May 15, 2018

Signs of end of the civilization and signs of its rejuvenation

There are many signs of end of the civilization and signs of its rejuvenation.  These difficult times do test people's souls and minds and while we find those who fail the test (Netanyahu, Trump, Hagee, BinSalman, etc), we do find so many that pass it and light the way for us.

The signs of an end are so many and they are mostly related to the behavior of the rogue regimes of Israel and te USA: the efforts to challenge climate change, collapse of disarmament deals (first with Russia then with Iran), stealing a city from its people to gift it to immigrant European Jews and celebrating that theft (bad as it is it is horrible when it is related to the most sacred of cities: Jerusalem), massacres and ongoing genocide in Gaza that two million are subjected to (mostly refugees), governments that no longer even pretend to care about human rights or international law. In fact, one sees that most governments support apartheid and ethnic cleansing. I could go on. But there are also signs of hope and struggle.

My book "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment" goes over a part of our 130+ year history of amazing resiliance and success. Palestinians around me give me hope. People of Gaza (maligned by racist thugs in international media owned by racist thugs) give us hope. Today a strike is total among millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. My students give me hope. They and all young Palestinians are willing to sacrifice even with their lives for the cause (they just need leadership that is sorely lacking). I see hope in the Palestinians demonstrating in Jerusalem and inside areas of Palestine occupied/colonized in 1948. I see it in the angry looks of Israeli colonial soldiers ripping flags out of civilain hands, beating people, frustrated that they are unable to colonize people's minds like they colonized their lands. And while governments in the mentally colonized gulf states (Saudi Arabia and UAE) are silent, people and other governments ACT. South Africa pulled its embassador from "Israel" and so should other countries. People of all faiths act. Naturei Karta (Orthodox Torah Jews) demonstrated in Jerusalem together with their Christian and Muslim Jerusalemites against the imposter false prophets (Kushner, Freedman, Greenblatt, Netanyahu, and Hagee). Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions will grow. I think people should also boycott and sanction the country that is "the biggest purveyor of violence in the world" (the words of Martin Luther King Jr), that is the USA. We all must ACT now.

More and more people are recognizing Zionist propaganda in the so called mainstream media. For example CNN reports using Zionist speak and interviews mostly Zionist politicians and US politicians who are Zionist. They use terminology that is rather sick: "Dozens die in Gaza as US Embassy opens in Jerusalem" (who died, who killed them we are not told) or people die "in clashes" at the borders of Israel and Gaza (it is not clashes when unarmed civilian refugees are gratuatously massacred as they demonstrate for their Internationally recognized right to return to their homes and lands. The real story of the blood bath over the past 24 hours is that as it "celebrates" having twisted the arm of an American administration to violate International law by relocating its embassy to stolen lands, Israeli apartheid forces massacred 59 unarmed civilians many of them children, one a double amputee and injured over 2000 civilians, over 700 of them with live ammunition.

"The shock from Trump's declaration re the Iran Deal was amplified by his disregard of int'l community, and information provided by international agencies and his relying solely on the word of one man, Benjamin Netanyahu."

Al Walaja: the Palestinian village being slowly squeezed off the map

Articles below by a visitor who spent three months with us in occupied Palestine. Personal Stories of Everyday Violence Under Israeli Occupation of Palestine
On violence
On Children
On women
On politics

Donald Trump, spokesperson for US President Benjamin Netanyahu. Philip Weiss gets it right "There is a powerful rightwing Israel lobby, and Netanyahu is the leader. These are the same forces that pushed for the Iraq war 16 years ago to such ill effect for the Middle East, and they are sowing destruction once again."

The Original Mother’s Day Proclamation

Julia Ward Howe

Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Stay Human

Mar 31, 2018

Losing more people

I am optimistic even though sad.

I am sad that the Israeli regime massacred 17 and injured nearly 1500 unarmed Palestinian civilians yesterday instead of letting them go to their homes and lands to honor Land Day. One was Mohammad Abu Omar (22 years old, others killed were as young as 16). Mohammad was an inspiring gifted artist who made his sand sculptures on the beach in Gaza. His last sculpture was simply ‘#Ana_Raje3’ (I am returning). 

1.3 million refugees in Gaza (>70% of Gaza’s population) long to return and will continue to protest until their internationally recognized rights of return is implemented (they are also asking to end the genocidal Zionist siege of Gaza). Even Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem chastised the Israeli occupation army for unnecessary violence against unarmed protesters (Gaza is an open air prison not a “war zone”!!). The UN reports that Gaza is unlivable because of the siege. The humanitarian crisis will only deepen. Israel is protected and funded by Zionist occupied USA. The US just shielded Israel one more time from International law at the UN. Murder with impunity? But history will not be kind to criminals or to those who help them (e.g. Saudi Crown Prince who met with Zionist leaders last week!). We Palestinians (with help of decent human beings around the world) shall return and build a society of justice and democracy that replaces this apartheid state. 12.5 million Palestinians (of all religions or no religion) are 100% sure of this. The more atrocities Israel commits the more Israelis and other human beings start to work for peace and justice.

Last week was a sad week personally also. Our friend Rim Al-Banna 51 year old popularized Palestinian folk songs and melodies to the new generation of Palestinians. She lost her batt;le to cancers (cancer rates have been on the rise in our region). Her love of land and people  will never be forgotten. We also lost Robert J Baker who was my PhD advisor. I will always be grateful to him and his wife Laura for shaping my life. He and all who make a difference in our lives will never be forgotten.

Here is what I sent for Robert’s retirement party 2015

We wish we could be with you in such a momentous event. Alas it is not possible and we already feel bad in missing this and missing seeing all of you especially the honoree. I did want to share some reflection with you that illustrate why knowing Robert Baker changed my life. I was doing my master at University of Connecticut when I realized traditional morphology is not going to help me study mammals of the Arab world (something I was keen on doing). I looked for the best person doing chromosome studies on mammals and it was Robert so I wrote to him. While I could have done my PhD in many universities of higher prestige, doing it with Robert was the key in my estimation.  The move in 1982 to Lubbock was the best in my life. Not only was I able to publish really good research but there is where I met my wife Jessie, where we had our son, and where I published my first book. Our wedding was held, where else, but at Baker’s house! I cannot begin to tell you of all the other things Robert did to help us. On several tough periods in my life, Robert and Laura stood by me. When I was so ill that I thought I would never recover, Laura’s connections at the hospital and her personal care were critical but equally so was the psychological support. The same happened with the difficult birth of my son at Lubbock General Hospital (c-section of a complicated situation). We had to struggle in many ways including financially but in many other ways. Robert’s admonition that “What does not kill you only makes you stronger” was critical for example when a disgruntled ex-student tried to defame me to get back at Robert. I was so distraught then that I even considered quitting science but Robert’s wisdom and advise (and the help of fellow graduate students at the time) were critical to pass through that and even come out stronger. Being away from home in Palestine, Robert and Laura where our family. But also this brings people together with graduate students and undergraduate students from many parts of the world. I especially remember how some graduate students with help of Robert and Laura took care of Jessie in 1985 as a new mom while I was in Kenya. This kind of collective caring for each other is what made us a “mammalogy” family! Family are never forgotten.

The experience at TTU shaped our life in so many ways. I know if I had not been Robert’s student, I would have never advanced to career positions at University of Tennessee, Duke, Yale, and then back home. Even after I left Lubbock, I continued to consult with Robert on some things especially when dealing with tough situations. As Robert once said, the umbilical cord is never cut.  I lose friends and colleagues now on a regular basis. I lost 16 close friends since I returned to Palestine in 2008 (most killed by Israeli soldiers as they participated in non-violent resistance to the occupation). It is hard sometimes to keep going but the strength that Robert taught me is part of my character now.  When Robert and Laura faced the horrific situation of losing a son, I knew that while you never get over it, that they have the character to go on.
The best form of flattery is of course imitation and I now try to help my master students at Birzeit and Bethlehem Universities in the same way I was helped (and pushed hard). Thus, we now have the first functioning clinical and research laboratory (cytogenetics and DNA) in the West Bank. We established masters programs in biotechnology (at Bethlehem University) and environmental studies (at Birzeit University). With volunteers and students, we are also building the first Palestine Museum of Natural History (see My belief is that this is the ripple effect that started 33 years ago in Lubbock, TX. Thank you Robert for all you have done but most of all for being who you are. If I was with you in person, I could tell you of many more anecdotes/interesting reflections from the “critters’ stew” to the golden retriever puppies to sleeping in the lab and more. I actually did write some of these experiences in reflection on three decades in the US. The book will be titled “Joyful Participation: Reflections of a Palestinian –American on three decades in the USA” which alludes to the Buddhist admonition that we “have joyful participation in the sorrows of this world.” In that book the goodness of people like Robert is highlighted. The ripple effect of giving will never retire and I am sure Robert will stay as busy as ever. I am certain our paths will cross again. In fact I would like to extend an invitation to you to visit us in Palestine. It would even be a highlight of my life to go to the field one more time together.

