Apr 10, 2023

Loneliness and Rachel

 On this day, Rachel Corrie’s Birthday, I reflected on her message which mentions loneliness (see message below). In my 65 years on this earth I talked to more than 120,000 people and I continue to find difficulty understanding connectivity and loneliness. The Beatles' song "look at all the lonely people" plays in my head with every encounter. “We feel alone, and in this we are connected” said Leo Babauta. In other words, everyone at some level is lonely. While many are reluctant to admit it: we are lonely even when we are surrounded by friends, a lover, and family.As a biologist and at an intellectual level, I can understand that. While we (Homo sapiens) evolved as a social species, our genome and chromosomes produce variations and characters that ensure uniqueness and individuality. This is both a blessing and a curse. Of course there are variations among people in behaviours and even in levels of feeling lonely. How different people react to their circumstances is also shaped by their background and upbringing. Being adored or being popular does not free you from loneliness. Stars and celebrities all feel loneliness and their mind may react to it in different ways generating behaviours ranging from self-destruction to charity. How many stars went down the path of self destruction (Elvis Pressly, Marilyn Monroe etc.)? On the other end of the spectrum we find people like Danny Thomas ("make room for Daddy")  who went on to establish St Jude Children Research Hospital (where I worked in cancer research for two years meeting him three times before he died and old and happy man.  My conversations with him as with Edward Said and many other "famous" people taught me that the most important aspect is to remain humble, to remain curious, to remain a student of life. This does not save you from loneliness. It does shed a new light on loneliness. Recognizing that we humans have a biological need for acceptance and validation, our mind and attitude can deal with this and manage it by inward reflection. The Buddhist philosophy says to mediate and be still. Be like water which seeks the lowest places yet can erode and shape rocks. But even when we feel pain, our Buddhist friends tell us: embrace it and do not fight it. It is part of you. Many religions even encourage followers to endure pain (such as pain of hunger when fasting) by keeping an eye for the goal. But we do not have to believe in heaven and hell (carrots and sticks) to do what all know is right (and not do what is wrong).

Loneliness is not the same as being alone or solitude. Loneliness can be turned around. It has to do with choice. You can take time alone (whether because you choose or because you are forced ) to learn from books, reading poems, reflecting on what you want to do next, and even to forgive yourself (we all have our sins to atone for including the sin of wasting time vegetating and being sorrowful!). Getting out of depressive loneliness like any other negative emotion (fear, hate, guilt) requires practice and mind "management." The only minds we can actually (& thankfully) control are our own minds. When I visited Mumbai many years ago I saw thousands of people in abject poverty on the streets. One image still etched in my mind: a family, father, mother, two children sprawled at 11 PM semi naked on card boads on a street with a cell phone that they were watching and laughing (their own TV). The sound of that laughter never leaves me. It is the same laughter I heard from Children at a Palestinian refugee camp who invited me to share a meager meal with them (hummus, zait and zaatar and bread). It was the jokes and laughter I heard from Palestinian prisoners sharing a cell with them (even though it was for one night, and I feld crushed to leave them). When I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, I need to remember those times and places where hope, kindness, love, and camaraderie was shown. Those memories sustain us when we are alone (by choice or not) and certainly can pull us out of the loneliness (even that which happens when we are surrounded by people).  I end with the words of our friend Rachel Corrie who wrote in January 2003 (two months before she was murdered by the Israeli occupation army):

"We are all born and someday we’ll all die. Most likely to some degree alone. What if our aloneness isn’t a tragedy? What if our aloneness is what allows us to speak the truth without being afraid? What if our aloneness is what allows us to adventure – to experience the world as a dynamic presence – as a changeable, interactive thing? If I lived in Bosnia or Rwanda or who knows where else, needless death wouldn’t be a distant symbol to me, it wouldn’t be a metaphor, it would be a reality. And I have no right to this metaphor. But I use it to console myself. To give a fraction of meaning to something enormous and needless. This realization. This realization that I will live my life in this world where I have privileges. I can’t cool boiling waters in Russia. I can’t be Picasso. I can’t be Jesus. I can’t save the planet single-handedly. I can wash dishes...."

Rachel changed millions of minds and hearts… that is something to celebrate on her birthday (she would have been 44 today) …..

The rose that grew from concrete: Palestinian refugees in Jordan 'green' their camps to resist: https://www.newarab.com/features/palestinian-refugees-jordan-green-their-camps-resist

American held by Israeli occupation


Occupation 101- Voices of the Silenced Majority

For first time more US democrats sympathize with Palestinians than Israelis according to Gallup poll https://news.yahoo.com/more-democrats-sympathize-palestinians-israelis-145542815.html

Feb 21, 2023

Carter and Al-Haq

Last week I shared one inspiring story on my blog on my mother. This week, I share another two stories, one a bit controversial. You can read my reflections about Jimmy Carter and about Al-Haq (a Palestinian brilliant human rights organization) below. 

