable of leading a long-term uprising that would 
drain the Israeli occupation’s resources and energies. A successful 
uprising would require a comprehensive vision to achieve clear and 
attainable objectives by mobilizing local, regional and international 
opportunities and relationships.

As for the Islamic forces, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, they have also taken 
the same position of inaction. They too do not want to pay the price and 
give Israel an opportunity to launch an offensive against the Gaza 
Strip. They also fear that the uprising could be exploited to improve 
the terms of negotiations for the Palestine Liberation Organization 
(PLO) and PA.

There are several factors in favor of creating a space for a new 
national or local leadership. Even if it subsides, the current uprising 
has raised the question the current leadership's eligibility and has 
legitimized the search for alternatives. It has also united the 
Palestinian people inside the Green Line, the West Bank, Jerusalem and 
Gaza. Ironically, the political forces are the ones who remain divided. 
The Palestinians in the Diaspora have also acted albeit in a limited 
way, and have helped to organize demonstrations. The actions on the 
ground are seeding an emerging leadership that can be nurtured, although 
it is scattered and localized.

On the negative side, however, it is clear that the PA will not allow a 
new leadership to emerge, and will spare no effort to thwart it, even if 
this requires coordination with the Israeli occupation – with which it 
is coordinating anyway. In addition, the existing grassroots movements 
are weak, while intellectuals play a weak role in Palestinian political 
life and are unable to support popular forces. As for the Palestinian 
diaspora, it has little influence on decision-making.

The challenge is to build on the positive factors and minimize the 
negative ones: Note that any serious movement to create an alternative 
leadership would have to work below the radar to some extent.

To begin with, it is important to provide a space safe from political 
domination, a space in which it would be possible to support those 
popular forces that have a political vision and capacity to mobilize, 
such as trade unions, farmers’ organizations, women’s federations, and 
of course youth groups, so that they can work alongside the uprising.

It is also important to tap the potential of the Palestinian Diaspora, 
especially among the youth, and to organize working groups that could 
communicate and coordinate with enlightened national figures who believe 
in the important role the Diaspora has to play in both Palestinian 
decision-making and in supporting the resistance of the Palestinian people.

Indeed, it is vital to invest in meaningful coordination between the 
homeland and the Diaspora. We must rebuild the trust between us and 
revive our self-confidence and confidence in our ability to affect 
change. In the final analysis, we must have absolute faith in our people 
and in their ability to sacrifice and advance and we must believe, 
beyond any doubt, that we will prevail.

    Jamil Hilal: Democratic Communities, Networked New Leadership

Democratic and progressive political parties have historically provided 
leadership in the struggle for freedom from oppression, especially from 
settler-colonial pillage and terror. Unfortunately this has not happened 
here since the first Intifada in the late1980s. Not only have political 
parties and movements failed to embrace their responsibility, they have 
also acted in ways that have fragmented the Palestinian national 
liberation movement. Instead, the parties should have critically 
reviewed past progress and failings so as to rebuild a movement more 
attuned to new national, regional and international conditions. In 
short, political parties are in no position to provide a unified 
leadership and a coherent strategy to the present youth struggle against 
the colonial oppressors and to the youth’s bleak future.

As for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, all indications are that 
it is not forthcoming soon. The other political parties have played the 
role of a mediator instead of forming an alternative leadership with a 
program to address the intensified fragmentation, colonization and 
subjugation imposed on Palestinians. No historic bloc has been formed to 
pressure the two main opposed movements (Fatah and Hamas) to come to 
their senses, or, failing which, to take the responsibility of providing 
a new vision and leadership. The majority of the Palestinian people are 
disillusioned and frustrated by the continued bickering and performance 
of Fatah and Hamas while more land is colonized and homes destroyed, 
Palestinians arbitrarily arrested, Jerusalem Israel-ized, Gazans 
subjected to a slow genocide, the 1948 Palestinians suffering 
discrimination and segregation, and refugees condemned to exile. Now 
unarmed youth are being assassinated in cold blood by the Israeli army 
and settlers while security co-ordination is shamelessly maintained.

The answer may be for each Palestinian community to establish its 
alternative democratic leadership and to think collectively regarding 
how to construct a new national movement while preserving the assets 
that the Palestinian struggle built in previous decades. This will not 
be easy, but the 1948 Palestinians seem to be on the right track and 
their example should be studied and where possible followed.

