Palestinian Youth Perspectives on Exile Politics: Between Solidarity and Leadership
Joudah, Nour A
As the Palestinian community in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip has transitioned from having a political leadership in exile to the localized governing of the Palestinian Authority over the past twenty years, the relationship and conceptions of the role of the exile have subsequently been altered. This paper explores the perspectives of a generation who has been raised under this local Authority and draws on interviews with Palestinian youth in Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem, and Gaza in order to develop an account of conceptions of the exile community (particularly in the United States) and its role, if any, in the larger Palestinian national liberation movement. These interviews bring to the surface themes of bond and communication with the diaspora, community rehabilitation, political resuscitation, and a renegotiation between local Palestinian youth and their diasporic counterparts of how the other will fit into future activist organizing. These themes are complicated by issues of an absence of political leadership and clear vision, the legacy of the Oslo Accords, social attitudes towards youth activism, and attempts to develop a nascent youth movement despite largely held feelings of weak ties with the diaspora. Palestinian youth are eagerly reaching out to each other, across imposed borders and categories, building networks, asking questions, and working to lay a foundation for future political struggle towards liberation and self-determination.
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