President Jimmy Carter born 1924 whose mother was a nurse and father ran a general store in Plains, Georgia. It is hard to sum up his achievements in 99 years (he was just checked into a hospice). Racist Zionists vilified him for writing a book called “Israel: Peace not apartheid”. But let me leave this aside for few more sentences. Carter grew up in the great depression among African Americans greatly discriminated against, served in the navy, and became a peanut farmer in Georgia. Deciding to run for office to give him a platform to speak against racial discrimination. He succeeded and was inspired by John F. Kennedy (a president who was likely assassinated by the deep state as was his brother). 

John F. Kennedy, tried to force Israeli lobbyist in the US to register as foreign agents (per the law) and to prevent Israel from developing nuclear weapons.  To this day, many Palestinians in refugee camps still have JFKs pictures hanging in their homes. Carter became governor in 1971 but did it by employing what many considered unethical attacks on his opponent to gain the “white vote”. On Zionist David Rockefeller's endorsement, he was named to the Trilateral Commission in April 1973 and ran successfully for President in 1976. His inconsistent positions and trying to straddle the fence to pleas conservatives while losing liberals caught-up with him and he lost the election to Ronald Reagan in 1980.  I think had he served a second term in office he would have rectified his mistakes. He tried to do that out of office. For example while in office he presided over a so called “peace agreement: between Israel and Egypt which basically sold out the Palestinians, strengthened the Egyptian dictatorship, limited Egyptian people access to their own lands, sent $billions more to Israel every year since, and resulted in removing Sinai Bedouins.  Historian Jørgen Jensehaugen argues that by the time Carter left office in January 1981, he was "in an odd position—he had attempted to break with traditional U.S. policy but ended up fulfilling the goals of that tradition, which had been to break up the Arab alliance, side-line the Palestinians, build an alliance with Egypt, weaken the Soviet Union and secure Israel."  It was the beginning of the normalization of an apartheid system that strengthened the right wing in Israel and led directly to what we see happening today in “Israel” (including a fascist government). 

Carter's efforts at fixing things after he left office by speaking out for human rights where paved with good intentions but limited capacity. As the Democratic Party continued to follow the failing strategy of bargaining human righst to cater to Zionist funders (estimates of over half its funding come from Zionists). Carter is a ky figure in Habitat For Humanity (https://www.habitat.org/) and over a dozen other charities that help the poor and disenfranchised, The story of Jimmy Carter is the story of all politicians (and all of us): an angel on one shoulder, a devil on the other egging them on. I am reminded of the story of the old native American asked by a grandchild about good and evil. He answered that inside every person there is a good wolf and a bad wolf continuously fighting. The child asks which one wins. The old man answered “the one you feed”. Carter’s good wolf was fed well especially in the second half of his life. It is a lesson to learn from. 

Now for an inspiring organization I wanted to also highlight here (most of the below is also from their website https://www.alhaq.org/.  Al-Haq is an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organization, It was established in 1979 to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Al-Haq documents violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the OPT, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and seeks to end such breaches by way of advocacy before national and international mechanisms and by holding the violators accountable. The organization does advocacy before local, regional and international bodies and works with governmental and non-governmental bodies to ensure that international human rights standards are reflected in Palestinian law and policies.  Al-Haq is the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists - Geneva and is a member of the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Habitat International Coalition (HIC), the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PRHOC), and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO). For its work in protecting and promoting human rights, the organization has been awarded the Fayez A. Sayegh Memorial Award, the Rothko Chapel Award for Commitment to Truth and Freedom, The Carter-Menil Human Rights Foundation Prize, the Geuzenpenning Prize for Human Rights Defenders, the Welfare Association’s NGO Achievement Award, The Danish PL Foundation Human Rights Award, the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, the Human Rights and Business Award, the Bruno Kreisky Prize in 2022 and the MESA Academic Freedom Award 2022. 

Professor Lynn Welchman published a book titled “Al-Haq: A Global History of the First Palestinian Human Rights Organization” - (University of California Press, 2021 - New Directions in Palestinian Studies). Read the publication in full at https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520379756/al-haq For the same activities Al-Haq was vilified by the Israeli occupiers reaching the point of banning travel of organization leaders and then in October 2021 declaring Al-Haq “illegal” with other organizations (see https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/19384.html).

