Statement on the 2011 Arab Revolts and Prospects for the Palestinian Youth Movement

Statement from the Palestinian Youth Network.  The beginning of 2011 has become a milestone to a long anticipated and desired moment that has swept across the Arab world! Arab youth are revolting against their governments causing radical changes in the region. Tyrannical and corrupt regimes have fallen and popular movements are increasing across the Arab world characterized by the people’s aspirations for freedom, justice and dignity. As Arab and Palestinian youth, we salute the courage and determination of these uprisings that have reaffirmed the right and responsibility of all people to determine their own future in popular and collective ways.

Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and other Arab peoples have shown that the tyranny of their leaders who pursue the agendas of foreign allies at the expense of their people’s rights cannot and will not continue.

An intrinsic correlation between the regimes’ repression of the people and their allegiance to colonial objectives in the region have been denounced and overthrown in Egypt and Tunisia. It is with these successful movements that we know a new beginning is upon us. A beginning in which regimes can no longer sell the rights, voices, and needs of their people in order to ensure protection of a foreign-settler-colonial-apartheid regime that sits geographically, symbolically and politically at the heart of the Arab world. A new beginning that confronts the Zionist entity and is no longer impartial to its impunity in the international arena including the Arab world!

More than ever the will to challenge oppression and exploitation in the Arab world lives in each of us. This sentiment is rapidly spreading throughout the world, where slogans of the Arab revolution and the fundamental universal principles to which they are characterized by, are being reiterated- invigorating the people with hopes and power to continue in the struggle. Most importantly, it has revitalized the hearts and minds of the masses who see this revolution as a promise of freedom for the whole region, breaking the asphyxiating and deleterious isolation Palestinians find themselves in today and contributing to the liberation of Palestine.

For 62 years since the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) in which the majority of the Palestinian population was forced into exile, the policy of the colonial expansion of Israel continues to cause mass killings, persecution of and the erasure of Palestinians from our lands. Yet the savagery and violence of the Zionist project in Palestine has not been enough to stifle the resilience of our people. In its evolution the Zionist entity has de-legitimized and contradicted its own imaginary by becoming even more unprincipled, violent, and self-righteousness.Such an entity is not only toxic for the region but also completely unsustainable and self-destructive. While the Zionist project continues to expose its corrupt agenda in the public sphere, the discourse of and national aspirations of Palestinian youth have historically been and continue to be even more salient with ideals of justice, freedom, self-determination and equity.

Today, we Palestinian youth are determined to pursue our historical fight and to become the protagonists of our own story. We are inspired by the revolutionary acts and memories of Palestinian resistance and by the courage of Arab revolutionary youth. We have every reason to reject recent negotiations that are carried out by leadership who have lost our credibility, legitimacy, trust and who have failed to accurately represent the national aspirations of the our people. Partaking in a current negotiations process that has no frame of reference, or interest for our people will only lead us to further internal divisions, entrapment and suppression of the popular movement. We have even more reason to reject the Palestinian Authority’s strategic plan who considers the unilateral declaration of Palestinian fictional statehood as the only alternative to these negotiations, continuing to maintain the illusion of a possible realization of our peoples aspirations while meeting the security requirements as dictated by the occupier; the exact strategy they oppose for the Gaza Strip which is run by Hamas in a chaotic and authoritarian manner. But the internal division can no longer justify the paralyzation of the masses for it will perpetuate the demise of the Palestinian cause.

However, the dispersion and fragmentation of our people remains a serious obstacle to the formation of a popular force capable of taking to the streets to realize our aspirations. Like the Tunisians, the Egyptians, and other Arab movements, we do not want to ask anyone to spearhead our aspirations for unity, justice and liberation, and although our claims may be legitimate, they have little strength if we are not able to fully assume them for ourselves.

This requires us to be more thoughtful in our praxis. Thus, it seems essential to continue to work towards the consolidation of a transnational movement of Palestinian youth under occupation and in exile in order to build a united liberation project, one that recognizes the voices and meets the needs of all Palestinians. A transnational youth movement will enable us to organize with diverse methodologies and a unified framework that engages youth to work together in order to liberate Palestine.

While remaining committed to this fundamental objective of PYN, today we are joining the many Palestinian voices that are emerging who are calling for revolution and who recognize that the first step includes an immediate end to division, to occupation, the full-inclusive electoral representation of all Palestinians across the world in the future determination of our land and people, and who demand the revival of the true goals of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the organization of the Palestinian National Council elections. Such demands will culminate in action on March 15th, 2011 in which Palestinians transnationally will take to the streets to fortify the movement, the demands of the people and cultivate the spirit of revolution across all sectors of our societies.

These efforts demonstrate the vitality of the Palestinian youth and our ability to take responsibility to address our challenges irrespective of the additional complications that have become our barriers to popular movement building. In this regard, we ask Palestinian youth to coordinate their efforts in order to achieve among us that unity that we require for the national liberation movement. We ask all the emerging groups to coordinate their actions in correspondence with and to support each other in order to make our initiatives and demands even stronger. We Palestinian youths are more aware than ever of the justice of our cause, of our right and our responsibility to defend it and to resist all attempts to silence or normalize our efforts.

Today, our message is clear: the political compromises imposed on Palestinians by the Israelis and their allies will not make us forget our aspirations to return and liberate our land and our people. Bantustans and the “puppet” Palestinian state promised in the West Bank, the open-air prison in Gaza or the segregation suffered by our fellow Palestinians in the Zionist state or the refugee camp and exile certainly do not correspond to the dream of a free Palestine for all its inhabitants.

Palestinians can make their voice heard on March 15th and March 30th!

To join the Palestinian popular movement on March 15th, 2011 and to mark Land Day on the 30th of March 2011, we call on the Palestinians around the world to join these International Days of Action and affirm our determination to continue to fight for justice and dignity, against the Zionist colonial project in the region; and to bring about justice to the whole Arab world.