Oct 2, 2017-Gaza, Palestine an old woman holding a poster of Abbas as a way to support the reconciliation. (Photo: Mohammed Atallah| ARA Network)RAMALLAH, West Bank – As many Israelis and American celebrate the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem, Palestinians youth protest while worrying that their nation’s aging leadership has handicapped their dreams – and their future.

They point to the Palestine Liberation Organization recently elected new members of its Executive Committee, its top 18-member top decision-making body. But in stark contrast to the median age of 20 among residents in the West Bank and 17 in Gaza, the average age of committee members is 70.

“It is obvious that the old people are monopolizing most of the political positions,” said Duha al-Jafari, 21, a psychology student at Birzeit University near Ramallah in the West Bank. “Youth are detaching themselves from Fatah (the largest secular nationalist group dominating the West Bank) and Hamas (the Islamist organization running Gaza), and they have lost trust in these parties who have yet to achieve anything.”

That dissatisfaction comes as partisan politics is failing to produce new younger leaders, economic opportunities for youth or movement on the Palestinians’ ultimate goal of an independent state sitting on land that would include settlements now under Israeli control.

It’s not clear who will replace 83-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority who also chairs the PLO’s Executive Committee. The committee’s number-two, Saeb Erekat, 62, received a lung transplant in Virginia in October.

Disputes between Fatah, the Abbas-led political party that runs the West Bank, and Hamas, the Islamist terror group and political party that dominates the Gaza Strip, have prevented elections to be held in either territory for more than 12 years

Meanwhile, in Gaza, youth unemployment stands at 62 percent. In the West Bank, Israeli officials are preparing to authorize more settlement outposts in the 61 percent of the territory that has been under Israeli occupation since the country won the Six-Day War in 1967.

The unresolved issues rankle most strongly in Gaza where 70 percent of the population have parents or grandparents who fled or were expelled from land that became in Israel in 1948.

Gazans have staged protests as part of the Great Return March on the Israeli-Gaza border in recent months to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1948 war and demand their land back. Many Palestinians claim that independent activist Ahmed Abu Ratima, 33, and other youths initially organized the march but Hamas has taken them over.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Wednesday that Israeli army snipers had killed 63 demonstrators since the march started. According to the ministry, 77 percent of the casualties are under the age of 35.

Palestinian youths have taken action in the wake of the violence.

Last week, hoping to convince Israelis of the need for a fair peace deal, 25-year-old Fatima Mohammedan organized an alternative and peaceful demonstration on the border that diverges from the confrontational Hamas message.

“We wanted to convey a message to the whole world that we are people who want Israel to lift the siege,” said Mohammedan. “As a youth activist, my goal is to spread peace, serve my own society and work to bring democracy to Palestinian politics.”

The young have other leaders who might steal Abbas’ thunder.

Today, Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian girl from the West Bank of village of Nabi Salih, is the most well-known face of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli settlements. She is currently serving an eight-month sentence for slapping an Israeli soldier last December while she claimed Israelis were confiscating her village's lands and water.

“Tamimi has become an icon for Palestinian youth who believe the path forward is resistance on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank, and diplomatic and legal warfare at the United Nations and International Criminal Court,” said Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a political scientist at Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

Many young Palestinians feel the wellspring of support for Tamimi reflects the beginning of the end for Fatah and Hamas.

“We need to be more independent from the mainframe of the political parties as they are bureaucrats,” said Belal Sultan, a 26-year-old business administration student in Gaza City. “For now, all these leaders can give are empty promises and sometimes provide part-time jobs.”

Older Palestinian leaders said they heard Sultan’s message.

“American president Trump’s one-sided support of Israel is driving the youth to resist,” said Saleh Ra'fat, 73, leader of the Palestinian Democratic Union and member of the PLO Executive Committee. “We are trying to cultivate young leaders in our party and prepare them for elections which need to happen soon to activate their role.”

But Palestinian youth are already be moving on.

“These young people are depressed and looking to change the situation by going to checkpoints and being involved in clashes with the Israelis,” said Afnan Nedal, a 24-year-old teaching assistant at Al-Quds University.

“The only thing that we gain out of these clashes is more injured, killed and imprisoned youth," Nedal added. "With the youth staging a revolution over this dismal life, I’m not sure if this moves the Palestinians further away from statehood or closer to it.”

A version of this story can be found on The Washington Times.
b_179_129_16777215_00_images_RWA161616aa001.jpegKIGALI, Rwanda — Raking through the knee-high grass on his tea farm to clear fallen tree branches, Ezekiel Shinga marvels at how life has changed in his country in the 22 years after the genocide that made this tiny east African county a watchword for horror and brutality around the world.

“I think no one could have predicted the strides Rwanda has made in the past two decades,” said Mr. Shinga, whose farm is in the southern district of Nyaruguru. “Everything in this country has changed. People own businesses, and the majority here are tea farmers. At least everyone has income. There’s peace, and neighbors now love each other.”

Read more at The Washington Times

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_USAObama130222AA001.jpegATHENS — President Obama called for a "course correction" for the global economy Wednesday in an effort to stave off the nationalist impulses being felt in the United States and Europe.