I used their publications regularly in our own group’s work on human rights and environmental justice. Here is a recent publication so you can see their rigorous and very useful scholarship: Al-Haq 2022. Corporate Liability: The Right to Water and the War Crime of Pillage. https://www.alhaq.org/publications/20995.html

Feb 16, 2023

Exile and Mama

A post about exile and my mama in a series of posts I will start weekly on positive role models. This is post 1. I hope you like it. You can post comments also below.

I just went to Jordan for a short of one night related to our work. In Jordan I was hosted by two colleagues each of whom I knew for decades: my relative who is also my friend since high school Nader  lived in Jordan for many years and my friend from our university days Zuhair Amr (professor). Both have lived in Jordan or decades (expatriates from Palestine). On the drive back and forth from the Bridge to Amman the taxi drivers each was a Palestinian with a different story: one was a young man whose family comes from Safuriya (https://palestineremembered.com/Nazareth/Saffuriyya/ ). He has never seen it except in pictures. The other was an abandoned baby in a refugee camp raised by two refugees from Beit Jubrin (https://palestineremembered.com/Hebron/Bayt-Jibrin/index.html) These are two of 530 villages and towns ethnically cleansed in 1948 to 1949. Each individual of those four have their own story to tell worth of being put in a book. More than two thirds of the people in Jordan are of course Palestinians. I was reflecting on this as to issues of peace and reconciliation. I am also cognizant of the challenges we face. Two books that I finished rereading (I have read them more superficially a few years back) are “Palestine For Sale” by Khalil Nakhah and “Palestine LTD”  by Toufic Haddad. Both make for sobering reading about the Palestinian cause and how it was (re)engineered with neo-liberal and capitalist agendas similar to what happened in South Africa (when I visited I was shocked that apartheid did not really end but that black face to apartheid created). I have to always remind myself that for every weak person who sells his conscience for a fistful of $, there is a person who is living his/her life comfortable in their own skin, resisting, loving, and really living.  Being a house slave after all is not a true life! I am truly inspired by stories of people like the four I mentioned and the many thousands I met and befriended over the years. They are stories of hope for a better future. I am going to write more on such inspiring people going forward. I hope you will like that.  I will start here with my mother:

Me givng salute, mama in back

My mother (we say in Arabic Mama or Yama) was born in 1932. She was in the teachers’ colleage in Jerusalem in 1948 when a friend/classmate of hers (Hayat AlBalbisi) was killed in the massacre of Deir Yassin (https://www.palestineremembered.com/Jerusalem/Dayr-Yasin/index.html ). She recalls before Zionism her mothers house in Nazareth, her uncle’s house in Jaffa, her birth ho,me in Beit Jala and all the wonderful landscape that existed between those ian a Palestine that was then one united, undivided by segregation walls and artificial borders. My mother was the first teacher in Bethlehem allowed to teach while she was married. She taught for decades elementary school children while raising six children (three of them with PhDs). She was also school principal. When she was forced to retire from public schools, she went back to school as a student and  got a bachelor degree in English from Bethlehem University being (still) the oldest graduate of the university. She then taught in private schools in her 60s until she was forced to retire again. She was honored with numerous awards and accolades. But more than her professional life, I would not be here without the lessons I learned from her in life on charity, caring for others, love of Palestine’s nature (used to go collecting herbal and medicinal plants in the beautiful valleys). This Palestine She took care of my ailing father who suffered with two kinds of cancers until his death 20 years ago. I now spend every morning helping her have breakfast and finding pleasures in speaking to her (although her responses are few but very helpful). We are so grateful for this remarkable women. I owe not only my physical existence to her but everything I have achieved so far including our helping thousands of people via establishing palestinenature.org .
To be continued next week with another inspiring story.

Dec 25, 2022

Political prediction for 2023

There is a new Israeli government in formation this week. As part of the negotiations by Netanyahu to bring in extremist fascist allies to his coalition, the new government will

1) Expand “security” powers to Kahanist minister and colonial settler Ben Gvir. Basically a terrorist will now have command of police and border police (his own army)

2) Agree to work even harder to finish the job “not done well by Ben Gurion” (Ben Gurion’s regime ethnically cleansed most of the local people see Ilan Pappe’s book “The ethnic cleansing of Palestine”). The proposed actions include making the Galilee and Negev “Jewish” by providing incentives for Jews to move there and pressuring the local Palestinians out. Strengthening the so called “Green police” (racist Zionist militia that does ethnic cleansing in the name of “greening”) and enforcing draconian measures to destroy communities that survived 1948 (so called unrecognized villages) and to consolidated Palestinians into “concentration areas”. This is already happening inside and outside the Green line (1949 cease-fire line).

3) Expand colonial settlements in the West Bank (already nearly one million Jewish illegal settlers live here). Also expand home demolitions and other measures intended to drive the Palestinian population out

4) Allow open racism in the Knesset (no member will be censored for openly attacking Arabs) while restricting freedom of speech from Palestinians and from Jews who oppose racism.

