[News] Ahed’s Generation: Why the Youth in Palestine Must Break Free from Dual Oppression

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 9 11:00:24 EST 2018


  Ahed’s Generation: Why the Youth in Palestine Must Break Free from
  Dual Oppression

by Ramzy Baroud <https://www.counterpunch.org/author/cet6s/> - March 7 2018

As global voices continue to demand the freedom of 17-year-old teenage 
Palestinian girl, Ahed Tamimi, Israeli authorities have arrested nine 
additional members of her family.

Those who were detained on February 26 include Ahed’s 15-year-old 
cousin, Mohammed Tamimi.

Israeli troops had shot Mohammed in the head last December, shattering 
his skull. The teenager, who is awaiting reconstruction surgery, is 
unlikely to receive proper medical care in Israeli prisons.

Ahed’s crime was that she slapped an Israeli soldier in a video that, 
since then, went viral, shortly after her cousin was shot. He was then 
placed in a medically-induced coma.

The Israeli soldier who shot Mohammed did not receive even a reprimand 
for shooting-to-kill an unarmed boy.

The Israeli military provided an outrageous explanation of why the 
Tamimi family members, all hailing from the small village of Nabi Saleh, 
were detained in a pre-dawn army raid.

“The detainees are suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, 
popular terror and violent disturbances against civilians and security 
forces,” the Israeli military spokesperson said.

By ‘popular terror’, the statement was referring to the recurring 
protests led by the 500 residents of Nabi Saleh against the illegal 
settlements and Apartheid Wall. These protests have been a staple in the 
everyday life of the village for nearly 12 years.

Anywhere between 600,000 and 750,000 illegal Jewish settlers live in 
settlements placed strategically throughout the Occupied West Bank and 
East Jerusalem. They are a glaring violation of international law.

Aside from the massive Israeli army build-up in the Occupied 
Territories, the armed settlers have been a major source of violence 
against Palestinians.

Ahed and Mohammed Tamimi, along with hundreds of thousands of 
Palestinian children and teenagers, were born into this violent reality, 
and feel trapped.

Their collective imprisonment is not only as a result of the perpetual 
military occupation of their land by Israel, but also by the fact that 
their leadership has operated for many years in a self-centered fashion, 
orbiting far away from Nabi Saleh and its tiny, struggling but brave 

Nabi Saleh is relatively a short distance away, northwest of Ramallah, 
the political base of the Palestinian Authority (PA); but in some way, 
both places are a world apart.

The PA was formed in 1994, as one of the outcomes of the Oslo Accords, 
which was initially reached and signed in secret by the Palestinian 
Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.

Most Palestinians in the Occupied Territories matured politically or 
were even born after the advent of the PA. They have no other frame of 
reference but Israel and the Ramallah-based authority.

The latter has grown comfortable by its wealth and status and, with 
time, evolved into a culture of its own. It is no longer a democratic 
institution, and definitely does not represent all Palestinians.

Thus, Palestinian reality is now shaped by three forces: the domineering 
Israeli occupation, the subservient and self-centered PA and the 
indignant and leaderless Palestinian youth, which is held captive in 
dual bondage.

This is why Ahed’s slapping of the Israeli soldier resonated throughout 
Palestine, and among Palestinians across the world. It was a symbol of 
defiance that, despite the twofold oppression, Palestine’s youth still 
have the power to articulate an identity, one that is, perhaps, captive 
but nonetheless resilient.

Although Mohammed’s skull is crushed, he continued to speak out as soon 
as left the hospital. The spirit of the Palestinian people is clearly 
not broken, and Palestine’s youth are the only way out of the 
double-walled cage.

Alas, the mission of this generation of young Palestinians is even 
harder than previous generations, especially Palestinian youth that led 
and sustained a 7-year-long uprising, the Intifada of 1987 – also known 
as the Intifada of the Stones.

That generation resurrected the Palestinian cause as they daringly 
organized their communities, mobilizing all efforts to challenge the 
Israeli occupation. Thousands were killed and wounded at the time, but 
an empowered Palestinian nation arose in response.

The Palestinian leadership used the Intifada to reinvent itself. It 
exploited the attention young Palestinians had garnered to negotiate 
Oslo, which ultimately gave some Palestinians special status and denied 
the rest any rights or freedoms.

The PA, led by aging President Mahmoud Abbas, understands well that if 
the youth are to be given the chance to mobilize, another Intifada would 
dismantle his entire leadership, possibly in a matter of days.

This is why, no matter how serious the disagreements between Abbas and 
the Israeli government become, they will always stay united against any 
possibility of a popular Palestinian revolt, led by the youth.

Numerous Palestinians have been arrested, imprisoned or tortured by 
Palestinian police in the years that followed the formation of the PA. 
The latter did so in the name of ‘national interest’ while, in reality, 
it was done in the name of Israeli security.

Indeed, Oslo has allowed both Israel and the PA to maintain ‘security 
coordination’ in the West Bank. This has mostly been used to keep the 
illegal settlements safe and to prevent Palestinian youth from 
confronting the Israeli army.

Such a practice has meant that the PA became a first line of defense 
against rebelling Palestinians.

While Palestinian officials continue to pay lip service to Ahed Tamimi 
and thousands of young Palestinians who continue to endure imprisonment 
and ill treatment by Israel, in truth, Ahed epitomizes the antithesis of 
everything that the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah stands for.

She is strong, morally-driven and defiant; the PA is subservient, 
morally bankrupt and quisling.

Palestinian youth already understand this, and it is mostly up to them 
to free themselves from the confines of military occupation and corruption.

In his seminal book, ‘The Wretched of the Earth’, anti-colonial author 
and revolutionary, Frantz Fanon wrote, “Each generation must discover 
its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.”

Ahed and Mohammed Tamimi’s generation have already discovered their 
mission, and it will be them who will continue to fight for its 
fulfillment – their freedom and the freedom of their homeland.

/*Dr. Ramzy Baroud* has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 
years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media 
consultant, an author of several books and the founder of 
PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom 
Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: 

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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