I remain optimistic that this planet earth will reclaim all that it was meant to be: a paradise. We are losing more people but gaining more wisdom....

Stay human
Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor, Founder, and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History (PMNH)
Palestine Institute For Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS)
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Bethlehem University, Occupied (but soon to be free) Palestine
Sustainability, Youth Education and Empowerment
personal website

Feb 1, 2018

مستقبل القضية الفلسطينية

أ.د. مازن قمصية

كثير منا لا يعلم حقائق تاريخ الفلسطنيين في بلادهم وأن العرق الكنعاني في دمنا ولباسنا وأكلنا وأن كثير من قصص الأديان مل صراع الملك داهود مع الفلسطينيين هي قصص دينية ليس لها تاريخ في علم الآثار. تاريخ فلسطين تاريخ طويل حافل بالمآسي والنجاح ، بالأمل والعطاء ولكنه ضائع. مع الأسف وحتى بين شعبنا العربي هناك طمس لبعض الحقائق والمعلومات التي قد تتعارض مع بعض الإتجاهات السياسية المعنية وهنالك صهينة لتاريخنا وتطبيع يتماشا مع مصالح المستعمرين.

الأمثلة عديدة  وتشمل تغيير حقائق (مثلا عن تاريخنا الكنعاني) وطمس حقائق أحر مثلاً وعدي بلفور البريطاني وكامبون الفرنسي 1917 والذين كانا لأن الحرك الصهيونية وعدت بجلب الولايات المتحدة للحرب العالمية الأولى . هنالك أيضا تعاون الحركة الصهيونية مع القيادات العربية وحتى مع الحركة النازية لتصفية الشعب الفلسطيني وقضيته -- تعاون شمل زيارات واتفاقيات رسمية وأموال.

في هذا المقال لن أستطيع التطرق لهذا التاريخ بشكل أوسع (كتبي فيها هذه المعلومات) ولكن أود أن الخص أفكار الحلول العادلة والشاملة والنشاطات التي تقام ويمكن أن تقام لتحقيق هذه الحلول. بعض ما يكتب هنا هو تلخيص كما ورد في كتابي "مشاركة أرض كنعان: حقوق الانسان والصراع الفلسطيني الإسرائيلي".

من التاريخ:

دراسات الآثار وعلوم الوراثة الإنسانية، تؤكد أن الشعب الفلسطيني بالأغلبية الكثيرة منحدر من الشعوب الكنعانية." ارض كنعان" من الآرامية كلمة قنعان من قنع يقتنع بمعنى الأرض خصبة (الهلال الخصيب وبداية الزراعة في العالم وبداية الحضارات هنا). اللغة "السامية" القديمة هي الآرامية والتي كانت لغة العالم التجارية أيضا قبا 5000 سنة. الأحرف الأرامية الأصلية تحولت إلى الأحرف العربية بين الشعوب الكنعانية في جنوب الأردن وفلسطين ( النبطيين وهم الذين بنوا عدة مدن منها غزة والبتراء وبئر السبع). الحروف الآرامية أيضا تحولت للحروف العبرية وللحروف اللاتينية. أنا كمسيحي عربي أذكر دائما أن حضارتي هي الحضارة الإسلامية العربية والتي أغنت واندمجت مع الحضارة الكنعانية الآرامية. لغتنا ولهجتنا الفلسطينية وكلماتنا هي مزيج تقريبا متساوي من الآرامية (مثلا جوا, برا, حاكورة, شباك’ بعل, ألخ) والعربية. الحضارة الإسلامية العربية كانت مهمة جدا. أمثالنا الشعبية هي إسلامية عربية (مثلا من القرآن الكريم والحديث النبوي الشريف) وأيضا من الكنعانية الآرامية (التي جمعها جدي عيسى عطاالله ونشرها في كتاب شامل).

من ناحية الديانات فإنّ الديانة الوحداوية (وحدة الله) ثبت وجودها في عدة أماكن في غرب آسيا من إيران إلى مصر. الديانة اليهودية المتبعة حالياٌ في معظم البلدان تطورت في القرن الثالث الميلادي وهي لا تشبه إلا بأمور شكلية الديانة اليهودية، التي وجدت  زمن ولادة عيسى المسيح ومما لا يعرفه الكثير أن الشعب اليهودي الأوروبي بالغالبية اعتنق الديانة اليهودية الحاخامية (المحوره) في القرون الوسطى (1200-1500 بعد الميلاد).  كانت هناك دولة الخازار والتي قرر ملكها أن يحول شعبه للدين اليهودي لسهولة التعامل بين الدولة البيزنطية والدولة الإسلامية  وقد سمي أتباع هذا الدين بالأشكنازا (Ashkenaz)،واللغة التي استخدموها هي لغة اليديش (Yiddish).  من بينهم من طور فكرة الصهيونية العالمية وهي فكرة تأسيس الدولة اليهودية (والخيارات كانت تشمل دولة فلسطين أو إفريقيا أو جنوب أمريكا) كملجأ آمن للصهاينة المتحكمين بالعالم (وليس لليهود).

الصهيونية حركة قوية ومنظمة، نجحت أيضا بسبب الضعف العربي في تحقيق جزء من أحلامها.. هذا الجزء الناجح تطوير قومية ولغة عبرية لم يكن ضمن أجزائها الرئيسية والتي تتطلب قوة عسكرية ضخمة وهيمان إقتصادي على العالم الواقع في محيطها وأكثر من ذلك فإنّ طموحات الصهيونية عالٍ جداً ولا مجال لذكرها هنا، من المهم أن نؤكد هنا أنه يوجد الكثير من اليهود (سواء متدينيين أو غير متدينيين) لم يقتنعوا بالحركة الصهيونية ويعتبرون أنغسهم اما ضد الصهيونية او فقط لا صهيونيين.

والصهونية والإمبريالية الأوروبية لهما تاريخ حافل يشمل  عام 1845 عندما أسست بريطانيا أول مؤسسة صهيونية و عام 1880 عندما مول البريطانيون الصهيونيون أول مستعمرة لليهود الأوروبيين في فلسطين إلى عام 1919 عندما قدمت الحكومات الفرنسية والبريطانية وعودها (جولس وبلفور) بجذب مساعدات للصهاينة في امريكا وغيرها لصالح هذه الحكومات في الحرب العالمية الأولى وفي عام 2002 عندما دفع اللوبي الصهيوني أمريكا لحرب العراق الأخيرة.

السلام العادل لقضية فلسطين:

السلام العادل والشامل لقضية فلسطين يحقق ما يسمى الثوابت الفلسطينية وهي حق العودة للاجئين الفلسطينيين وحق تقرير المصير والديموقراطية التي تشمل المساواة وحماية حقوق الجميع. اقامة دولة عاصمتها القدس لا يجب أن تأتي على حساب حقوق الإنسان.

