Within our Lifetime | United for Palestine, is a Palestinian and Arab-led organization made up of dedicated youth, students, and community members building the movement for Palestine throughout NYC. After over two years of building internationally, nationally and locally as NYC Students for Justice in Palestine, we have decided that now is the time to formally expand our organization into a broad-based Palestine organization in New York City, Within Our Lifetime.
Within Our Lifetime is not only a name, but a promise, a motivational cry, a rally, and a call to action. It is the steadfast belief that no matter what obstacles we will face, victory of the oppressed is inevitable. The liberation of Palestine runs through our lives, connected to our humanity, and the struggle for freedom. It is a reminder of what we have heard since childhood, and one we tell ourselves to push forward in painful times. It solidifies the belief that Palestine can truly be freed if we work and fight towards liberation in our lifetime. We know Palestine will be freed, refugees will return, and all of historic Palestine will be decolonized. What we must begin to include in our narrative, however, is the urgency of when Palestine will be freed. The mantra, Within Our Lifetime, empowers and ignites our fire to be a part of resisting zionism and building the path towards liberation.
In 2014, a loose network of various SJP chapters in the New York City area formed a body that would later be called SJP-NYC. Our goal was to ensure that SJP chapters across New York were collaborating, sharing ideas and resources, and building their campus organizations with similar strategies and common goals. A few months after returning from the 2014 National SJP Conference, the bulk of SJP’s in NYC decided to move from a loose coalition of SJP chapters, to a consolidated, unified organization, which would become New York City Students for Justice in Palestine. Our intentions were to strengthen the SJP chapters on campuses while creating an organization that would be a space for students, community members, workers, and youth in general -- not limiting our organizing power to the halls of academia. We aimed to encourage students to go back to the communities where they came from, to find out what they think is important, and organize on that basis in the neighborhood while uplifting and centering the Palestinian liberation struggle as the lifeblood of our work. Since then our development as an organization is integrally linked to the lessons given to us most importantly by youth and elders in our communities who have shown us our failures and guided us to our successes, as well as our allies both inside and outside the Palestine solidarity movement.
We make this change in 2018, a year which marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba -- the systematic ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestine for the establishment of the israeli state in 1948. It has been 70 years since 500+ Palestinian villages were destroyed, 24+ massacres were carried out, and 750,000+ Palestinians were expelled, resulting in seven million Palestinian refugees today. The Nakba continues every day, more settlements are built on occupied land as the occupation persists, refugees remain exiled, child prisoners remain locked up, abused, and assaulted. Gaza remains the world's biggest open air prison as israel’s blockade of it suffocates one of the world’s most densely populated regions. And while US Presidents have always generously funded israel’s colonial project, the US boldly reaffirmed their position against Palestinian self-determination in December 2017, declaring their recognition of al-Quds as the capital of israel. We are living through an era defined by formally destroying potential manifestations of a Palestinian state, and the Zionist project’s attempt at full colonization of occupied Palestine.
As we declare the launch of Within Our Lifetime, we recognize the importance of meeting the growing needs of the local and national Palestinian diaspora - aiming to empower our communities to organize for liberation. We also recognize the nature of imperialism means Palestinians, like other oppressed nationalities in the United States, are under threat domestically. As immigrants, Arabs, and people involved in an anti-settler colonial, national liberation struggle, Palestinians face threats of surveillance, entrapment, hate crimes, and deportation, among other risks. WOL is a Palestinian led organization that will work to sustain organizing in the community towards our goal, the liberation of Palestine. As we make this transition, we remain connected to campus SJP chapters, emphasizing the importance of building a larger collective front that uplifts and centers Palestine across sectors of society. The necessity of building strong local and national networks of like-minded organizations within the Palestinian institutions and community in our neighborhoods. We welcome any organization in the struggle to combat zionism, and extend our support to any organization who has the best interests of the oppressed and exploited at heart.
As zionism and US imperialism spiral deeper into crisis, we believe it is of the utmost urgency to unite as oppressed peoples within this country, building the Palestinian liberation struggle against empire. We believe that what we collectively do here in the United States has an effect on the zionist project and the US war machine. We believe that all of our efforts weaken the United States’ ability to oppress our communities here, and fund the existence of israel - and subsequent genocide of Palestinians and their land. With this, we will see Palestine free, Within Our Lifetime.