Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

Yahoo News Photo Staff

While Hamas, Fatah and other groups call for a weekly show of strength on Fridays, dozens of stone-throwers turn out along the border between Gaza and Israel every day, even when, as last Friday, a protest is called off due to bad weather.

Some wear the colors of the various factions vying to lead the drive for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, but others have no affiliation, a sign of alienation that makes the political situation more volatile.

“I am not against any of the factions, but we are grown-ups and are intelligent and we see that the ongoing division is weakening us all,” said a 28-year-old protester, referring to a renewed standoff between the Islamist Hamas and secular Fatah.

The two groups have long been rivals and have failed to achieve any lasting unity agreement in years of off-and-on negotiations. Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah forces in 2007.

Conscious of the growing influence of the youth due to their ballooning numbers, both Hamas and Fatah have recently tried to court them, holding large, separate meetings in Gaza to convince them to back reconciliation.

But, as the daily scene on the border shows, young Palestinians are increasingly beyond reach, put off by a four-year stalemate in peace talks with Israel and little progress toward healing internal rifts.

Their growing frustration surfaces in social media criticism of their leaders that is met by with an increasingly authoritarian response.

The stone-throwers say the more alienated they feel, the greater the likelihood they will take to the streets to protest.

“We are hungry and at home we have no electricity and our fathers have no jobs. This can’t bring about anything except an explosion,” said a 23-year-old unemployed history graduate who gave his name as Ahmed.

Asked about the target of such an explosion, he said: “Against the Israeli occupation, because it bears prime responsibility for everything, even for the division between Hamas and Fatah.” (Reuters)

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<p>A protester holds a Palestinian flag as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. “The battle between us and the Israeli occupation has been ongoing for decades. We will continue to protest and resist as long as there is one Israeli occupier on our land. Trump and anyone else in this world will not be able to control our anger,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A protester holds a Palestinian flag as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. “The battle between us and the Israeli occupation has been ongoing for decades. We will continue to protest and resist as long as there is one Israeli occupier on our land. Trump and anyone else in this world will not be able to control our anger,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

<p>A Palestinian protester, nicknamed Abu Akram, wearing a Hamas flag, holds a sling as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. “We are here to protest against the Israeli blockade on Gaza which led to the deterioration of the economic situation, and to show our commitment to defend Jerusalem. We hope that the blockade on Gaza will be lifted soon,” said Abu Akram. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A Palestinian protester, nicknamed Abu Akram, wearing a Hamas flag, holds a sling as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. “We are here to protest against the Israeli blockade on Gaza which led to the deterioration of the economic situation, and to show our commitment to defend Jerusalem. We hope that the blockade on Gaza will be lifted soon,” said Abu Akram. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

<p>A Palestinian protester poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “As a young man, I feel very oppressed and deprived of a dignified life so the only thing I can do is to revolt against the thing behind this suffering – the Israeli occupation. The occupation seized our homeland with the support of America which now recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A Palestinian protester poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “As a young man, I feel very oppressed and deprived of a dignified life so the only thing I can do is to revolt against the thing behind this suffering – the Israeli occupation. The occupation seized our homeland with the support of America which now recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

<p>A Palestinian protester poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “We want to say to Trump that Jerusalem is an essential part of our bodies that we cannot survive without. We are in love with Jerusalem and are ready to sacrifice everything, even our souls, to protect it as the capital of Palestine. If the world is fair, it should end our hard living conditions which resulted from the Israeli occupation,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A Palestinian protester poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “We want to say to Trump that Jerusalem is an essential part of our bodies that we cannot survive without. We are in love with Jerusalem and are ready to sacrifice everything, even our souls, to protect it as the capital of Palestine. If the world is fair, it should end our hard living conditions which resulted from the Israeli occupation,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

<p>A Palestinian protester holds a sling as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. ” I hope I can live my dreams, I always dreamt of a job and of freedom of movement,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A Palestinian protester holds a sling as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. ” I hope I can live my dreams, I always dreamt of a job and of freedom of movement,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

<p>A Palestinian protester, nicknamed “the man with the sling shooter”, gestures as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “I am not affiliated with factions. I affiliate with Jerusalem. I know one thing, the one who is blockading me in Gaza, the one who prevented me from going to pursue my dream outside Gaza is standing behind that fence, the Israeli occupation soldiers,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A Palestinian protester, nicknamed “the man with the sling shooter”, gestures as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “I am not affiliated with factions. I affiliate with Jerusalem. I know one thing, the one who is blockading me in Gaza, the one who prevented me from going to pursue my dream outside Gaza is standing behind that fence, the Israeli occupation soldiers,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

<p>A Palestinian protester, nicknamed Abu Jaber, gestures with his hands stained with the blood of a wounded friend as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. “We protest against the crazy decision made by Trump on Jerusalem and against the hardship we have experienced for more than 10 years due to the Israeli blockade. I hope the blood which you can see on my hands will move the Arab and Muslim world to revolt against Israel and America,” said Abu Jaber. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A Palestinian protester, nicknamed Abu Jaber, gestures with his hands stained with the blood of a wounded friend as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. “We protest against the crazy decision made by Trump on Jerusalem and against the hardship we have experienced for more than 10 years due to the Israeli blockade. I hope the blood which you can see on my hands will move the Arab and Muslim world to revolt against Israel and America,” said Abu Jaber. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

<p>A Palestinian protester holds a sling as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. “What I can do to stop Trump’s decision on Jerusalem is to use this sling to hurl stones at Israeli soldiers with heavy weapons,” he said. “My dream is to see all Arabs and Muslims united in one battle to restore our holy land.” (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A Palestinian protester holds a sling as he poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 19, 2018. “What I can do to stop Trump’s decision on Jerusalem is to use this sling to hurl stones at Israeli soldiers with heavy weapons,” he said. “My dream is to see all Arabs and Muslims united in one battle to restore our holy land.” (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

<p>A Palestinian protester, who identified himself as Ahmed, poses for a photograph in front of burning tires at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “We are the fuel of the Intifada, but we are hungry and at home we have no electricity and our fathers have no jobs. This can’t bring about anything except an explosion,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A Palestinian protester, who identified himself as Ahmed, poses for a photograph in front of burning tires at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “We are the fuel of the Intifada, but we are hungry and at home we have no electricity and our fathers have no jobs. This can’t bring about anything except an explosion,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

<p>A protester wearing a medical mask poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “The world must understand that unemployment is driving us all towards becoming fighters. We are not going to fight Hamas or Fatah, we will fight the Jews only. We have taken part in rallies demanding Hamas and Fatah end their division and calling for more electricity but we are not going to the streets to throw stones at Hamas or at the Palestinian Authority,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters) </p>
Alienation drives young Palestinians beyond politics

A protester wearing a medical mask poses for a photograph at the scene of clashes with Israeli troops near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Jan. 12, 2018. “The world must understand that unemployment is driving us all towards becoming fighters. We are not going to fight Hamas or Fatah, we will fight the Jews only. We have taken part in rallies demanding Hamas and Fatah end their division and calling for more electricity but we are not going to the streets to throw stones at Hamas or at the Palestinian Authority,” he said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

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