نقطة مهمة: في فلسطين الآن لا يمكن اقامة دولتين ذات سيادة فلسطينية وإسرائيلية إلا إذا كان هذا حل انتقالي لسلام شامل يشمل المشاركة والمساواة في ظل حكم واحد.
سأبدي هنا بعض الأسباب لهذا (للتفصيل أنظر كتابي عن مشاركة أرض كنعان):

1.  لم ينتهي أي استعمار آخر بدولتين. الخيارات الثلاثة لإنهاء الإستعمار هي: 1) نموذج الجزائر 2) نموذج استراليا (إبادة السكان الأصليين), 3) نموذج معظم الدول (جنوب أمريكا, كندا, آسيا, جنوب افريقيا) وهو التعايش في دولة واحدة . الإستعمار لا يمكن أن يقبل حق الشعب الأصلي حتى في العيش في منطقة صغيرة جدا لأن هذا يقوض فكرة الإستعمار (فما الفرق بين رام الله وحيفا)
2.  فلسطين كانت دائما تعدادية ترفض الهيمنة (مثلا رفضنا الصليبيين). رحبنا باليهود والأرمن والشركس والدروز والأثيوبيين المسيحيين والمغربة وغيرهم. التنوع هوة قوة سواء في الحيوانات والنباتات (الطبيعة) أو في المجتمعات الإنسانية. أفكار الهيمنة والعنصرية تفشل سواء من الصليبيين أو النازيين أو البيض في جنوب إفريقيا أو الصهاينة.
3.   الأرض صغيرة جدا ولا سبيل إلى تقسيمها فهناك أمور كالموارد الطبيعية من مياه وغيره وموارد سياحية(مثلا القدس للديانات الثلاثة) التي لا يمكن فصلها. هذا بدون ذكر البيئة والأقتصاد وغيرها).
4.  معظم اللاجئين هم من أراضي 1948 وحقهم للرجوع فردي وجماعي لا يمكن التخلي عنه في ظل سلام عادل يستمر وإنّ حق الرجوع هذا لا يتناسب مع دولة تعرف نفسها أنها يهودية ولها قوانيين عنصرية.. من هذه القوانين قوانين تعطي الحق لأي يهودي في العالم (أي من يعتنق الديانة اليهودية) بأن يأتي إلى إسرائيل (أي فلسطين) ويحصل على الجنسية الإسرائيلية مباشرة والعيش على أرض فلسطينية مستعصبة. على اية حال عودة اللاجئين وأخذ حقوقهم الطبيعية يعني نهاية حل الدولتين (دولة يهودية اسرائيلية ودولة فلسطينية).
5.  إن مفهوم العالم للدولة يتغير. مفهوم الدولة الوطنية تطور خاصة في أوروبا بعد إنهيار الإمبراطوريات الأوروبية. الأوروبيون الإستعماريون الإمبريالييون بعدها طوروا هذا المفهوم للبلاد التي استعمروها لفترة تعطيهم إمكانية السيطرة.من خلال مغهوم فرق تسد وهكذا نشأت دول كلنا وتنراينا وتونس والمغرب في بلاد وأرض لم تكن تعرف هذا المبدأ (الدولة الوطنية ) (State Nation). وكما نعرف فإن الأوروبيين الآن في طريقهم للتخلص من هذا النظام وخلق نظام جديد : الإتحاد الأروبي. وبقينا هنا في العالم العربي نحمل العبء الأوروبي القديم.

هذه أربع أسباب من عدة أخرى يمكن ذكرها والتي يجب أن نبدأ كفلسطنيين وككل سكان غرب آسيا (من عرب وغيرهم كالاكراد وعبريين) بالتفكير فيها. ويجدوا هنا ان أذكر أن هذا لا يعني التخلي عن تراثنا وحضارتنا وأفكارنا الأخرى ولا عن إنتماءاتنا الطبيعية والعقائدية.

الحضارة في الأندلس مثال على  التآخي والازدهار والاقتصاد والفكر والذي شمل مفكرون وباحثون مسلمون ومسيحيون ويهود ولغات متنوعة وجمع تاريخ اسباني وعربي وانفتاح على العالم بأكمله. هذه الأولوية التي لا ترى حدوداُ بأشباك وبجذور بل ترى جسورا على العالم بين الشعوب والأمم "وجعلناكم أمماٌ وشعوبا لتتعارفوا".

كما ذكرت سابقا فإن تاريخ فلسطين هو مزيج من الكنعاني الأصلي والعربي ومزيج من الديانات. هذا يجب في رأيي أن يحثنا على العمل باتجاه التعدادية ورفض سرقة تراثنا (حتى كلمة شاقل كوصف للعملة الفلسطينية هي كنعانية وليست اسرائيلية أو يهودية). هنا نستطيع في فلسطين أن نقود العالم على النهج الصحيح ليس نهج العنصرية والطائفية والكراهية.

كيف نغير الأمور

هناك نشاطات جيدة لصالح الحل الشامل والعادل وهناك الملايين المتضامنين معنا حتى في الولايات المتحدة و بريطانيا بدأت حملات قوية في المظاهرات والإعلام الصحفي والمقاطعة وسحب الإستثمار كما حصل ضد العنصرية في جنوب افريقيا هناك الدعم للصمود الفلسطيني وهنال الكثير من النشاطات التعليمية وغيرها. ومع الاختلافات السياسية هناك خاصة في الجيل العربي الجديد تطلعات وإمكانيات يفتخر بها. ومع تطور الحاسوب الالكتروني والانترنت اصبحت إمكانيات التقارب والتعاون للخير أكثر. ليس هناك نقص في الامكانيات والقدرات. التغيير الشخصي يأتي عن طريق العمل. العمل الميداني (المقاومة الإيجابية البنائة) هي التي تقود التغيير. للنزل جميعا لميادين العمل. التشخيص خطوة ولكن الخطوات العملية للعلاج (العمل) أهم. 

Dec 7, 2017

last straw

Trump’s decision dropped the last fig leaf and added the final straw that will indeed reshape Western Asia and Probably the world but not in ways that the Zionists who run the Trump administration planned or wished for. IT IS NOW TIME FOR ACTIONS (see last part after explanation).

The last fig leaf: Everyone now recognizes that the last fig leaf of the mythical/mirage ”two-state solution” have now ended with this z\announcement by Trump tat illegal occupation and annexation of Arab Jerusalem is recognized by the government of the USA. In my 2004 book explaining why and how the “two state” public relations campaign is not a solution but was invented by Ben Gurion in the 1920s to keep the world thinking that Zionists want peace while they consolidated their power and extended their control and then expanded (eventually to the ultimate goal of the “Jewish empire”. Ben-Gurion was indeed very prophetic when he wrote in his diary that we should give the illusion of accepting to divide the land until we strengthen ourselves and then we will expand to the rest of the country [Erez Ysrael, Nile to Euphrates] “with or without the acceptance of the Arabs” and when he wrote things like “it must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples . . . If the Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us . . . The only solution is a Land of Israel, at least a western land of Israel [i.e. Palestine], without Arabs. There is no room here for compromises . . . There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq, Syria, and even Transjordan” (and indeed 7.5 million of us are now refugees or displaced people). Ben-Gurion also wrote that "We are presently involved not only in a conflict with our Arab neighbors, but, to some extent, with most of mankind as it is organized in the United Nations - because of Jerusalem. Only a blind man does not see that the sources of this conflict are not political, economic or military alone, but also ideological." The ideology he refers to is Zionism (which s a form of colonialism and obviously incompatible with native interest) 

If you like to read my book that documents all the history of plans, collusions, and illusions of peace with colonizers, you can go to
But if your time is limited, the short chapter on Jerusalem is relevant today

The last fig leaf has fallen also off of the lie of a “peace process” supposedly led by the US government which in turn has a foreign policy dictated by the Zionist lobby. It is the last fig leaf that protected the Arab leaders from Riyad to Ramalllah who helped Israel get away with ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. It is the last fig leaf that protected the hypocritical Western Leaders from Sydney to Berlin to London to Washington who speak of International law and did everything in their power to physically support and fund an apartheid state that violates just about every provision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention and countless UN resolutions (both UN security council and general assembly resolutions). It even violates the provisions of Israel’s own admission to the UN and should have long been expelled from the UN.

