Who are some apolitical Palestinian celebrities
More radical than the parents, but at the same time apolitical: How young Palestinians live
A solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians seems more distant than ever. What does this mean for young Palestinians? Answers from Ramallah.
You dream of simply being able to go to the Mediterranean. Without having to apply for an Israeli permit, without being checked at checkpoints. You dream of traveling the world from Tel Aviv without any problems. They are globally networked, but at the same time more isolated than almost any other young people. Many are well educated, but have never had a say in politics.
We are talking about the young Palestinians in the West Bank. They have long formed the majority in this community, which resembles an embryo state in which development has stalled. Seventy percent are under thirty.
Help for little money
We have set out to ask this silent majority about their vision for the future, at a time when the end of the conflict with Israel and thus the fulfillment of their dreams has not seemed so far away. However, this lack of prospects for the younger generation is nothing new. Young Palestinians are no different.
The Oslo Agreement of 1993, which provided for self-government in Palestine and triggered a kind of optimism, lies in the distant past for them. Her childhood is marked by the second intifada, the armed uprising of the Palestinians. They are caught in the martyrs of this society. And they are powerless. As long as you can remember, you have been President Mahmud Abbas, who has ruled since 2004.
The young generation rarely, if ever, uses the word Israel.
In Ramallah, the secret capital, the young, educated class has established itself in the circumstances in its very own way. The 22-year-old Lama Amr is campaign manager at Build Palestine and responsible for crowdfunding. She comes from a village near Hebron and studied business administration and accounting at Bir Zeit University.
Your workplace is one of the first co-working offices in Palestine: bright tables with 3-D printers and laptops, a kitchenette, a separate room behind glass. There she is in contact with the Palestinian diaspora to finance social projects that “make a difference”.
Sometimes a lot can be achieved with little money, says Lama. The 23 projects to date have cost 130,000 dollars. The border area in the Gaza Strip was supplied with first aid kits because the ambulance there often comes too late after clashes with the Israeli army. She is currently working on equipping a therapy room for autistic children in Ramallah. It is their way of "doing something for Palestine".
Lama's headscarf fits perfectly, her English is perfect. She learned it on Youtube, her preference is American satire shows. What she wants for the future are not government concepts, but control over her life. She directs this demand not only to Israel, but above all to the Palestinian leadership. Unlike her father, who watches the news all day, Lama has thrown the agency reports off her Facebook page. She knows that she cannot change anything. "I'm not interested in politics, it gets us nowhere."
The disinterest is also related to the dissatisfaction with the PA. If Mahmoud Abbas allowed elections, he would probably lose them. A large part of the population would like to resign, as surveys show. The autonomy authority is corrupt and more and more authoritarian, it is said. Health care, transport and education do not work. Abbas has his judges under control. It is risky to express yourself critically on the Internet.
The question of the “right contribution” to advancing Palestine is controversial. The ancients complain that today's generation is more concerned with looking after their own well-being and smoking shisha in cafes instead of devoting themselves to the national cause in solidarity. Many of the boys have redefined this task for themselves.
Latte macchiato and sushi
Nader Jayyousi is a boxing trainer, has just turned 30 and is about to get married. He suggested the vintage café as a meeting point, which could also be located in New York or Tel Aviv. Latte macchiato is served for brunch and there is also a sushi corner. Only the music is Arabic. Nader grew up in Baghdad. There his father ran a "freedom fighter camp" of the PLO. After 1993 the family returned to the West Bank in the wake of the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. His father was a member of the security apparatus until his recent retirement.
The son looks at the existing situation with different eyes and interests. Nader studied law in Amman, but boxing has always been his thing. When he founded Club Elbarrio in Ramallah two years ago, he deliberately avoided an Arabic name because he could not think of any that did not evoke associations with any of the Palestinian parties. «Let's just be Palestinians. Now we are here and we still cannot stick to the old battle slogans of the revolution. "
Nader is convinced that these old categories would not help the younger generation any further. He therefore wants to keep his club open to everyone - liberals, religious, the Fatah and Hamas parties, boys and girls. "We still have a long way to go," he adds. His contribution is sport, which allows you to be proud of your own achievement, and at the same time you can represent Palestine in the world outside.
To live for the country is better than to die for it. With this, Nader also touches on the cult of martyrs, which is still deeply anchored in society. The graffiti on the house walls testify to this. That same evening, a 16-year-old Palestinian attacked an Israeli in the Gush Ezion settlement block. He stabs him and is then killed himself.
The young generation rarely, if ever, uses the word Israel. She prefers to talk about the 1948 territories as if there wasn't an Israeli state that was founded back then. She has also rediscovered the refugees' right to return to their old homeland, as a bracket that holds everyone together across all internal political divides. It is of no interest that the demand cannot be implemented.
Many young people are thus indeed more radical in their positions than their parents, but at the same time, in a certain way, apolitical. Marc Frings from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Ramallah, which regularly conducts surveys together with the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, says that the young Palestinians no longer believe in a concept of the state, nor in self-determination or armed resistance. Rather, they wanted freedom, dignity, and economic development. But they want to harm Israel.
Average Israelis, neither soldiers nor settlers, have never met most of the young Palestinians. You don't want it either. Normalization is frowned upon. Sometimes they encounter the other side in cyberspace and are then surprised to find that Israelis also have deep-seated fears and reservations.
The two-state solution is anything but popular, especially among the young, says Jamil, 30, who does not want to be called by his real name. "People are angry," he explains, "they buried so many dead, you can't just make compromises as if nothing had happened." Jamil is an entrepreneur, he wears jeans and white sneakers, his curls are tied high up in a ponytail. His family comes from Nablus and is close to Hamas.
His father was tortured by Fatah people in prison, which is why Jamil has a vision of politics without parties. He's married but doesn't want children yet because he doesn't want them to grow up in times like this. If it weren't for his parents he wanted to be around, he'd be walking away. Jamil organizes events and designs leisure time concepts.
He wants a better life, but even that is not easy in these times. “People believe that we shouldn't allow ourselves that”. He would like to take the younger generation on a new path that is less emotional, so that they can use their energies for something and not just against something. But that is not so easy to do. Schools and mosques would also have to participate.
As the next president, Jamil would like someone who does not belong to either Fatah or Hamas. Preferably a businessman. "Let's improve the quality of life here, people should be allowed to have fun, I hate politics, I believe that we have to develop our skills."
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