The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy : « Here is to a year of solidarity and new pathways »

In 2021, we have lived yet another brutal year where many Palestinian lost loved ones, families and friends due to the violent reality of apartheid. This year alone, we have lost 86 children that were killed by the Israeli military. Yet, we have also witnessed an exceptional year for the Palestinian movement and the solidarity with our struggle.  Palestinians came together more united, driven by a generation who demonstrated its creativity, fearlessness and ability to brave a change and instate a fresher vision.  

By this email, we wanted to look back at this pivotal year, and extend our wishes for 2022. 

This year marked 73 years of living under Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid. The severity of Israel’s oppression, dispossession, ethnic cleansing, annexation and killing of Palestinians only increased. Yet 2021 was a transformative year for the Palestinian movement for liberation, driven by inspiring resistance. A new chapter began in our history, written by our fearless generation that challenged a narrative and system imposed on us for so long. The conversation and understanding around Palestine is undergoing a systemic shift, breaking down distortions from complicit political representations.  

In January the year started with PA-PLO chair Mahmmoud Abbas announcing elections that were then cancelled , a short-lived hoped to start a path towards renewing Palestinian national movement.

In February we lost a great Palestinain writer and poet, Mourid Barghouti. In March, over 20,000 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship took to the streets in Umm Al Fahm, to protest the Israeli oppressive regime against 1948 communities, while the ICC officially opened an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in occupied territory. 

In April, Jerusalem rose. As Israeli forces systematically attacked worshipers at Al Aqsa compound during the holy month of Ramadan; Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan families mobilised and organized to resist decades of state-backed settler takeover and ethnic cleansing threatening them. 

In May, Israel heavily bombarded Gaza for the fourth time in ten years, killing 256 people in 11 consecutive days, including 22 members of four generations of the Kawlak family in one night who are seeking justice. On May 18,  the whole of historic Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea went on a historical general strike, called Al-Karameh i.e. dignity, protesting the brutal repression, from Jerusalem to Gaza. 

We were all galvanized by the unprecedented solidarity from Palestinians across colonised Palestine defying fragmentation, and that extended to the whole world 

In June and July, the PA escalated its repression over Palestinians demanding change, by brutally killing political activist Nizar Banat, deepening PA’s complicity with the perpetuation of the occupation.

In September six Palestinian political prisoners epically escaped from the infamous Gilboa prison in Israel, through a tunnel they dug themselves with spoons. Despite their recapture after a ruthless manhunt, they gave hope to generations demonstrating that liberation is possible even from the severest prisons.  Other Six political prisoners risked their lives and went on open hunger strikes, to protest their arbitrary detention, some were released including Kayed Fasfous after 131 days.

InOctoberand November, the annual olive harvest season brought thousands of families together in this ancestral tradition, despite the unprecedented settler violence that spikes during the olive harvest season.

During that same period, Israel escalated its repression of Palestinians civil society, by outlawing six prominent Palestinian civil society organizations, that are doing crucial work in defying Israel’s impunity. Dystopian Israeli surveillance technologies and harmful practices were exposed and tech workers courageously organized, as the model continues to be deployed against human rights worldwide. 

By the end of the year, Beita residents were still resisting the take over of its land by settler, while Christians of Gaza were preparing christmas still under brutal siege. 

From Colombia to Chile and Sudan, people are rising in the streets, unions or in the ballots, to resist authoritarian establishments and neoliberal policies. Palestinians contribute in redrawing from the world’s fight for justice, freedom and equality together with all these inspiring forces with whom we must also share our platform.

We will continue contributing to the international efforts of Palestinians, friends, partners and allies, seeking a world where dignity, justice and freedom can prevail. This is what drives us. We are committed to continue campaigning, building community, allyship,  writing our own story and history  in 2022. We count on you to continue the journey with us next year.

Salem, Inès, Mayss, Christine, Haneen, Josef, Samar, Ahmed & Rawy

This text in french

The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy
FCA Building, Nablus Street
Al-Bireh, FL 00000
Palestine (State of)