The LAST STRAWS: As the fig leaves have all fallen, the insults to the Arab, Islamic, AND Christian world accumulated to the breaking point. Nearly 70 years have passed (1948-1949) since Zionists depopulated West Jerusalem of its Christian and Muslim Population and 50 years have passed since Zionists illegally (per UN resolutions) occupied East Jerusalem and then illegally annexed it to the illegal apartheid state of Israel in the process causing further ethnic cleansing, so that Jerusalem has been changing from multi-religious and multicultural to the (mainly Ashkenazi) Zionist-Jewish city. Israel has been doing slow torture hoping to drive the remaining Palestinians out of Jerusalem “circumspectly” (as Ben-Gurion also once put it). I say the last straw because this extreme fascist government of Israel that took the final decision to move the US Embassy now appears in full control of the US administration (before there was some thought that is only 95% control). This will break the backs of many camels. To be specific and to start with the first line of camels Arab regimes that were having huge difficulty anyway balancing loads left and right. Loads include normalization with Zionism and imperialism thinking this will guard their regimes (it will not, many US/Israeli puppets were abandoned once their utility expired). Loads also include the heavy load of their people who hate hypocrisy and sympathize with suffering people whether in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and perhaps especially in Palestine (the Holy Land).  Loads also include their ever deteriorating economies thanks to their corruption, nepotism, lack of democracy, and lack of transparency.  These regimes will now have to reevaluate the strategy: stay the current course of collusion leading to their demise or answer their people's calls: join the resistance, organize, and ACT (not just issue empty words).

I predicted in previous blogs (e.g. see my November 21st blog ) that this would happen and I predicted that mayhem and violence will follow and I think all Zionist leaders also see this and predicted it. But their fatal mistake is thinking that they can have “manageable conflicts” that keep their neighbors and victims busy (divide and conquer). Now Zionists in the White House like colonial advocate Kushner are pitting the US against the whole Arab, Islamic, and even Christian world. Their last three bets of this nature were mostly failures (Iraq, Syria, Yemen). They have also failed so far to get the US to attack Iran for them (as they did with Iraq). They are failing to get Saudi Arabia to fight a war in Lebanon (thanks to Lebanese strong civil society). So like a gambler who keeps losing; they are now going for the jack-pot of a global religious war over Jerusalem that they think they will come out victorious and rulers of the world (the reality is a nuclear war that will end Homo sapience). Zionists and their puppets MUST fail like before. But we need to ACT now to stop it. We need all collaborators to see the danger (even to themselves). It is urgent and existential struggle.

The people of Palestine are of course the first and main line of defense for our country. My sister Sahar wrote a blog about this from her (Christian) perspective that I thought brought out a good analogy of why this could be the last straw for the people.
The South African BDS movement issued a call to action that included this: “Actions speak louder, it is the time for concrete steps to hold Israel accountable for its unlawful annexation of Palestinian land and its oppression of Christian, Muslim, Jewish and all other Palestinians.” How to act? I say be proactive not reactive, plan, and above all ORGANIZE. Here are 70 ways to act:

I would add: cut off all contacts with the US administration. Any decent Arab or Muslim leader would do that. Any who does not needs to answer to the people

Nov 21, 2017

Will Palestine be liquidated with Arab complicity?

Zionism is a colonial movement invented in the 19th century to transform a multi-religious Palestine to the apartheid “Jewish state of Israel”. It was to be “a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism” (Herzl in the Jews’ State). This colonial racist idea remained unchanged since founding of the “Jewish Colonization Association” in 1891 and the World Zionist Congress in 1897. Like all colonial movements, it focuses on the dual task of destroying native life and creating new exclusivist racist regimes and it gets support from empires and from complicity.  

Britain put the Al-Saud family in charge of the area of Hijaz (which was to become the kleptocracy of “Saudi Arabia”). Abdul Aziz Al-Saud responded in 1915 to British requests by writing in his own hand: “I the Sultan Abdel Aziz Bin Abdel Alrahman Al-Faysal Al-Saud decide and acknowledge a thousand times to Sir Percy Cox the representative of Great Britain that I have no objection to give Palestine to the poor Jews or to others as seen [fit] by Britain that I would not go outside [disobey] its opinion until the hour of calling [end of the world].” The good relations at the expense of Palestinians by the Saud ruling family remained to this day with a brief period when Arab nationalism was strong and the Royal family suspended oil shipments to the US in the October 1973 war.

The PLO began its long process of “compromise” with colonizers in 1974. Israel then signed a “peace treaty” with Egypt in and had good working relations including cooperation in crimes against humanity in isolating and besieging the Gaza strip. There was a brief period when Morsi was elected President of Egypt when there was the potential of relieving the blockade but that soon ended when the military retook power in Egypt. Egypt is however trying to play a role in mediation between Hamas and Fatah now which could help end the blockade and may help reclaim a liberation struggle.

Israel has maintained efforts to break-up the (already fragmented) Arab world for example in developing proxy militias and aligning with extremist right wing Christian leaders in Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s. Working through proxies or directly, Israel and its Arab stooges committed massacres such as at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. “Israel” maintained good relations with separatist movements in Northern Iraq and in South Sudan and helped arm the South Sudanese army. Israel’s relationship to Barazani and attempts to break-up Iraq is now well known. In the 1990s at the behest of the Israel lobby, Iraq was subjected to sanctions led by the US and Arab regimes that resulted in the death of one million Iraqis half of them children. At the same behest, the US attacked Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen (see

In 1986, King Hassan II of Morocco invited the Israeli Prime Minister for talks and following the Oslo disastrous accords, Morocco accelerated its economic ties and political contacts with Israel opening of bilateral liaison offices in 1994. As the late Edward Said showed eloquently that the Oslo Accords were a second Nakba for the Palestinian creating a Palestinian authority whose task was designated as protecting the occupiers from resistance and normalizing the occupation. After Arafat and Abbas signed these surrender treaties, Israel’s economy and its foreign recognition grew rapidly. The agreements also gave the occupying power the green light to grow its illegal activities in the occupied areas not turned over to the Palestinian authority (area C is the majority of the land).

Economic relations existed between Qatar and “Israel” between 1996 and 2000. In 2005, Saudi Arabia announced the end of its ban on Israeli goods and services. Diplomatic and other ties between Tunisia and Israel fluctuated between strong ones in the 1990s to weaker ones during 2000-2005 to pick up again until the Tunisian revolution. In 1919 King Faisal Al-Hussain (Hashemite leader) signed an agreement with Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann but one of his sons was later removed (by France) from power in Syria because of his opposition to Zionism. Israel signed a “peace treaty” with Jordan in 1994. However public sentiment in Jordan (among Jordanians of Palestinian or of Trans-Jordan heritage) remains strongly opposed to normalization efforts including in saddling Jordan with huge debts that serve Israeli interests (e.g. of the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal).

The CIA and the British intelligence services toppled the elected Mosaddaq government in Iran in 1953 to bring a more Israel friendly regime. This lasted until the Iranian revolution ended the Pahlavi criminal regime in 1979. Israel had good working and cooperation with Turkey from 1949 to 2011 when Israeli leaders engaged in a series of affronts and blunders including murdering Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara ship in International waters.

In 2015 Israel opened a diplomatic mission with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has helped Saudi Arabia and the UAE launch the war on Yemen in order to control the strategic Bab Al Mandeb strait (Red Sea to Indian Ocean). Egypt has also agreed to give two of its Islands in the Strait of Tiran to Saudi Arabia on Israel’s behest.

The above is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Zionist collusion with Arab leaders to destroy Palestine. Much remains hidden. Yet, understanding this history helps understand why rulers of “Saudi Arabia” and the UAE and others are colluding with Israel and the USA in a feverish attack on resistance forces in the Arab and Islamic world. While such collusion with colonialism is common in all parts of the world, the collaborators fail to read history to understand the fate of all tools of colonialism. They will face the same fate as other collaborators. As tools of colonialism, they are discarded as soon as they fulfil their designated roles.

Much of the developments after 1973 would not have happened had the PLO remained true to its principles. This is indeed a historic moment in our part of the world. Zionists feel emboldened like never before and intend on ending the Palestine question once and for all with collusion especially the key issue of refugees (would be forced to settle outside of Palestine). Developments in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and the rest of our region need to be watched in the context of this struggle and with the centrality of the issue of Palestine since it is the reason for all this. It is a struggle between those who think they can guarantee their thrones and positions by doing Zionist bidding and those who challenge colonialism. The choice is between mayhem that will spare no one (including those who collaborate) or rejection of division and then unity to fight imperialism, colonialism, and Zionism. Palestine remains the litmus test, the Achille’s heel of imperialism, and the key to peace. Each of us should take a clear stand. I am optimistic because 12.7 million Palestinians and hundreds of millions of others who follow their conscience will not let Zionism (and its complicit Arab and American rulers) liquidate the most just cause in human history. It is wise of complicity leaders to rethink their positions if for nothing else than for their own interests since colonial powers use tools and discard them and are never true to their words to those that do not belong to their “tribe”. This is amply illustrated with history of Israel itself and its collaborators (e.g. in Lebanon in the 1980s). Now we need to all work together towards a peace with justice, the inevitable outcome.

