Last week, the Palestinian National Council met in Ramallah, bringing together 18 members of the PLO’s Executive Committee who effectively comprise President Mahmoud Abbas’s cabinet. A look at the list of participants reveals that the average age of those in attendance was about 70. This should cause anyone reading this to pause.
The Palestinian leadership, claiming to represent the people of Palestine, consists of elderly politicians. Meanwhile, the demonstrators taking to the streets of Gaza, demanding their right to return, were all born after the turn of the millennium. This generation did not witness the Oslo Accords, the formation of the Palestinian Authority, the summit at Camp David or the outbreak of the two intifadas. Many of them have been born into a political reality that leaves them with no hope for a better future.
The dichotomy between the Palestinian people and their leaders could not be starker. Luckily, this new generation of Palestinians is rebellious. It refuses to accept the status quo. It resents complacency and idleness. It wants to take its future into its own hands and is determined to bring an end to the apathy that has come to plague Palestinian politics.