Today marks an abominable juncture in Palestinian national history, one that forces our hand to write of the betrayal of our national leadership instead of the violence of our occupier. We, Palestinian youth of the Diaspora, feel compelled to register in the historical record our anger, pain and distress caused by both our occupier and by you as its gatekeeper. We urge you to take seriously our complaint and list of demands, not only to honor our noble struggle and all the martyrs who have been sacrificed, but for the wellness of our people and for new possibilities of a free Palestine to be actualized.
The official Palestinian establishment has gone far away of the mandate given to it by our people, repressing dissent, imprisoning those resisting the violent occupation of our homeland, and shamefully cooperating with our colonizers in various forms that have harmed our people and our liberation movement. Our great Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani once said, “If the prisoner is beaten, it is an arrogant expression of fear.” Your fear has lead you to cowardly betray your own people, and history which has served to undermine our struggle. We recognize that within the PLO and even the Palestinian Authority (PA), there is a multiplicity of voices, political philosophies and differences, particularly regarding continued adherence to the disastrous Oslo Accords, and especially the component of intensified security cooperation with our occupiers. However, our cause has always been defined by its collective structure and philosophies. Therefore, we charge you, the Palestinian leadership as a body and system, not as individuals, with negligence, corruption, and betrayal of our people.
On the morning of March 6, 2017, Israeli forces invaded Ramallah and assassinated Palestinian writer, activist and youth organizer, Basil Al-Araj. We then learned, that the PA, intended to posthumously prosecute Basil, along with other Palestinian activists, outrageously treating our martyr and Palestinian partisans as criminals! Our colonizer has long relied upon the rhetoric of criminality and terrorism to ethnically cleanse the land of Palestine and subjugate the Palestinian people. It is with a heavy heart that we bear witness to our own leadership utilizing the discourse and tactics of our oppressor.
It was unfortunately not a surprise for many Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine to hear of such callous betrayal by the Palestinian leadership. We also know that Basil spent nearly six months in PA prisons and was abused and tortured by those that should have been protecting him. We even witnessed the PA viciously attack and batter protesters in the streets of Palestine, including the father of the martyr. This act of arrogance and self-righteousness has mandated a more global insurgent call to action that affirms the demands of many Palestinian youth that have been silenced for the last two decades.
The more the Palestinian leadership has and continues to participate in political capitulation the more land we have lost and will continue to lose, the more the Palestinian people suffer an increasingly robust military occupation, and the more Palestinians continue to languish under deadly closure and bombardment in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, surrendering our core national principles, as part of your political capitulation, has made more distant the realization of the fundamental right of return for our refugees. It has also created factional, geographic, and ideological divisions and fragmentation that is suffocating the Palestinian people.
We, Palestinian youth of the Diaspora, are reclaiming our rightful position in our Palestinian national struggle. We know that the PA has largely rested upon achievements we have made within the global solidarity movement for Palestine in order to achieve diplomatic “victories” in the international arena, achievements that are not viewed as wins by all Palestinians. At the same time, the Palestinian leadership has actively worked to stifle the cultivation of Palestinian resilience and steadfastness at all levels. Until now, the global Palestinian Diaspora has intentionally refrained from exposing the corruption, violence, and betrayal of the PA. However, how can we continue to build global movements for Palestine when our own leadership is more guilty of normalization than any other governmental and non-governmental actor? You have shown us that what the Palestinians desperately need, and that our leadership not only refuses to provide, but also intentionally works to repress, is a liberation movement, political program and ethical, grassroots leadership. Basil represents all of us Palestinian youth of the Diaspora and we urge you to take lead from his legacy.
We call on you to take immediate action to:
1) Denounce the Oslo Accords agreements, framework, and negotiations strategy at large;
2) End all security coordination with our occupier;
3) Release all Palestinian political prisoners and end all political repression of your own people, opposition movements and voices of dissent; and
4) Reach a final reconciliation agreement between the dominant Palestinian parties and re-cultivate a political program based on principles and strategies of return and liberation.
Transnational Mobilization of Palestinian Youth in the Diaspora