تصفية فلسطين

تصفية فلسطين مع تواطئ العرب؟ لا
أ. د. مازن قمصية – بيت لحم

الصهيونية هي حركة استيطانية أنشأت في القرن التاسع عشر لتحويل فلسطين الى "اسرائيل اليهودية" ولتكون "متراس لأوروبا ضد اسيا - محطة حضارة ضد الهمجية" حسب هيرتزل.  هذه الفكرة بقيت دون تغيير من تأسيس "جمعية الاستعمار اليهودي" عام 1891 و "مجلس الصهيونية العالمي" عام 1897. كحال كل الحركات الاستعمارية فهي مزدوجة الهدف: تدمير حياة السكان الأصليون و بناء شيء آخر بعد استقصائهم وتدميرهم. ككل الحركات الاستعمارية تتلقى الدعم من الإمبراطوريات وأيضا من الكمبرادور المحلي (الخيانة المحلية).

 بريطانيا وضعت عائلة آل سعود مسؤولة عن منطقة الحجاز و التي أصبحت "المملكة العربية السعودية" على حساب الهاشميين لأسباب واضحة. استجاب عبد العزيز السعود في عام 1915 لمطالب البريطان بالكتابة بخط يده ": "بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم. أنا
السلطان عبد العزيز بن عبد الرحمن الأفصل ألسعود أقر وأعترف ألف مرة للسير برسي ككس ممثل بريطانيا العظمى لا مانع عندي من اعط فلسطين لليهود الفقراء أو غيرهم كما تراه بريطانيا التي لا أخرج عن رايها حتى تصيح الساعة". العلاقات الصهيونية على حساب فلسطين مع عائلة ال سعود الحاكمة بقيت حتى الان مع انقطاع فترة وجيزة عندا كانت القومية العربية قوية حين قامت فيصل بن عبد العزيز بإيقاف شحن البترول الى الولايات الأمريكية ابان حرب اكتوبر 1973وتم اغتياله 1975 ليعود التعاون.

وقعت اسرائيل "معاهدة سلام" مع مصر في اواخر السبعينات وبنيت علاقات عمل جيدة بما فيها التعاون في جرائم ضد الانسانية في حصار و عزل قطاع غزة. كان هناك فترة وجيزة عندما أنتخب مرسي رئيساً لمصر عندها كان هنالك احتمالية لتخفيف الحصار لكن ذلك انتهى سريعاً عندما قام الجيش بإعادة الاستيلاء على الحكم.  لكن بالمقابل تحاول مصر ان تلعب دور الوساطة بين حماس و فتح و الذي بدوره ممكن ان يساعد في فك الحصار وتحسين الوضع الفلسطيني المزري حاليا.

حافظت اسرائيل على جهودها لتقسيم العالم العربي "المجزأ بالفعل" على سبيل المثال في تطوير المليشيات والتحالف مع القادة المسيحين المتطرفين اليمنيين في لبنان في السبعينات و الثمانينات. من خلال وسطاء او بشكل مباشر, ارتكبت اسرائيل و شركائها العرب العملاء العديد من المجازر مثل مخيمي صبرا و شاتيلا في لبنان عام 1982. حافظت اسرائيل على العلاقات مع الحركات الانفصالية في شمال العراق و جنوب السودان و ساعدت في تسليح جيش السودان. علاقات اسرائيل مع البرزاني والتي تسعى لتقسيم العراق باتت معروفة في التسعينات.

في عام 1986, دعا الملك الحسن الثاني ملك المغرب رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي  لإجراء محادثات و بعد اتفاقات اوسلو المأساوية في عام 1994قام المغرب بتسريع علاقاته الاقتصادية و اتصالاته السياسة مع اسرائيل بفتح مكاتب اتصال ثنائية. كما الراحل ادوارد سعيد ببلاغة ان اتفاقات اوسلو كانت نكبة ثانية للفلسطينيين حيث تم انشاء سلطة فلسطينية لحماية المحتل من المقاومة ولتطبيع الاحتلال. وبالفعل بعد توقيع عرفات وعباس لهذه الاتفاقيات الاستسلامية  نمى اقتصاد اسرائيل و تم الاعتراف بها وتطبيع العلاقات مع أكثر من 50 دولة بما فيها دول مهمة مثل الصين والهند (والتي الأن تشتري أسلحة من "اسرائيل" بمليارات الدولارات). اعطت هذه الاتفاقيات ايضا الضوء الاخضر للمتحل للنمو والاستمرار في الممارسات الغير قانونية في الاراضي المحتلة بما فيها بناء الجدران والطرق والمستعمرات (تشريع العمل في مناطق ج هي عبارة عن غالبية الأراضي والتي لم يتم تسليمها للسلطة الفلسطينية).

 بين 1996 و   2000 تواجدت علاقات اقتصادية قوية بين قطر و "اسرائيل" واعلنت المملكة العربية السعودية عام 2005 نهاية المنع المفروض على البضائع والخدمات الإسرائيلية. الروابط الدبلوماسية و غيرها بين تونس واسرائيل كانت قوية وثم ضعفت 2000-2005 لتعود مرة اخرى ثم تضعف بعد الثورة التونسية. وبناءً على طلب فريق الضغط الاسرائيلي, تعرض العراق للحصار التي قادته الحكومة الأمريكية وبمساعدة الأنظمة العربية و التي أسفرت عن مقتل مليون عراقي نصفهم من الأطفال. و لنفس السبب هاجمت امريكا افغانستان, العراق, و اليمن. (انظر

وقع الملك فيصل ابن الحسين (الهاشمي) عام 1919 اتفاقية مع القائد الصهيوني حايم وايزمن لكن تم اقصاء ابنه من الحكم في سوريا من قبل الفرنسيين بسسب معارضته للصهيونية. وقعت اسرائيل اتفاقية سلام مع الأردن عام 1994 مرة أخرى بعد أخذ الضوء الأخضر من أوسلو وتبعاتها لكن المشاعر العامة في الأردن للأغلبية الساحقة من الشعب بغض النظر عن خلفياتهم بقيت تعارض بشدة جهود التطبيع بما في ذلك تحميل الأردن ديون ضخمة تخدم المصالح الاسرائيلية (على سبيل المثال قناة البحر الأحمر-البحر الميت والتي تكلف 15 مليار دولار)

بين القوى الاقليمية غير العربية, بعد قيام المخابرات البريطانية والأمريكية بالإطاحة بالحكومة الإيرانية المنتخبة عام 1953  طورت اسرائيل علاقات قوية مع دكتاتورية ايران حتى انهت الثورة الايرانية نظامه المجرم عام 1979. امتلكت اسرائيل علاقات تعاون وعمل جيد مع تركيا من عام 1949 الى 2011 عندما تهور القادة الصهاينة في إهاناتهم بما فيها قتل مواطنين اتراك في المياه الدولية.

بعد أوسلو وتبعاتها افتتحت اسرائيل بعثة دبلوماسية في الامارات العربية المتحدة و قامت بمساعدة السعودية و الإمارات في الحرب على اليمن من اجل السيطرة على مضيق باب المندب الاستراتيجي (البحر الاحمر الى المحيط الهندي). ولا يزال شلال الدماء ينزف هنالك. تحت ضغط صهيوني أمريكي وافقت مصر ايضاً على اعطاء المملكة السعودية العربية اثنتين من جزرها  في مضيق تيران الإستراتيجي.

