Mohammed Khatib, Palestinian youth organizer in Europe and Samidoun Europe coordinator, spoke on the Voice of Palestine online radio program with co-host Hanna Kawas on Saturday, 14 May, commemorating the 68th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba.
Voice of Palestine has been broadcast both over the air and online for 29 years, from Vancouver, Canada. This week, Khatib spoke with Kawas about Palestinian youth organizing in Europe, his experience growing up as a Palestinian refugee in Ain el-Helweh camp in Lebanon, and the meaning of the Nakba and the struggle for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
Selected quotes from Khatib’s interview (transcribed by Kristian Davis Bailey of Black4Palestine)
“I would like to mention that more than 80 percent of the population in Gaza are refugees– they are Palestinian refugees. In the West Bank 30 percent are refugees. The youth who are starting the intifada they are from Aida camp, Dheisheh camp, Jalazone camp.
The people who led the First and the Second Intifada in Gaza they are from Jabalia–they are from the camps. This class, this Palestinian class–the refugees–are the main one suffering from the occupation and they are the main ones ready to pay all that they have because have nothing to lose in confronting this occupation.”
“As a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon, who has to travel with a refugee document from the UN, I have nothing to do with this authority [the PA]. I say this as a Palestinian refugee from the outside that this authority doesn’t represent me. So they also don’t represent more than 7 million Palestinians who live in the diaspora. So who are they representing? And if they are not struggling for right of return, that means they are not representing 80 percent of the Palestinian refugees in Gaza. So who are they representing? So in reality, this authority has no authority at all.”
“The refugees should take a role from outside and this is what will make a change. We can not look for a real future and real change for Palestine without seeing the role of the Palestinian refugees from outside who are bringing the struggle from outside against our enemy. Because to be realistic, our enemy is not just in inside Israeli. We don’t see out enemy as the Jewish people who live in Tel Aviv and Haifa and the cities–our enemy is the system. I think you in the US and Canada know very well what kind of system settler colonialism is. You know the history of the indigenous people of Canada and the US. we are saying the same political reality of this regime, so our struggle should also be from the outside.”
“What you can do for us is to struggle for your rights in your country and to change your system because your system is affecting us. So any change in the US, any change in Canada – this is a change for Palestine. If the indigenous people in Canada will get their rights, this means we, the indigenous people of Palestine will be victorious. If the Black community in the US will get their rights and will lead the struggle for change in the US, this means we will be victorious.”