Of course, this is not easily implemented. Yet there seems to be a need, 
given the extremely vulnerable situation of most Palestinian 
communities, to establish local committees in villages, refugee camps, 
and town neighborhoods so that they can articulate their needs according 
to the specifics of their situation, and then to form larger 
associations. For example, in the West Bank, the question for a large 
number of communities is how to defend themselves, their land and 
property against the murderous attacks of the settlers; in the Gaza 
Strip, how to contend with the pressing problems caused by Israel’s 
siege and repeated deadly wars; and in Lebanon, how to empower popular 
committees in the refugee camps so that they form a “unified framework” 
to deal with the broader problems across camps. The role of such local 
committees could expand as the situation demands, whether from 
municipalities, village councils, local branches of political parties, 
and local civil societies and institutions. The examples of the ongoing 
struggles of Higher Follow Up Committee among the 1948 Palestinians and 
the struggles of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement 
are beacons for the rest of us.

But in the real world, people sit down and find concrete solutions to 
the problems they face in a specific situation. Luckily, they do not 
wait, for people like me to tell them what to do.

    Nijmeh Ali: Change Must Come From Within the Parties

The Palestinian youth that have taken to the streets are initiating an 
important phase in responding to the Israeli occupation and to 
injustice, indicating the significant role the younger generations could 
play replacing the current leadership.

However, the question remains: is the new generation capable of bringing 
the uprising or wave of anger from the street into political or 
diplomatic spheres? The problem lies in the failure to revolt against 
the traditional Palestinian leaderships of Fatah, Hamas and the left: 
This is what is needed in order to transform the spirit of revolution 
into diplomatic and political results.

The Palestinian political parties are currently acting like parties 
everywhere: They are weighing the political gains they can reap from 
this wave of anger, such as resuming negotiations with Israel. They are 
not acting like revolutionary parties fighting a battle for liberation, 
and are out of line with the public mood. Thus, the parties are likely 
to erect obstacles rather than to support the youth uprising or any 
other action outside established institutional frameworks such as the 
factions armed wings. Uncontrolled actions do not benefit political 
parties because they cannot steer them.

The issue is not about creating a new space within or outside the PLO. 
It is also about changing the political behavior of Palestinians as a 
people affiliated with existing political bodies. It is imperative to 
transcend the narrow partisan affiliations have entrenched the internal 
Palestinian division and weakened the PLO. The popular wave of anger is 
an open rebellion against such narrow affiliations and an expression of 
the need to reinforce national as opposed to partisan attachments.

However, given this reality and the deepening partisan division, it 
would have been more promising had the youth rebelled against the 
current political leaderships and replaced them with younger leaders 
with political energy, confidence and vigor.

Local leaders have never been isolated from their central leaderships: 
Fatah and Hamas, for example, are mass political movements rather than 
political parties in the traditional sense. Therefore, one does not 
envisage a scenario in which an independent popular movement could 
emerge, even though popular committees could be established as was the 
case in the first Intifada. It is worth noting that the unified national 
leadership of that Intifada was formed by political actors who espoused 
common political goals and a vision centered on ending the occupation as 
a fundamental step towards liberation.

In short, we need a Palestinian spring within the Palestinian parties 
rather than alternative political frameworks that would reinforce the 
division and the narrow partisanship. Without rebellion from the youth 
within the Palestinian political parties, no uprising will effect real 
political change. The sacrifices of the Palestinian people will go to 
waste, increasing the frustration with their sense of helplessness. It 
would be truly alarming if this frustration slowly kills the 
Palestinians' faith in their power to become liberated.

    Khalil Shaheen: Activism that Sidesteps Traditional Politics

The Palestinian political system is nearing its demise after forsaking 
its identity as a national liberation movement by recognizing the 
legitimacy of a racist settler colonial system in the Oslo Accords. The 
current wave of anger is a rebellion against this relationship and the 
ideology on which it was based. The wave is also an extension of forms 
of expression and political action that have evolved outside the 
traditional political and organizational system established in the 
1960s, which itself has experienced a slow and terminal decline.

However, one must acknowledge the "coexistence" between the traditional 
politics of the PLO, the PA and the Palestinian factions on the one hand 
and the new forms of political action on the other due to the 
transitional nature of the present stage. In particular, the traditional 
national movement continues to have a political role despite its 
inability to realize its historical goal of achieving the national 
rights of the Palestinian people.

This realization should stimulate Palestinians to think strategically 
about the repercussions of a failing ideology and set of practices and 
what is needed to restore the Palestinian national project and a 
national body capable of achieving its objectives.

