At the door of his home in occupied East Jerusalem, Mohammed al-Kurd, a 23-year-old Palestinian writer and hero of many young people in the area, lashed out at Israel’s crackdown because he pointed to a stun grenade fired by the police the night before .

The Kurds are fighting an attempt by Israeli settlers to deport him from his home in the Sheikh Jala neighbourhood, which has been a flashpoint of violence in recent weeks and has been at the center of court struggles for many years.

“Last night we saw hordes of Israeli settlers attacking us and our children with pepper spray,” he said late last month. “If we try [to defend ourselves] The Israeli occupying forces will use stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets to mutilate us. “

The Israeli Supreme Court is scheduled to hold a hearing on the settlers’ demands on the homes of the Kurds and the homes of three other Palestinian families on August 2.

Kurdish and his twin sister Munnar are part of a new generation of Palestine, and their call for justice echoes the equal values ​​of promoting global movements such as “Black people’s fate is also fate”. The twins, who have a lot of social media attention, regularly post information about their struggle to save their homes.

In a video of his university graduation speech shared on social media in recent weeks, Munar urged Palestinians not to “keep silent about oppression.” She said: “We are living in a new era where Palestinians can let their voices be heard despite obstacles and attempts to shut up.”

The social media and real-life activism of the Kurdish twins coincide with the emerging Palestinian movement, which increasingly combines young activists from the occupied territories with the Arabs who lived within the borders of Israel in 1948 and had Israeli citizenship. People unite.

A picture shared by Muna al-Kurd on Instagram, she has 1.6 million followers on Instagram © Muna al-Kurd

‘Deeply understand our unity’

Activists stated that the new movement has no leader, other than ensuring equality and justice for all Palestinians, without a clear vision for the future, which gained momentum after the conflict in Gaza in May.

Approximately 250 people in the territory were killed in Israeli attacks, many of them women and children, while Palestinian militant Hamas fired thousands of rockets, killing 13 people in Israel.

Large-scale protests against Israel’s bombing of Gaza have not only swept across the West Bank, but also mixed Arab and Jewish towns in Israel.

“Israel has always been committed to dividing the Palestinians in order to create a people whose daily reality is different from each other,” said Riya al-Sanah, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship and a civil society activist. “But the recent uprising shows the failure of this policy. We have seen a deep understanding of our unity on the ground.”

The resurgence of Palestine’s sense of solidarity comes at a time of international solidarity and a high degree of attention to causes that have seemed to be dormant and marginal in recent years.

The progressive US Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke of “unjust and human rights violations” against Palestinians and their “right to life” during the conflict in Gaza.

Palestinian youth practice parkour among houses destroyed by Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip

Palestinian youth practice parkour in the rubble left by the Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip on May 31 © Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Desperate for a two-state solution

The anger of young Palestinians stems from dissatisfaction caused by the humiliation of the occupation, the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, the discrimination against Arabs in Israel, and the disappointment of the aging and authoritarian Palestinian leader.

The settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied by the Jewish state in 1967 and are considered illegal by most people in the world. But they settled about 650,000 settlers and carve up large tracts of land in the West Bank, where the Palestinians hope to build a future state.

Therefore, although the peace process has been stagnant for many years, many activists have abandoned the two-state solution, which is still nominally the goal of international diplomacy.

Sana, who lives in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, described her views on a country that straddles Israel and the occupied territories. She said this would mean “ending the colonialism of Israeli settlers” and removing restrictions on movement affecting the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank.

“It’s not that [the Israelis] it’s time to go [the country],” she said. “We want to eliminate the structures that govern this place and change them to something more just, [including] Demolition of checkpoints and walls [in the West Bank] This is a physical manifestation of colonialism and it also dismantles institutions that support racism. “

For many people, this desire is unrealistic at best. “Jews must give up all their privileges to have a democratic country… I don’t think this will happen,” said Yehuda Shaul, co-founder of Breaking the Silence, an Israeli veteran organization that opposes occupation.

Map showing threats to Israeli and Palestinian territories and property

‘We are not really equal’

In the Arab and Arab and Jewish mixed cities in Israel, the reasons for dissatisfaction include high crime rates, restrictions on new construction by Arabs, and problems such as poverty and lack of employment.

“They gave us more privileges [than Palestinians in the occupied territories] Because we are citizens here, but we are not really equal,” said Amir Toumie, a 27-year-old graduate student from Haifa. “The whole country is built on Jewish hegemony. According to the law, if I marry a Palestinian from the West Bank, she will not be able to obtain citizenship or move to Israel. ”

Baraa Sherem, a 27-year-old businessman from the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, said the police have little interest in fighting Arab crimes against Arabs. His father, a former mayor, was seriously injured in an unresolved shooting in January, which triggered weekly “against the police and the state” demonstrations.

The anger caused by the recent conflict in Gaza has given new impetus to this unrest. “I think this gives all Palestinian youths hope,” Sherem said. “Many young people from all over the country contact us and learn from our experience.”

Palestinians protest against the demolition of houses in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood

On June 29, Palestinians protested against the demolition of properties in Jerusalem’s Silwan community © Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Despise Arab leaders

The outburst of anger disturbed Israel because it highlighted the lingering tension in the country.

Israel’s new coalition includes Mansour Abbas’ Islamist Ra’am party, which became the first Arab party to join the Israeli government in decades. Abbas’s political party stated that it has received $16 billion in pledges to fight crime and improve infrastructure in Arab towns, and has pledged to freeze the demolition of Arab houses without permission.

But many young activists are critical of Arab politicians, whether in the Israeli government or the Palestinian Authority (PA), who exercise limited autonomy in the occupied West Bank.

“We don’t believe [Mansour Abbas’s] Discussions about improving services,” Sherem said. “We will not sell our identity for money. ”

The term of the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, expired in 2009 and postponed the long-delayed parliamentary elections in April.

“PA is the second profession,” Toumie said. “It hindered liberation. It even stopped protests in the West Bank. This is the most basic thing people have against occupation.”

According to his family, in recent weeks, after Palestinian Authority security personnel trained in the West arrested him and beat him with an iron rod for hours, Nizal Banat, who bluntly criticized the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Passed away. The United Nations, the United States and the European Union all require investigations.

“The Palestinian Authority is complete,” said Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer. “It is slowly dying because they no longer have legitimacy.”

“I want to see protests in every damn city in the world”

Although Butu says she is “excited” about the emerging youth movement, she believes that better organization and clearer leadership are needed. “Emotions must be unified, but actions are still partial.”

Currently, young activists are focusing on initiatives to boycott Israeli products and promote Palestinian business activities. “However, people are cautious about developing traditional leadership levels,” said Fadi Quran, a Palestinian entrepreneur in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “The new leader will gain legitimacy from field initiatives.”

The Kurds, who have successfully attracted the attention of the world, have not given up. In recent weeks, Muhammad wrote on Twitter: “I want to see protests in every damn city in the world.”


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