Steven Erlanger of the International Herald Tribune is doing a review of current conditions in Hamastan and Fatahland. He finds that the youth feel inadequate.
During the first intifada the young were a symbol of the struggle for statehood, leaders of a popular uprising that focused, at least at first, on resistance over violence. But in the brutal struggle of the second intifada, which has been taken over by the militias, many of them controlled from leaders outside Palestine, "now the youth are irrelevant," said Nader Said, a political scientist at Birzeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah.Low morale is a major sign that a war is lost. So what is the Palestinian reaction? Surrender and ask for terms. Nope.
More importantly, this generation has lost faith in political solutions. "They haven't lived one moment in a period of real hope for a real state," he said. "And with this internal fighting, there is more and more a feeling that we don't deserve a state, that we're inadequate, which kills the morale of the young."
Some 58 percent of those under 30, the center's polls show, expect a more violent struggle with Israel over the next five to 10 years, and only 22 percent believe that there will be a peaceful negotiated solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Some 48 percent believe such an agreement is impossible, and 20 percent more believe it will only come "in a few generations."These people are true masochists. You ask a masochist why he beats his head against the wall? The answer is "It feels so good when I stop." That is not the Palestinian way. Their answer is, "Because it feels so good when I beat my head against the wall." There is a real future for people like that. I just don't know where it is.
Here is an interesting view form an Al Aksa militia leader.
Zakariya Zubeidi grew up imbued with what he sees as the heroism of the first intifada, built on hope and the conviction that sacrifice was bringing a state and a better future. Now he runs the Al Aksa Brigades in the tough town of Jenin and is wanted by Israel for carrying out attacks against Israelis.When a culture sees its own children as waste it is in deep trouble. Deep trouble.
"It was always our choice to be fuel for the struggle," he said. "But our problem now is that the car burns the youth as fuel but doesn't move. There's a problem in the engine, in the head. These kids are willing to be fuel, but many have been burned as waste."
Zubeidi was a hero of the first intifada. "When I was younger I thought, if I die, that's natural, it's for a cause," he said. "And today I think differently. To die? For what? For these people who can't agree? That's what this generation fears. It's lost, and its sacrifices are meaningless. Is the Palestinian dream dying? In these circumstances, yes."
Some of the parents see it. It bothers them.
For the Eid festival, the boys asked for toy Kalashnikovs and Uzis. "They classify the weapons, they want a particular gun. And when you think of the violence, and what future will we have here? It will be a very violent future."Sad story. Very sad. The Palestinians asked for war. They got one. It turns out they really didn't want war. Only its fruits. Now they are stuck with the war and whatever fruits it delivers are bitter in the extreme and yet they see no way out. They are stuck with their heart's desire.
Taher broke in. "The world is moving ahead and we're moving backward," he said. "We're back to 1948."
Najwa said softly: "I feel there is no way I can protect them or hide them. Normally people are happy with a new baby, but when I delivered Salma I thought, 'Oh my God, a third child in this life.' It haunts me - I think, 'What if? What if? What if a rocket hits the house? What if the Israelis have another "accident"? What if Mustafa is 19 and attracted to a group of militants and I don't know, and I hear on TV that this person went to Israel and exploded himself?' You live with this, 'What if?' But there's no inner peace, you get so nervous you want to scream!"
Taher said: "But we can't give them security and safety. They can't live as normal children. When a kid realizes a parent can't supply security and safety, what is the point of these parents?"
Raed, 30, was arrested in the first intifada, when he was 16. He felt a hero, then, but the political result, the 1993 Oslo accords, "were useless and benefited Israel," he said. "No one can resist with stones or build a nation without violence."Nations can only be built by violence. How limited is his imagination. Suppose the violence doesn't work? Then what?
Like his comrades, he says he is fighting for the future of his own children, but he has small hopes for them, and large fears. "Hamas and Fatah are so divided, the goal of Palestine disappears," he said. "I talk about willing my children to be martyrs for Allah, but I honestly wish for them to be safe and healthy, that's all."The culture of martyrdom. Yet he can't figure out where he and his cohorts went wrong.
If they see violence as the only way to reach their goals and violence fails what have they got left? Violence. Or just quitting the place. Here is what one young Palestinian with a computer science degree has to say:
Hussein says he has never spoken to a normal Israeli. "The only Israelis I see here are either settlers or soldiers," he said. "They all have guns."Which reminds me of the oft quoted remarks of WW2 German General Runstedt when asked what the Germans should do in the closing days of WW2, He replied, "Make peace you fools".
He hates waiting on people and washing dishes, and says he is still looking for a decent job. But he's also looking to get out of Palestine to the United States, if possible, where his sister lives, but "almost any place," he said, "where I can work and live a normal life." He's a Palestinian patriot, he insists. "But there's no hope here," he said. "You see the situation. It's useless to think it will improve. You see it, it just gets worse."