In the past few years, some have taken the position that there is no 
need to rebuild the national movement as a prerequisite to adopting 
programs of action. Rather they believe that recruiting a broad range of 
actors into participatory programs of action is the way to rebuild the 
national movement. This approach focuses on creating a new path based on 
uniting Palestinians in the homeland and the diaspora. The global BDS 
movement, the right of return movement, and the popular resistance 
committees against the Separation Wall are all expressions of new forms 
of action outside the traditional framework of party political action.

Similarly, the current wave of anger is a new form of popular and 
youth-based action. The traditional political party system failed to 
predict the consequences of this action at a time of heightened division 
and internal conflicts over power and influence. This wave may falter or 
intensify but it is likely that it is one of a series of waves that will 
continue to gain momentum until they become a tsunami expressing the 
collective recognition of the Palestinian cause as one of national 
liberation and the need to rebuild the national and institutional 
structures capable of creating a new path for struggle.

The current wave of anger shows that there is a new generation 
redefining the people's relationship with the Israeli occupation as one 
based on conflict rather than "understanding". It is doing so by defying 
the monopoly of politics within the Bantustans run by the PA, which 
Israel’s occupation been transforming into an administrative, economic 
and security agent within a system of colonial domination.

However, this does not mean the end of the political role of factions, 
despite their state of internal division and lack of popular legitimacy. 
The factions still govern the practice of politics and forms of armed 
resistance, especially in the Gaza Strip. They dominate the PLO, PA, 
trade unions, professional associations and student bodies.

The current signs for emerging new forms of political action and 
struggle may seem similar to those witnessed in the late 1950s and early 
1960s when a young generation used favorable Arab and international 
conditions to set a new path for struggle that overthrew the pre-Nakba 
and post-Nakba leadership in a relatively short time. That generation 
developed political bodies and armed groups that derived their 
legitimacy from the people, who proclaimed their allegiance to the new 
leadership without elections.

However, the conditions today are different and key elements of this 
process are still missing. There is still space for the traditional 
actors to play a role. Yet it will not be possible to restore politics 
as an organized activity with broad popular engagement unless the goals, 
work methods and rules change. At some point, the traditional parties 
must deal with the new forms of political activism that is redefining 
the relationship with the colonizer.

This will require working with the younger generation to establish the 
goals and demands of the current wave of anger rather than attempting to 
monopolize or contain it. This could help to transform the traditional 
parties’ forms of political action into a proactive struggle led by the 
younger generation and hasten the evolution of a comprehensive uprising 
capable of creating a new path in the struggle for liberation.

    Jaber Suleiman: Overcoming a Paradox to Rebuild the Movement

The youth movement underway in Palestine raises several questions 
regarding its motives, causes, and nature. Is it an expression of 
despair and frustration or a rekindled national spirit? Is it triggered 
by Palestinian division, the tattered state of the PA, the demise of the 
Oslo process and the two-state solution, aggressive Israeli settlement 
expansion, the desecration of holy places, or declining Arab interest in 
and international neglect of the Palestinian cause? Will it evolve into 
a popular uprising like the first intifada or will it remain an 
expression of anger that will soon recede? What conditions need to be 
met in order for this movement to evolve into an uprising guided by a 
unified national leadership and national program? What role should the 
PLO factions and the wider Palestinian leadership play to strengthen and 
protect the uprising and develop a unified national leadership, given 
the institutionalization of the Palestinian division? And how?

This unprecedented youth movement, which is led by Palestinians born 
around the time of the signing of the Oslo Accords, is directed against 
the occupation. Yet it also includes anger and protest against the PA 
and its political performance, which is responsible for the current 
state of the Palestinian cause in general and the conditions in the OPT 
in particular. This is the paradox we face: How can the Palestinian 
factions, within and outside the PLO, which helped to create the current 
state of affairs contribute to developing the movement and creating a 
unified leadership? In fact, the factions can neither be excluded nor 
exempted from responsibility, especially given the lack of an 
alternative national movement or a popular, non-factional bloc (a 
historical bloc in Gramsci's sense) capable of formulating an 
overarching national body inclusive of all Palestinians.

The importance of coordination between the political leadership and the 
youth who are confronting the occupation on a daily basis cannot be 
overstated. This does not mean that the factions are free to hijack and 
exploit the movement to achieve other goals that are not in line with 
fighting the occupation, ending the division and finding a way out of 
the current Palestinian impasse, especially as the Palestinian people 
continue to pay the price for the way in which the first Intifada was 
exploited in order to sign the Oslo Accords.