In an address to the Greek people, Obama said growing distrust of elites and institutions demands that democratic governments work to become more responsive to the people they serve.

Read more at USA Today

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ISR150318aa001.jpegJERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud Party swept to a decisive victory results showed Wednesday in a general election that exposed Israel's rifts at home and abroad, including with the White House.

With the majority of votes counted, Likud won 30 of the 120 seats in the country's Knesset, or parliament. The center-left opposition Zionist Union party led by Isaac Herzog won 24 seats. Israel's Election Committee is expected to confirm the results Thursday.

Read more at USA Today

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JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud Party swept to a decisive victory results showed Wednesday in a general election that exposed Israel's rifts at home and abroad, including with the White House.

With the majority of votes counted, Likud won 30 of the 120 seats in the country's Knesset, or parliament. The center-left opposition Zionist Union party led by Isaac Herzog won 24 seats. Israel's Election Committee is expected to confirm the results Thursday.

Read more at USA Today
b_179_129_16777215_00_images_111111.jpegGAZA CITY — As the Palestinian death toll rose, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Friday to continue to target members of Hamas with air strikes in Gaza until rockets the militant group has been firing into Israel from the southern border halt.

"I will end it when our goals are realized. And the overriding goal is to restore the peace and quiet," Netanyahu said at a news conference.

Read more at USA Today

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_5410433581_8ae746d004.jpegBAGHDAD — Islamic militants Tuesday attacked areas in central Baqouba, a city just 30 miles northeast of Iraq's capital Baghdad, but were pushed back by security forces and tribal fighters.

In one incident, at least 44 Sunni prisoners died in an apparent foiled rescue attempt by Sunni Muslim militants from the al-Qaeda breakaway group known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — referred to as ISIL or ISIS. The Levant is a traditional name for the region including Iraq and greater Syria.

Read more at USA Today


ABUJA, Nigeria — Frustration and despair over the fate of hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic extremists in northern Nigeria is forcing families to organize the rescue themselves.

"We are trying to search for our daughters on our own," said a mother of one of the girls, asking to remain unidentified out of fear of causing her daughter further harm. "Soon we will be heading to the forest.

Read more at USA Today

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY130705aa003.jpegCAIRO - Violence persisted at Egypt’s universities this week as part of a broader conflict between authorities and student protesters that underscores rights’ activists concerns about obstacles facing independence of the nation’s universities.

On Wednesday, three blasts erupted outside Cairo University, apparently targeting riot police deployed to deal with protests staged almost daily by students. A senior police officer was killed and five others were wounded, Egypt’s state news agency reported. The protest movement Students Against the Coup distanced itself from the attack, cancelling a protest planned for midday at Cairo University. But the incident underscores wider anger at a security crackdown on government opposition.

Read more at Al-Fanar Media


Following the October 3 deaths of around 400 migrants off the Italian island of Lampedusa, European leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday have promised to put immigration on the agenda alongside scheduled discussions on growth, competitiveness and fighting unemployment. But as long they hold to the illusion that interests of migrants are at odds with those of "native" workers, their policies will continue to put lives at risk – and will do nothing to help the EU economy.

Over the past decade, Europe has invested more and more money on keeping non-Europeans out. Frontex, created in 2005 to police Europe’s external borders, saw its budget balloon from €19 million in 2006 to €85 million in 2012. But analysts say this approach does little to reduce overall immigration figures and merely plays into the hands of those ready to exploit irregular immigration, from people-smugglers to unscrupulous employers.

Read more at Occupy.com


ATHENS - In crisis-ridden Greece, a network of volunteer-run crisis clinics is providing citizens with the medical care denied them by the state. 

Read more at Deutsche Welle


Whether by a harrowing boat trip across the Mediterranean, a mountain crossing over the Turkish border or a flight to Germany, more than 2 million Syrians have fled their war-torn country to take refuge in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq as well as in the Gulf countries and in Europe.

Two million people have fled the war as of September, says the United Nations. Those who got away from the 30-month-old conflict share horror stories of snipers and aerial bombardment, of murdered loved ones and wounded friends. The problems they face in their new homes varies tremendously depending on the country.

Read more at USA Today


NEW DELHI — Eight young women dressed in red tunics and black scarves make their way along a narrow lane in Lucknow's Madiyav slum in northern India as young men move quickly out of their way, avoiding their eyes.

The girls reach a house at the corner of the lane: Two go in and emerge with a young man. Preeti Verma, 17, has a hand around his neck and pushes him toward the girls who then pummel him with slippers and their fists. No onlookers intervene.

Read more at USA Today

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU130629aa001.jpegBERLIN - Germany takes in more refugees than any other rich country. But that does not mean it is easy for the hundreds of thousands of refugees stuck in limbo.

One year and eight months since Chima Oxumbor arrived at Düsseldorf's police station to appeal for asylum, he has a €1-an-hour (85p-an-hour) job cleaning the toilets and floors at the camp where he shares a room with four or five other people. His life in Germany is not what he expected.

Read more at The Guardian

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