Among younger Palestinians, the discourse has changed from discussion of possible borders of a putative Palestinian ministate bordering Israel, which few now believe will come about, to a broad and loose agenda for the pursuit of rights, freedom and justice inside both the occupied territories and Israel itself.
“I think the key to what has changed is Palestinian agency,” said Fadi Quran, campaigns director at Avaaz, a nonprofit that promotes people-powered change, and a West Bank-based community organizer.
“In the past, when Palestinians were interviewed on television, the key line was ‘When is the international community coming in to save us, when will Israel be held accountable, or when will the Arab countries come and rescue us?’” Mr. Quran said. “Now the discourse of the young is, ‘We’ve got this, basically. We can do it together.’”
The generational shift is partly a response to the failures of the Palestinian old guard to make good on the promise of the 1990s, when the signing of diplomatic agreements known as the Oslo Accords appeared to put a Palestinian state within reach. But Palestinian and Israeli negotiators failed to seal a final deal, and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, once considered temporary, is now more than a half-century old.
In recent years, Palestinian gloom deepened because of the policies of the Trump administration, which favored Israel and helped entrench its hold.
Mr. Trump’s administration helped broker a series of historic normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, which bypassed the Palestinians and ruptured decades of professed Arab unity around the Palestinian cause.
Inside Israel, Arab citizens, who make up a fifth of the population, have suffered decades of neglect and discrimination in state budgets and housing and land policies. They were further humiliated by the passage of an incendiary Nation State Law in 2018 that enshrined the right of national self-determination as being “unique to the Jewish people,” rather than to all Israeli citizens, and downgrading Arabic from an official language to one with a special status.