There are urgent national tasks for all to undertake. The factions 
should not overburden the youth movement or push it towards 
militarization or achievement of quick results such as an immediate 
ending of the occupation that they themselves have collectively failed 
to realize. Consequently, there needs to be agreement on modest phased 
and tactical goals. The factions should treat this wave as one step on 
the long and thorny path of struggle, and must contribute to and support 
it on this basis. The factions should listen to the younger generations 
and include them in the field leadership and local committees that need 
to be created.

The parties should focus on forming a unified political leadership that 
represents all factions, even before ending the division, so as to 
sustain the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and prepare for a 
long battle with the occupation. This is indispensable  for developing 
the current youth movement into a popular uprising and extensive civil 
disobedience along the lines of the strike of 1936, together with 
diplomatic and legal battles against the Israeli occupation on the 
international front. To achieve these efforts, the security coordination 
with Israel must cease immediately, as an essential step towards 
dismantling the administrative and legal structure of Oslo. The PA's 
functions should be reconsidered, and the division between Hamas and 
Fatah should be overcome so that the PLO can be rebuilt on an inclusive 
national foundation.

The anti-occupation forces, which include civil society institutions, 
grassroots organizations, trade unions, professional associations, 
universities and the BDS campaign must engage more actively in the youth 
movement. They need to use their international ties with solidarity 
groups and anti-discrimination and anti-occupation movements around the 
globe to support the youth and their drive to ending the occupation.

    Mjiriam Abu Samra: Palestinian Youth Will One Day Redefine
    Palestinian Politics

In order to address the overarching issue of /why/ the historical 
political parties have not been able to catalyze current youth 
frustration so far we need to consider the way Palestinian politics have 
been transformed, primarily the shift in the PLO political discourse and 
strategy from a liberation struggle to state-building. This deprived the 
struggle of its foundational principles and slowly undermined its 
strategies: A neo-colonial normalization with the occupier replaced the 
original anti-colonial framework that shaped the struggle. As a result, 
the national movement was paralyzed in terms of its capacity for 
grassroots mobilization.

The neo-colonial relationship between the colonizer and the colonized 
isolated the Palestinian leadership from its popular constituencies and 
the struggle stalled. The crisis between Hamas and Fatah is one 
demonstration of the complex colonial condition imposed on Palestinians 
and the inability of Palestinian parties to give priority to the will of 
their people over the neoliberal interests. Although its most acute 
manifestation is the Fatah-Hamas crisis, the neoliberal project ushered 
in by Oslo has affected all Palestinian parties to varying degrees and 
has made them unable to give expression to the popular will.

With this broader framework in mind, we are unlikely to see any 
significant role for the historical parties in the current uprising - 
unless they restore the anti-colonial political vision and discourse of 
the Palestinian movement. However, such a radical shift could mean the 
very extinction of the ruling class and the dismantling of the apparatus 
of economic and political interests in the OPT. This is a risk that the 
Palestinian leadership seems unwilling to take at the moment.

Indeed, any other effort to provide a solid and long-lasting leadership 
to the spontaneous movements on the ground needs to reposition 
liberation and justice at the core of the struggle. It is more likely 
that Palestinian youth will eventually play a role in a radical 
re-definition of Palestinian politics than that the historical parties 
will make a genuine contribution to the current uprising.

In this regard, we should pay attention to the new efforts coming from 
Palestinian youth in the Diaspora (/shatat/) and in historical 
Palestine, who are providing a solid political framework to the current 
uprising and, in general, to Palestinian discontent. It is too early to 
assess the strategic potential of these initiatives, yet it is important 
to highlight the radical discourse they are endorsing. It is also 
important to recognize, above all, the strenuous effort to re-unify – if 
only symbolically, for now – the political message of all constituencies 
of Palestinian society: those under occupation in the West Bank and 
Gaza, those in “48 Palestine” and those in the Diaspora. See, for 
example, the transnational mobilization 
<https://www.facebook.com/palyouthmobilization/> called by Palestinian 
youth from all over the world on Nov 29, which the United Nations marks 
as the international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Such efforts are a new trajectory for Palestinian politics that aim to 
unify Palestinian society around a shared vision of justice, liberation 
and return. These nascent initiatives might provide a new space for the 
emergence of a national leadership able to elaborate –and sustain – a 
renovated strategy of resistance for the Palestinian struggle.

    Belal Shobaki: Turn to the Political Parties Who Can Still Mobilize

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.

    Alaa Tartir: The Politics of Confrontation

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.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
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