Written by: Sabreen Abu Libdeh.

Palestinian youth played a vital role through their social activities at the local and national levels, especially in advocating the ending of the Israeli Occupation. They formed associations, clubs and student movements in camps, villages and cities to express their vision. Thus, they worked to preserve the national identity and comprehensive intellectual mobilisation, embodying themselves and expressing their sense of belonging and identity. This renewed their pride, activism and influential existence.

The 2007 Palestinian division was a painful blow to Palestinian politics at the national and international levels. Due to this division, the Palestinian issue became an incalculable priority in the regional and international arenas. Used as a pre-text to not provide the required political support at the national level. The shared priorities that used to inspire establishing an independent Palestinian state vanished in addition to the cost paid by the youth. This is displayed in the unemployment rates in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

On the other hand, the division created a state of estrangement from the homeland. It formed a dangerous dilemma that affected the youth's intellectual and awareness levels. The division resulted in the emergence of goals, strategies and programmes for two geographic spaces that will not serve the long-term goal of creating an independent state for the Palestinian youth. Additionally, in this situation, the Occupation found an opportunity to push for moral separation after physically and geographically dividing the two regions. This led to the killing of democratic life and bypassed all laws that aimed to regulate Palestinian political life.

The price of the division and the consequences that the Palestinian youth pay is not being acknowledged. They suffer from social and political pressures due to systematic repressive practices and policies in which they cannot exercise their natural roles. Palestinian youth gradually withdrew from the public sphere due to their deprivation of participation in shaping their destiny, the absence of opportunities and the worsening of their estrangement. There was also the inability of the political system to achieve its minimum requirements and the spread of corruption. National consciousness has been besieged in the media politically, academically, socially, culturally and economically.

This limited the youth's choices in the face of a traditional and patriarchal political structure that views their practices, existence and differences as a threat to its continuity. The division was a heavy blow to the youth’s confidence in political parties. This also means there is a lack of trust in the political system, which led to the emergence of regionalism, factionalism and tribalism. The disappearance of political parties pushed the youth towards feeling like there is political dullness, estrangement, ineffectiveness and overall pursuit of a living.

Depriving the youth of representation hinders their ability to decide their destiny. The inclusive national model is based on the unity of identity and common destiny in light of its political specificity. This case deprives the youth of identification and pride in their identity, belonging and dignity.

Therefore, the political system and political parties must work on the following:
1. To reconsider the youth and their reality
2. To reform themselves according to the vision and efforts of the youth
3. To integrate youth into all institutional structures
4. To find solutions to political crises through youth participation
5. To acknowledge the youth's importance and their ability to build, rise, end division and reform the political system

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's views and not necessarily the Association's or donor's opinion.