Statement on the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration
Originally circulated 11/2/2017
It has been 100 years since the British colonial powers promised a portion of our homeland to the Zionists, laying the groundwork for ongoing and relentless cycles of degradation, dehumanization, death, and dispossession. While our colonizers would and did change hands, and the British would (but could never) wash their hands of what their imperial arrogance had wrought, what has remained consistent throughout is our resistance. 1987 is often referenced as our first intifada but, as Ghassan Kanafani has recorded, the first Palestinian intifada was actually in 1936 against the British regime, incoming Zionist collaborators as well as segments of the Palestinian elite who had failed to secure our independence from colonialism through negotiations, normalization and diplomacy. 1936 was the foundational shaking off of the economic leeches and global predators in one of the largest general strikes in history.
Even as the British colonial regime gave way to the brutal Zionist settler-colonial project inaugurated with the so-called “founding” of the Zionist entity, we have continued to resist on all fronts. We have kept the keys to the homes the Zionists ruthlessly purged us from during the nakba. We have kindled and rekindled the memories of villages and dwellings razed to the ground, of atrocities that History would have wiped clean, and of the life and connectedness from the time before 1948, 1936 and even 1917 that our colonizers seek to mold into a time immemorial. Our colonization was never merely a physical undertaking –its genocidal imperative has always had an epistemic dimension. Our colonizers seek to rend the very fabrics of our imagination and memories. But we will never let this happen. We will never forget, and we will never let them force us.
As the Palestinian Youth Movement, we honor and uplift all Palestinian voices in exile and the homeland. Though many of us have been sidelined by exterminatory colonial agents, as well as native political actors more interested in consolidating their power than the total liberation of our people and homeland through the aftermath of the Oslo Accords, we refuse a truncated vision for a future Palestine with the same stubbornness with which we hold on to our collective past. It is a stubbornness imbued with the clenched roots of an olive tree that grew in the heartlands of Palestine well before the first settler came; it will remain well after the fall of the Zionist colonial state. Wherever we as Palestinians end up, whatever our status, Palestine is our collective struggle. 100 years on, we remain steadfast in these convictions: we will continue to resist. Our convictions are on their way to reality. We will return.
We will be free.