ما ورد أعلاه هو فقط غيض من فيض من حيث التواطؤ الصهيوني مع القادة العرب لتدمير فلسطين ولهيمنة الصهيونية على العالم العربي.
والكثير منه كان بإمكاننا تفاديه لو بقيت منظمة التحرير على برنامجها قبل 1974 لا يزال الكثير مخفيا. مع ذلك فإن دراسة وفهم هذا التاريخ يساعد على فهم لماذا حكام "السعودية" والإمارات العربية المتحدة وغيرها تواطؤ مع إسرائيل والولايات المتحدة في هجوم محموم على المقاومة في العالم العربي والإسلامي. وفي حين أن هذا التواطؤ مع الاستعمار أمر شائع في جميع أنحاء العالم فإن المتعاونين لا يقرؤون التاريخ لفهم مصير جميع أدوات الاستعمار. وسوف يواجهون نفس مصير المتعاونين الآخرين. من منا يذكر الآن أدوات "اسرائيل" في لبنان ومصيرهم؟ كأدوات للاستعمار يتم رميها بالقمامة بمجرد قيامها بأدوارها المحددة.

هذه لحظة تاريخية بالفعل في عالمنا والذي تشير الدلائل أنه سيكون آخر من يلعب لعبة خدمة المستعمر (أنظروا مثلا ما حصل من تغييرات في جنوب أمريكا والصين وغيرها). يشعر الصهاينة بغطرسة لم يسبق لها مثيل اليوم ويفكرون بإنهاء قضية فلسطين مع التواطؤ وخاصة دثر قضية اللاجئين الرئيسية (سيتم تسويتها بالتوطين خارج فلسطين التاريخية). التطورات في السعودية والإمارات وسوريا والعراق ولبنان واليمن وبقية منطقتنا تحتاج إلى تحليل في سياق هذا الصراع المركزي وهو مع الصهيونية . مهما حاولوا فسترجع مركزية قضية فلسطين لأنها السبب في كل هذا ولأن مخططاتهم في الواقع تسارع انهيار ألأنظمة الرجعية (مثلا أنظر ما حصل في العراق وتونس). إنه صراع بين أولئك الذين يعتقدون أنهم يستطيعون ضمان عروشهم ومواقفهم من خلال تقديم المزيد من التنازلات للصهيوإمبريالية وأولئك الذين يتحدونها. الخيار هو بين الفوضى التي لن تدخر أحدا (بما في ذلك أولئك الذين يتعاونون مع الغاصبين) أو الرفض وثم الوحدة والعمل لمناهضة أعداء الشعوب والمستنفعين (مؤقتا) الخاسرين لا محالة (نرحب بعودة من منهم مستعد لمراجعة مواقفهم). لا تزال فلسطين اختبارا وكعب أخيليس للإمبريالية ومفتاح السلام العادل.12.7 مليون فلسطيني ومئات الملايين من العرب  ومن أصحاب الضمير لن يسمحوا بمحو وتصفية أعدل قضية في التاريخ. ينبغي لكل منا أن يتخذ موقفا واضحا وثم نعمل معا لمستقبل مشرق. أنا متفائل مع أن الظلام سيكون أكثر حلكة قبل الفجر.

Nov 19, 2017


Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, Director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability - Bethlehem University and author of several books including ‘Popular Resistance in Palestine’.

Transcript of talk given at the Merton Arts Space, Wimbledon Library at the invitation of the Merton Palestine Solidarity Campaign on 31 October 2017, attended by circa 60 people.

‘Biodiversity, Sustainability and Human Rights in Palestine’

Professor Qumsiyeh started by drawing a parallel between nature and human society and argued that as in nature, diversity makes societies strong and uniform societies rarely succeed.  In 2014 he set up the Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University.  He invited the audience to support them (quite a bit more money needs to be raised) and to visit.

Prof Qumsiyeh said that as a scientist and being medically trained, whenever a patient comes to him, the key to treatment is to arrive at a diagnosis.  Until the correct diagnosis is identified, the symptoms won’t make sense.  Similarly with the conflict in Palestine, it’s vital first and foremost to establish a diagnosis.  Everything we’re observing – the brutality, house demolitions, restrictions on movement, settlements, blockade, counter-attacks, even the terrorism – all these are symptoms which only make sense when the correct diagnosis is established.  And in this case, the diagnosis is obvious - it’s colonization.

The following is a transcript of most of the talk (with 4-5 minutes missing from both the start and the end, apologies):

“The British Government approached a guy named George Gawler in 1841, and they told him “You’re an expert on colonization because you were in charge of the colonization of Australia, setting up the penal colonies in Australia” (there’s a town in Australia called Gawler City) and they said to him “Look into the feasibility of doing Jewish colonies like you did in Australia”. And he did.  He published his report in 1845 and he followed it up with an expansion pamphlet the title of which was “Emancipation of the Jews … for the maintenance of the Protestant profession of Empire” and was entitled to the support of the British nation. He submitted this report to the British government which loved it.  He had only a couple of minor obstacles, he said you guys can overcome them – “one is finding enough money to do this and the second one is finding enough Jews and non-Jews to support it”.  And indeed the main objection in 1847 to this project came from the only two members of Parliament who were Jewish at the time – they objected vehemently because they said “you’re going to ship us to this backwater of the Empire like you shipped the criminals to Australia?”

The British government adopted it and they proceeded and they funded it in 1852.  The funding was mostly for exploration (“The Palestine Exploration Fund”) but then they managed to find some Jewish Zionists who have a lot of money, people like Rothchild and so the first Zionist colony was established in Palestine in 1880.  And in 1881 we had our first uprising or intifada. So for people who say the first intifada was in 1987, I want to correct that – the first was in 1881 and since then we’ve had 14 uprisings. 

In 1881, Herzl wasn’t very important, he was a teenage boy – his father was a leading Zionist.  In 1897 the younger Herzl  (Theodor) was a political leader and managed to gather enough Jews to form a World Zionist Organisation and he wrote “This would be a good thing as a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism”.  In 1897, when Herzl held that conference, 97% of the population of Palestine was not Jewish.  How are you going to take a country that’s 97% not Jewish and make it the Jewish State of Israel? It’s a conundrum.  Herzl sent two rabbis to Palestine to study the viability of a Jewish state.  The rabbis went and travelled from North to South and East to West and all the way to the Negev and before they sent their full report to Mr Herzl they sent him a telegram which simply said “The bride is beautiful but she’s married to another” It’s a wonderful country for a Jewish state but what would you do with these people? The answer was obvious – these people had to go. Send them away? Kill them?  We have to do something.  And everybody knew this – the British government knew it, the French knew it, the Europeans knew it, the Americans knew it, the Palestinians knew and the Zionists knew it. Nobody can claim they were ignorant of what this entailed.  Because it’s obvious, you cannot do colonization by inclusiveness of the native people – it’s never happened in history and  never will happen.  Ben Gurion said there’s only room for one people here. Maybe we’ll leave a few in Bethlehem and Nazareth – you know why? Because there were Christians there and he wanted my ancestors to hang around there for the tourist industry. But then the Zionists changed their minds and said the Christians had to go as well, and indeed they did.  Now to do this required getting Empire support. There was at the beginning but because of the resistance, they tried to stop the Zionist project and as a result, the Zionist movement decided to move its headquarters in 1904 from Vienna to London because London was closer to the British and French empires.  You know about the Balfour Declaration of 1917 but I don’t know if you know that at the time, there was a parallel declaration from the French government in almost the exact same language. Now why do we know more about the Balfour Declaration than we know about the Paul Cambon document?  For the simple reason that by the luck of the draw, when they divided the ME as spoils of WW1, Area A ended up under French control and Area B under British control so it was the British who were left with having to draw up the Balfour Declaration.  If it had been the other way round then today I would not be coming here to talk about the Balfour Declaration and speak in English – I would be like the Syrians and my second language would be French and I would be in Paris speaking about the Paul Cambon declaration.

Now Balfour by the way, and Cambon, understood why they did this – it was for geo-political interests, it was little to do with sympathy for Jews, in fact Balfour was anti-semitic.  He wrote to his successor in the FO saying “Zionism being good or bad, right or wrong, is of far more import to us and the needs of the Empire than the desires and wishes of the native inhabitants of the country and we don’t even go through the ‘form’ of consultation with the Arab inhabitants.” In other words, “we don’t even bother with looking as though we’re asking for their opinion – the ‘form’ of consulting, not even consulting itself.

