Home Middle East Determined Palestinian Youth Vow to Struggle for Liberation

Determined Palestinian Youth Vow to Struggle for Liberation

Resolute and Resilient: Palestinian Youth Pledge to Continue the Fight for Liberation

Determined Palestinian Youth Vow to Struggle for Liberation

On the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the creation of Israel by the Zionist movement, Palestinian youth reflect on the ongoing impact of the Nakba and their determination to seek liberation. The Nakba, which resulted in the expulsion and displacement of over 760,000 Palestinians from their homes in 1948, continues to be marked as a solemn occasion by Palestinians on May 15, while Israelis celebrate it as their “independence day.”

In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, home to three million Palestinians, life is marred by daily hardships. They face frequent killings, nighttime military raids, arbitrary arrests, demolitions of their homes, denial of residency, and land seizures for Israel’s Jewish-only settlements, which now number over 200. Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip, home to around two million Palestinians, has been devastated by a 16-year blockade imposed by Israel, controlling all entry and exit points, and subjected to multiple large-scale military assaults that have claimed numerous Palestinian lives, including hundreds of children.

Al Jazeera spoke to eight Palestinians aged between 20 and 35 on the occasion of the Nakba’s anniversary, discussing their perspectives on the current situation and their hopes for the future. One Palestinian from Lydd, a “mixed city,” expressed the difficulty of witnessing the Israeli “independence” celebrations while living in a place where land has been taken, loved ones lost, and deep-rooted pain persists. The ongoing discrimination, poverty, and crime in Lydd exacerbate the struggle for identity and national aspirations, with many individuals focusing on immediate survival and protecting their families from both law enforcement and potential violence from neighbors.

Following the events of May 2021, when Palestinians across Israel, occupied territories, and even refugees mobilized in historic protests, there has been a growing political and national awareness. Palestinians have come to realize that the frequent killings in places like Lydd are part of a broader systematic policy targeting them. The oppressive presence of the separation wall and military checkpoints in Bethlehem heightens the sense of vulnerability and lack of safety. The militarized violence inflicted upon Palestinians by the occupation forces, dressed in military uniforms but acting like gangs, remains largely unchecked, perpetuating fear and uncertainty.

Living under occupation, Palestinians endure a fragmented existence, constantly reminded of their limited freedom of movement. Checkpoints and armed soldiers are ever-present, resulting in long delays and intrusive searches. Violence and harassment by the army are commonplace, leaving scars and stories of resilience in every corner. In the village of Fuqeiqis in Hebron, settlers occupy Palestinian lands, restricting locals from using their own property while freely grazing their own sheep on Palestinian land.

The aspiration for liberation remains deeply rooted in Palestinian hearts, despite the challenges and divisions perpetuated by the occupation. However, concerns arise regarding the potential power struggles among Palestinian political factions once liberation is achieved, which the occupation has deliberately fueled to undermine Palestinian unity. Nevertheless, the events of May 2021 have fostered a sense of hope and strengthened the awareness that only through collective action can Palestine reclaim its entirety, transcending the artificial divisions between the West Bank and Gaza.

With each generation, Palestinian awareness grows, and the united stand taken in May 2021 serves as a testament to their resilience. To achieve liberation, Palestinians understand the importance of fighting together to reclaim the entirety of Palestine, recognizing that the struggle extends beyond specific geographic boundaries such as the West Bank or Gaza. As they continue to resist and persist, Palestinian youth hold onto the hope that one day they will experience the freedom and self-determination they deserve.

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