Promises were made, and it looks like they'll be broken.
U.S. President Barack Obama said he believed a Palestinian state could be created by September 2011. Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2010, he laid down a challenge to formulate an agreement that would make it a reality.
That same deadline was set by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for his state-building plan, which was intended to create the institutions for a viable Palestinian state.
But U.S.-brokered negotiations have been a miserable failure, and September is now fast approaching. Palestinian leaders have declared their intention to push for recognition in the U.N. General Assembly, where they can expect overwhelming support. The United States is expected to block the move in the Security Council -- and, of course, Israel will not alter its policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip because of a U.N. resolution.
Now, with the Palestinian dream of statehood stymied at every turn, a new generation of activists are adopting fresh tactics to win their rights.
"September is a moment of truth for us," says Diana Alzeer, a 23-year-old social activist from Ramallah who cites the revolution in Egypt as inspiration. "We see that a dictatorship of over 30 years was gone in two weeks. So why not for Palestinians?"
Alzeer is part of a network of global Palestinian activists that form the "March15" movement -- named for the date when thousands took to the streets of Gaza, the West Bank and Jersualem to call for Fatah and Hamas, the two dominant Palestinian parties, to end their bitter division. But the movement also proves that the Palestinian street is growing disillusioned with its long-dominant political factions. "That's the big difference now," says Alzeer. "We are not led by parties. Most of us don't belong to any."
March15 is a loose network of young, social media-friendly activists organizing globally and injecting new life into the Palestinian popular struggle. Healing political divisions is one step on the path of creating a united, non-violent protest movement, they believe. Another goal on that same path, some activists say, is to resuscitate the PLO's legislative body, the Palestinian National Council -- and allow all Palestinians, regardless of geography, to elect representatives. And for some, the idea of pursuing a Palestinian state through asymmetric negotiation with Israel is simply outdated.
"What's the use of state if you can't have the political rights that go with it?" asks Fadi Quran, a 23-year-old coordinator of Palestinian youth groups in Ramallah. "The demands of the new movement that is slowly but surely beginning to surface are freedom, justice and dignity -- that both Palestinians and Israelis should have the same opportunities and the same rights, as equals."