So everyone knew what this entailed and so we too knew as Palestinians.  If you want to know more about this you can read a book like Ilan Pappe’s book .. 530 villages and towns were de-populated. By the way 2 villages were de-populated long before 1948 – they were de-populated in 1921 and 1922 – you know why?  The British appointed as the first High Commissioner of Palestine a guy by the name of Herbert Samuel.  He was a Zionist.  He represented the Zionists in 1919 at the Paris conference (which was supposed to be for peace but it was about what to do with all the territories gained after WW1).  When they gathered at the Paris Peace conference they discovered that the Palestinians were not allowed to be represented and not even to stand at the entrance to the building. They tried to send a delegation and the British government in 1919 which controlled Palestine prevented them from boarding the boats and they stood on the pier in Yaffa harbour objecting to not being allowed to board the boats. 

Anyway, Herbert Samuel, who’s a name you should investigate because he is in my opinion more important that either Balfour or Herzl or even Ben Gurion because he was the first Jewish Zionist ruler of Palestine – 1921.  He’s the one who took over Palestine and established the Jewish State of Israel, as a British citizen who happened to be Jewish and Zionist. When he was appointed, the major Zionist newspaper in Palestine had the headline: “The First Jewish King in Palestine in 2000 years!”  Indeed, he was like a king because the British government gave him all the authority of a king.  And not a king by even British standards but a king with absolute rule like in the Middle Ages – he could do whatever he wanted.  For example, he issued a statement that said: “Segregate public schools”.  And it was carried out.  The Palestinians could only object and protest but he could execute this.  Imagine segregating public schools meaning that he had Jewish schools and non-Jewish schools.  And the Jewish schools were under the control of the Zionist forces not under the control of religious Jewish institutions – they were not allowed to have anything to do with them.  So that’s how he did it. And then he said “Give the natural resources of the Dead Sea and all the wetlands to the Zionist forces, 119 species of migrating birds, and it was all done with the stroke of a pen.  He was a gentleman who was always dressed in white, meticulously pressed – the Palestinians called him ‘The White Devil’ and basically everything he touched turned to dust.  And this is when the problem started in Palestine – the formation of the Jewish state, Zionist militias, terrorist organisations like the Haganah – all this happened under the power of this guy in the 1920s.

The bottom line for us is that 7 million of us are refugees or displaced people, literally pushed into the sea and then there’s the distribution of the Palestinians in the ME and then Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza and that’s a part of the story many of you are more familiar with and proceeded to build colonies in the WB and the map on the right shows major colonies in the WB. There are 230 Israeli colonies and they house 750,000 Israeli Jews, there are actually more Israeli Jews per square mile in the WB than inside the Green Line, what some people call Israel, I don’t call it Israel I call it Palestine 1948 areas. For example in the Bethlehem area, these are the names of the major settlements and they control most of our territory in the Bethlehem district when they took land from own ancestors and my own family etc.  Historically then what happened to Palestine, the shrinkage of the lands allocated to the Palestinians for the benefit of immigrants from Europe so today we’re left in these bantustans.  This shrinking map of Palestine, do you know where it came from, who’s the first person who drew it?  It was actually my 13-year old son because he saw the map (of America) at the bottom  in 1998 and he said Dad isn’t this what happened to Palestine? And I said Yes, and he said “shouldn’t you draw one like this?”  I said “no, shouldn’t you draw one like this?” So he drew it and I put it in my book and since then it’s been used ever since – I have no copyright, don’t worry. 

This is colonization.  Colonization is a common human phenomenon. It’s not a bad diagnosis for this patient.  It’s like the flu, it’s common, just about everybody gets the flu.  And just about every country on earth got this illness at one time or another.  And if you go through the roster of the UN alphabetically for the first 20-25 countries, every one of them was either a colonizer or a colonized country or both.  It’s a common malady if you like.  It doesn’t mean you’re going to die.  It’s OK, it’s human history.  And we have to accept human history.  Scientists have a notion of acceptance of things as they are. I don’t like the fact that there are parasites in Africa that attack children’s eyes and make them blind.  It’s part of evolution and nature unfortunately.  It’s terrible for those children, but that’s the way things are.  As scientists, we just have to describe them.  OK but if we consider them an illness, what is the cure and how do we proceed? First, you have to look at other patients and what happened.  Amongst other colonial struggles, there are three possible scenarios.  Scenario 1: the Algerian model.  It’s very rare that the natives win and the colonizers pack their bags and go.  It doesn’t happen very often because the natives don’t have the wherewithal or weapons or anything else and in the case of Algeria I wouldn’t want anybody to think that we can follow this model because it cost the Algerians 1 million lives and 1 mil French packed their bags and went to Europe, I don’t say went back to Europe because they were there for generations, 5 or 6 generations. If you go to Algiers it’s French architecture. It was only in 1962 that this happened.  Scenario 2 is a little more common but still fairly rare, and that’s genocide.  You kill the natives and you can stabilize the situation.  Think Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, the US. There are so few natives left that you can think of these countries as long-term stable countries though I’m a US citizen and on Columbus Day I went out and demonstrated with the native Americans in Boston and other places. For Thanksgiving Day which is this mythology that the natives and the colonizers sat down and shared food around the table – it was a thanksgiving holiday for the successful genocide  / massacre of the native Americans. That was the original thanksgiving.  But in the end, thank God, very few countries are like that.

The third and most likely outcome, which is found in most countries in the world, is what?  Think South America, Central America, Caribbean islands, Canada, SE Asia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, all these islands in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans – the colonizers and the natives get together and you can call it a lose-lose situation or a win-win situation depending on whether you see your glass as half full or half empty. 

But these are the 3 scenarios.  Which do you prefer? Which scenario do we Palestinians prefer?  We Palestinians have always called for the third scenario and I can send you document after document from the 19th century, from the first Palestinian organizations called Jewish-Christian Associations that issued declarations about Herzl and about everything that we Palestinians love diversity, we have no problem with Jews, they can live with us, we have no problem with immigrants either by the way.  We welcomed for example the Armenians when they came, including after the Armenian holocaust (the word ‘holocaust’ was used for the Armenians before it was used for Jews and gypsies and others in WW2).  So we welcomed them, we even gave the Armenians a quarter in our old city – it’s called the ‘Armenian Quarter’ in Jerusalem.  They became natives in every sense of the word.  We’re all at some level immigrants, we all came from East Africa.  So that is what I believe is the outcome and what we as Palestinians have been calling for.  It’s also important to have the right diagnosis so that you can understand the symptoms.  If you do not make the right diagnosis, the symptoms will seem puzzling. If someone has cancer and you see anaemia you might say well they’re not eating well, they should eat more spinach.  But you need to understand the symptoms, and the symptoms are many. Think of anything - the wall, the settlements, the discrimination against Palestinians, the home demolitions, the violence, call it the terrorism I don’t care – but the bottom line is, it’s all understandable in that context.  Because after all violence is totally understandable in the context of colonialism. Colonialism cannot be done nicely, you have to kick people out violently and people resist. It’s understandable. What do the colonizers think about this resistance? Understandable also – not excusable, but understandable.  When the Europeans went to North America or South Africa they were just circling the wagons protecting themselves from these savages and barbarians, attacking us for no obvious reason, killing our women and children, maybe it’s a religious question, maybe it’s a language problem, maybe they don’t understand what we’re trying to do bringing them technology and knowledge and building shining cities, manifest destiny, maybe they don’t understand our language and that’s why they are trying to kill us.  It always becomes logical but if you remove the diagnosis it doesn’t make sense, it would not fit.  Why did the Israelis start an operation called “Operation Hunt Cow” in your town to catch the 18 fugitive cows in your town?  We had that in Beit Sahour -  there was a military order that said we cannot own milking cows so why was that?  What do they expect us to want to do?  Of course they don’t want us to have milking cows, for the same reason that the Europeans and Americans killed millions of buffalo, to deprive the native Americans from a way of life so they don’t retain their livelihood and they go away.  It makes sense, logically. Again, you don’t have to vilify this, you don’t have to .. whatever but it’s naturally to be expected.

