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Why is the resentment among the Palestinian youth increasing with their leaders?


Jun 19, 2023


According to a survey, Palestinian youth have begun to feel that their leaders have let them down. What do the figures of this survey shared to BBC say?


By BBC News Hindi


yousef eldin

bbc world service

jaina tamimiBBC

jaina tamimi

In Palestine, youth under the age of 30 have never had a chance to exercise their franchise and most of them have no faith in the Palestinian leadership.

Exclusive data shared with the BBC shows that the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is becoming increasingly unpopular among young people.

When asked about this, 17-year-old Yana Tamimi says, “The two-state solution is a very cliched idea pushed by the West without taking cognizance of the real problem. The question is where are the limits?

Yana says that she is the youngest accredited journalist in the world. At the age of seven, she began covering protests in her hometown of Nabi Saleh, located in the occupied West Bank, on her mother’s phone.

She says, “I have been reporting raids by Israeli security forces, often night and day. It’s a little difficult with school. But one or the other incident keeps happening.”

Interestingly, since the birth of Yana, there has not been a single general election or presidential election in the Palestinian territories. The last election was held in 2006, which means that no one below the age of 34 got a chance to vote.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research has tracked the changing opinion of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 for nearly a decade. It has exclusively shared these figures with the BBC.

The results of the study clearly show that support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the two-state solution has declined among young people over the past decade.

In power for 14 years without election

According to the director of the center, Dol Khalil Shikaki, “The main reason for the dissatisfaction among the youth is the lack of legitimacy of the political system. We have a President who has been in power for the last 14 years without elections.”

He says, “Our political system is monopolistic, like a ‘one man show’. In theory we have a constitution but in reality we are not following it.”

On the other hand, according to the latest poll conducted in March, youth under 30 have the highest support for armed conflict. 56% want to return to the intifada or armed struggle against Israel.

In the past year, several armed extremist organizations have emerged in the northern West Bank towns of Nablus and Jenin, challenging the legitimacy of the PA’s security forces.

The most famous of these are the Lions Den and Jenin Brigades, which have carried out attacks against Israeli security forces and settlements in the West Bank.

We went one night to watch a training exercise by the Jenin Brigades taking place in the labyrinthine streets of the Jenin refugee camp.

Each member of this group was armed with an M16 assault rifle and was dressed in black from head to toe.

Most of these people were in their 20-30 years of age and they claim that they are independent of major extremist groups and have no affiliation with any political party in the Palestinian territories.

One of them, Mujahid, 28, told us that his generation does not believe in the current leadership.

According to him, “Palestinian youth have lost faith in the political prescriptions of the last 30 years.”

In response to whether he considers violence a solution, he said, “It is a daily thing here, killings happen mercilessly in broad daylight. The occupiers only understand the language of violence. He was referring to Israel.


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mustafa and sallyBBC

mustafa and sally

political mercury

Since there are no general elections or presidential elections here, the university elections are a measure of political enthusiasm.

Elections to Barzeit University in the West Bank and its student union are often seen as a reflection of the general political mood in the region.

Here also there is a change in the sentiments of the people. The student wing of Fatah, the largest party in the Palestinian Authority, is dominated by the student Fatah party compared to its main rival Hamas. Last year it also kept going.

“It was a shock,” says Mustafa, student representative of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine party. He also stood in the 2022 student elections.

He says, “Usually there used to be a difference of one or two seats between Fatah and Hamas, this time it was 10 ten for Hamas.”

The overwhelming victory of Hamas in the student union is actually being seen as anger against the Palestinian Authority.

This happened again last month but got a slightly less majority than last time.

Mustafa says, “Of course, if there were general elections, the same results would have come because people are fed up with the way the Palestinian Authority is dealing with things. Be it political arrests, taxes, murders or the stifling of freedom of speech.



Two nation solution like evading the real problem

People who have grown up and do not see many opportunities for freedom of speech in the future in the Palestinian territories, this also raises questions about its existence.

Majid Masrallah is curator at the Qattan Foundation, an independent organization working in the fields of culture and education.

He lives in the West Bank city of Ramallah but was born in a town in northern Israel.

20% of Israel’s population is of Arab origin and they prefer to identify themselves as ‘From 48’. Actually this word is used for those Palestinians who remained there even after the formation of Israel in 1948. Because of this, they find themselves isolated from Palestinian society.

Majid says, “I am not considered part of the Palestinian system in the West Bank. I do not have the right to vote in Palestinian elections. And in fact, according to Israeli law, I don’t even have the right to live in Ramallah.”



Israeli law prohibits citizens from visiting the Palestinian territories of the West Bank for security reasons.

Without any authority in the Palestinian political process, Majid also has no faith in this two-state solution.

He says, “The two-state solution is, in fact, a dead body of a political project used to hide the continuing oppression of the Palestinians.”

“If you ask me, it is not about the nation. Even a five-year-old child can tell by looking at the map that it is not going to succeed.”

I asked Majeed what he expected, he said, “There have been several attempts over the past decade to raise voice against the kind of administration that is being run, which have been completely suppressed. I can say from the bottom of my heart that the Palestinian Authority does not represent the voice of all Palestine, not just our generation.”




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