The battle to regain Palestinian rights and lands will continue as long as the Palestinian youth in the diaspora remain, Turkish writer Ismail Yasa tells MEMO.
Speaking at the Palestinians Abroad conference in the Turkish capital Istanbul, Yasa says:
"Palestinians who are abroad are not less Palestinian, the passion we see today is proof of this. The cause will remain alive as long as the people outside of Palestine do not forget their roots, their language, or their struggle."
Wearing his keffiyah which he says displays his "perpetual solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to return", Yasa adds: "I am here because I'm with Palestine. I may not be Palestinian, but Palestine is indeed my cause as well." It is not just him who believes this, the vast majority of the Turkish nation is in agreement that Palestinians have a right to return, he adds.
This is not just about morals and personal principles, but a religious duty, he explains. "The Palestinian cause is one that is crucial to the Islamic community and we have the utmost responsibility to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque. But we must also remember that as Muslims, it's our duty to stand with those who are oppressed."
The vast majority of the diaspora, he explains, have never seen the country they love so much and yearn to return to, but they refuse to forget it or let go of it, something proven by the number who turned out in support of the conference which had over 4,000 participants.
"For me, the sheer size of the turnout of the conference shows the size of the Palestinian voice."
It is a global cause and each Palestinian represents Palestine in their own way, regardless of where they live, or what other identities they may have.
"It is expected, anyone who understands the passion of the Palestinian diaspora would not have expected anything less. But this is an overdue conference. Projects like this should be more ongoing and in the mainstream and the narrative of the Palestinian diaspora should be mainstream. The role of the Palestinian diaspora is absolutely crucial for the Palestinian cause and it is about time people recognise this."This is also why he believes that the Palestinian cause is in the hands of the people and not the politicians who appear to represent them.
"The Abbas government is doing nothing, the Palestinian political machine does not represent Palestinians. Top level corruption by Palestinian politicians is driving Palestinians backwards and is a liability to the Palestinian cause," Yasa explains.
"Palestinians in their talents and passions represent themselves and it is very important that they come together to represent their country and to represent their struggle because no one else will. As supporters of the Palestine cause, we must support Palestinians in finding themselves in doing this."