So I want to switch themes now because you’re not here to hear me describe the symptoms and I’m not going to carry on talking about symptoms – there are many.   But I want to start thinking in winning attitudes, not in describing inherent problems which we’re facing.  If you look at the situation, what comes into your mind, with Israel doing this and doing that? When I saw a picture like this (pointing to slide showing two women holding placards – one saying “I am a Palestinian Arab. I was born in Jerusalem. Palestine is my homeland but I cannot return there” and the other reads “I am an American Jew. I was born in the USA. Israel is my homeland but I can “return” there”), the first time I met these two ladies actually I said this is good, it’s great – it’s two ladies, one Palestinian, one American Jew working together for peace and justice.  This is what we have to look at, we have to look at every good thing. The nakba, everybody said the nakba was such a horrible thing, well it was – my grandmother was from Nazareth and we suffered, my mother lost her best friend in Deir Yassin, she was a school teacher, she was killed with all her students, horrible things, but the nakba also had a positive side, I discussed this in my book. I mean if you think about it, there’s a lot of things that are positive about us as humans and when challenges face us we rise up and improve.  I am sure if we didn’t have the nakba, I wouldn’t have a PhD, I’d probably be a farm worker now in Beit Sahour.  But I got education and went into medicine because of the nakba – necessity is the mother of invention and all that.  So we have to start thinking about positive things. I’ll skip because of time.  These ladies for example (pointing at another slide), were the first leaders of the Palestinian Women’s movement in the 1920s. They were going to meet the British High Commissioner and realized it was a waste of time so they started demonstrating and not only that, theirs was the first demonstration in human history that used automobiles – in October 1929, 120 cars were gathered from throughout Palestine (you can imagine there weren’t many cars in Palestine at that time) so they came from all over - Haifa and Jaffa etc to Jerusalem. That story made the London Times.  These ladies organized lobbying in Parliament, the first lobbying for the Palestinian question one-on-one came from these ladies and the first support for Palestinian rights came in 1931 as a result of the action of these ladies who used their own money to travel to London to lobby Parliament here.  We need to start thinking about the successes and not the failures. When these gentlemen (another slide showing Palestinian dignitaries of different religions) met and objected to the Balfour Declaration on 2 Nov 1932 in Jerusalem – these are people of various religions, they’re usually at each other’s throats, sometimes the priests are hitting each other over the head with brooms because one is Catholic and one is Greek Orthodox etc  - but they managed to get together and they agreed to object to the Balfour Declaration and to the British so-called mandate over Palestine but not only that but to engage in civil disobedience and action against the British government in Palestine and some of these people ended up in British jails – this is in 1936 in a Jerusalem jail where there’s 4 Muslim leaders and one Christian leader together. 

We Palestinians engaged in many forms of resistance and I discuss this in my book.  When soldiers prevented teachers and students going to school and they have their classes in the street, that’s a form of resistance, as when we climb walls etc.  All these are forms of resistance. And even innovative forms of resistance like involving people like you internationally and ISN people.  ISN International started in my village of Beit Sahour and brought tens of thousands of people to Palestine to help us and we welcome you anytime by the way, you can come and visit and see what you can see if you want. If you decide to take positive action you can also join ISN, for example these ISN people protected the Church of the Nativity when it was being shelled by the Israeli army.  Israel is more careful when there are internationals in demonstrations of civil disobedience. Not always however, Richard Cauley and many others were killed by the Israelis and hundreds of internationals were injured. For example my friend Emily .. who happens to be an American Jew.  Emily was a Zionist actually and she came as a visual artist to draw.  I told her to stay away from demonstrations and she stayed distant and yet they shot her in the eye and she lost her eye.  But her family are all anti-zionists as a result.  Since I came back to Palestine by the way in 2008 for the past 9 years I’ve lost 19 of my own friends.  Imagine losing 19 friends of yours in 9 years, how would you feel?  People like Bassem Abu Rahman, the most gentle person you can imagine.  None of these people by the way were engaged in any armed resistance.  Bassem Abu Rahman was the most gentle human being you can imagine.  I study nature and I went to his village and was catching some insects and he said “why are you killing them?” I said I needed to capture them to study them and understand biodiversity, it’s taxonomy, and he said “but they’re living creatures”.  But anyway he was shot with tear gas. I went to his funeral and also went a month later and his sister Jawaher showed me his room and it was kept the same way as it was and unfortunately she herself was killed by inhaling tear gas at the same demonstration 11 months later.  And the last friend I lost was this guy on the right (pointing at another slide) wearing the T-shirt I gave him and here we’re standing in front of a bus stop to try and ride the bus – this is what we call ‘Palestine Freedom Riders’ and the idea was to show the racism in the state of Israel and have civil disobedience by trying to ride the buses.  Because any Jewish person can come to Palestine, get automatic citizenship at Lod airport which Israel renamed Ben Gurion Airport and now we’re not allowed to use it.  But anyway any Jew in the world and even any convert to Judaism can come to Palestine, get automatic citizenship, live on stolen Palestinian land and freely travel around including Jersusalem whereas I as a Palestinian, I happen to be a Christian but I cannot go to Jersusalem where I used to be a high school teacher, which is only 3 miles away.  I cannot even enter Jerusalem according to Israeli military orders, I cannot enter Jerusalem with my American passport – this is how racist the state is.  So we’re trying to highlight the racism.  I was arrested many times during these acts of civil disobedience, more times than I can count.  We call you to join us and boycott the sanctions as the sensible way of working with us as human rights protesters.  You saw the film about the Museum – the Museum is also a form of resistance – the Museum’s motto is ‘Respect’.  First as Palestinians we have to start by respecting ourselves.  Mental occupation is more dangerous than physical occupation.  Steve Biko I think in South Africa said this:  “The best weapon in the hands of the occupier is the mind of the occupied” and that’s because they make us believe that we are sub-human beings, that we have to obey orders.  I think I told you that I am not allowed in Jerusalem by Israeli military orders, that doesn’t mean I don’t enter Jerusalem, last month I was there.  I smuggle myself in, as we say in Arabic “Tuz”, I don’t care, laws here, laws there, it’s not their country to give us laws.  This is what we do and we have to do this, by freeing our minds. In the Civil Rights Movement, in a similar saying to what Steven Biko said, in the US among black people, it went something like this “Free your mind and your ass will follow”.  We have to free our minds and how do we free our minds?  We have to encourage children and children have free minds by the way.  What we do as adults is we try to suppress, suppress their curiosity, suppress everything, we say “don’t touch”, no let them eat that, it’s good for their immune system.  Give them a little freedom, let them think, let them challenge.  “Why is the sky blue?” “Oh shut up son, I don’t know why, God created it this way”. No let them think, say “let’s go and look it up together”.  This is what we have to do, encourage children, start with children.  And once they respect themselves then they can respect others, other religions or cultures or backgrounds, whatever, and they can also respect nature, the environment, animals and plants. 

So that’s what we do in the Museum but we also do more in terms of research, the effect of Israeli what I call environmental injustice, for example stealing the water of the River Jordan basin by diverting it to the Western areas and drying up the Jordan Valley and now to help the Dead Sea which has shrunk a lot they want to use sludge from the desalination plants of the canal which they have already half-built between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.  The Canal has been dug on the Jordanian side not on the so-called Israeli side, you know why? It’s so that Jordan will be saddled with the debts of this canal – about US$ 15 bn! It’s the most stupid project I can imagine as an environmentalist. I did some study and won’t bother you with the details, it’s devastating to the environment and the future prospects and it’ll saddle Jordan with all this huge debt which Jordanian citizens of future generations will look back on and curse – why Jordan signed this agreement under American pressure.  We have many problems including climate change, we have problems with water not because we have a shortage of water, there’s actually more rainfall in Ramallah than there is in London.”

This is as far as the recording got.  Three or so minutes are missing from the end of Prof Qumsiyeh’s talk but he ended on the hopeful note that those working against the occupation of Palestine are not only on the side of history but of nature too.  When I spoke to him privately the next day and confessed a degree of despondency and hopelessness as I saw increasingly the success of the Zionist strategy of equating in people’s minds, the media, governments etc any criticism of Israel as a veiled form of anti-semitism, he said “all I know is, every morning when I get up I look at myself in the mirror and say, if I can do one little thing today to help the cause, then I must, and that’s all I can do”.

FC 17.11.17

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