Tuesday, 13 March 2007

'The lost generation' of Palestine

Don't expect things to be getting any better in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — unless dramatic political action is taken on both sides — at least not for the next couple decades. In part due to elements of the terror/counterterror (insurgent/counterinsurgent) fire paradox, it seems Israel's counterterrorist techniques against Palestinians — innocent and not-so-innocent — have just created more radicals, extremists, and thus, terrorists. Many sympathize with the extremists; they see them as a last resort. That along with the United States' poor publicity in the Mid-East, especially in Palestine where the United States rivals its 'evil' collaborator, Israel, as the greatest demon.

Great NYT article:

Their worried parents call them the lost generation of Palestine: its most radical, most accepting of violence and most despairing.

They are the children of the second intifada, which began in 2000, growing up in a territory riven by infighting, seared by violence, occupied by Israel, largely cut off from the world and segmented by barriers and checkpoints.

To hear these young people talk is to listen in on budding nihilism and a loss of hope.

“Ever since we were little, we see guns and tanks, and little kids wanting little guns to fight against Israel,” said Raed Debie, 24, a student at An Najah University here.
While generations of young Palestinians have grown up stateless, seething at Israel as the visible agent of oppression, this generation is uniquely stymied.

Israeli checkpoints, barriers and closures, installed to protect Israelis from Palestinian suicide bombers, have lowered these young people’s horizons, shrunk their notion of Palestine and taken away virtually any informal interaction with outsiders, let alone with ordinary Israelis. The security measures have become even tighter since the election to power a year ago of the Islamist group Hamas, which preaches eternal “resistance” to Israeli occupation and rejects Israel’s right to permanent existence on this land.

During most of the 1980s and ’90s, as many as 150,000 Palestinians came into Israel daily to work, study and shop. While they were not treated as equals, many learned Hebrew and established relationships.

Now, the only Israelis whom Palestinians see are armed — soldiers and settlers.
Many Israelis agree that the current generation of young Palestinians has been thoroughly radicalized, but say that is the product of Palestinian political and religious leaders who have sanctioned and promoted violence and terrorism against Israel.

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