As a continuation of the previous two session within the ‘Meeting the youth’ initiative – an initiative that aims to strengthen and deepen the culture of constructive dialogue between youth, local political officials and other sectors within society – Pal-Think hosted Mr. Ibrahim Abu Al-Naja, member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, and the Secretary of the Senior leadership of the movement in the Gaza strip for the third session, which took place Sunday the 17th of May. At the third session, the youth was largely and more than 25 young men and women showed up to discuss the role of the youth in policy making and civic engagement in Gaza. It was clear from Sunday’s session that there are many layers of the current crisis, which concerns the youth. The themes, which were particularly on the agenda at this session, were the political priorities when it comes to reconstruction and reconciliation of Gaza; levels and forms of democracy and how to engage and participate; the internal political division; and the role and responsibilities of the youth versus the political factions was also a heated topic discussed. The youth made an insistent plea for increased support and for the politicians to listen to the youth. Ibrahim Abu al-Naja on the other hand argued that the youth needs to show that they can take responsibility and that they have political will: ‘There are many ways for you to be engaged in politics, join a party, a youth movement or simply speak up about your opinions’ he said. While many of the young participants felt they had tried unsuccessfully to speak up by participating in demonstrations, Ibrahim argued that it is not enough to show disapproval, one also need to show engagement in the solution processes ‘it cannot only be up to the politicians to solve the many aspects of crisis in the Palestinian society alone’. The concluding statement was that a mutual understanding of a shared responsibility is needed and that the youth need increased political support in their efforts to participate in the development of Palestinian society.
Pal-Think have established the ‘Meeting the Youth’ programme in order to create a safe environment where the youth are able to confront Palestinian leaders and voice their opinions and concerns and we are happy to conclude that at the end of the session, attendees praised the efforts made at the session and they requested Pal-Think to continue the sessions to enhance dialogue, which is believed to enhance the culture of accepting differences and conflict resolution in a peaceful manner.