5) Impose death penalty on Palestinians and encourage soldiers to shoot more freely on Palestinians (no legal consequences)

6) Enforce nation state law that defines Israel as a state by and for “Jewish people” (the law says only Jews have a right to “self-determination” and “sovereignty” in historic Palestine (aka Eretz Yisrael)

7) Increase the genocidal strangulation/blockade of Gaza

8) Deny Palestinian political prisoners any right gained via long process of hunger strikes that resulted in some basic dignity to prisoners (like education, healthcare). Already medical neglect is killing many Palestinians in Israeli jails

9) Expand hostage taking and collective punishment by the regime exacted against the local Palestinian community

10) Strengthen segregation and apartheid laws on both sides of the Green Line

11) Make the Israeli Army more “Jewish” for example by giving more power to the Chief Army Rabbi

12) Expand funding for right-wing private schools that teach Jewish children racism against the “goyim” (non-Jews)

13) Expand pressure on Christians and Muslims throughout the country and ignite a war with Muslims by taking over their third holiest site (Al-Aqsa mosque) or at least divide it spatially and temporally as Israel illegally did in the Ibrahim mosque in Hebron

14) Stack the judicial deck with racist political appointees so that any faint image of “fairness” is gone.

Now these and many more unjust actions to come make it so crystal clear that “Israel” is not a state. It is a gang of fanatics with an army. Most people around the world already realize this. Best demonstration was the massive support of Palestine in the World Cup games in Qatar.  But even political leaders who are far easier to manipulate than the public are rethinking. Leaders from the Global South are seeing that indeed there is a lunatic Israeli regime and are increasingly keeping distance. Elections of Lula in Brazil is an indicator. More countries are either moving fascist (like right wing in Italy and Hungary and Ukraine) or moving left. Arab regimes run by dictators kept as banana republics USA/Israel surely will not fare any better than banana republics in South America did.

Even Mahmoud Abbas who has bent over backwards before to provide security and economic growth to the Israeli regime, is getting close to giving up on Israel. His speech 17 December 2022 is reminiscent of speeches by Yasser Arafat before he was poisoned. Both predicted their coming end . The US government under the thumb of AIPAC is even trying to leave a window for difference. The Zionist secretary of State Blinken even addressed J Street (I hope next he will address Jewish Voice for Peace which is far more rational). The US Biden administration is basically now trying to walk along a very narrow tight rope across the abyss. To justify continued dumping of billions of tax payers money down the black hole of Zionism, they merely verbally say they only support the Prime Minister (Netanyahu) and that they hope he will reign in his terrorist coalition ministers like Ben Gvir and Smotrish. But who on earth believes you can draw a line between a racist criminal like Netanyahu and a racist criminal like Ben Gvir. Even old Zionist Henry Kissinger suggests the US empire cannot rule the world any more and must give space for others. The people of earth no longer buy the hypocrisy of massive sanctions on Russia for occupying parts of Ukraine that speak Russian while funding a rogue regime that has occupied all of Palestine, does not obey international law, violates dozens of UN resolutions, and ethnically cleansed the native people (now 8 million of us are refugees or displaced people).

My prediction for 2023, more people and even more governments will challenge the hypocrisy. More and more people rightly view Palestine as the Achilles’ heel of Western Hypocrisy. Time for a Free Palestine so that we end this hypocrisy and build foreign policy based on true justice, democracy and human rights.  We can then all focus on equally pressing issues like women rights, climate change, and increasing risk of nuclear war. But all of these issues intersect. For example, lunatic Israeli regime has hundreds of nuclear weapons and I would not be surprised if they use them (some on nuclear powered submarines supplied by Germany).  Another example is that the military produces significant green-house gas emissions (in the case of the Israeli army more than the whole remaining Palestinians under Israeli rule). Addressing injustices with a uniform yard stick not only challenges western hypocrisy but it results in a more livable world. As Neslon Mandela said: our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestine. Or as Martin Luther King Jr said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

May 16, 2022

Nakba at 74

 On this 74th anniversary of the beginning of our Nakba (catastrophe) we mourn the ethnic cleansing that began in 1948 and that continues today with silent transfer, home demolitions, land confiscation and more.  But we also pledge it as a day of dedication, meditation, and work towards return (al-awda) and liberation.

Yesterday and today we attended a number of events related to the Nakba. This one https://youtu.be/RyTc7ARi4Q0 was a joint Israeli Palestinian gathering hosted by Combatants For Peace. But the images tha seem etched in millions of Palestinian minds are of the murder of Shireen AbuAkleh, the attack on her funeral and beating mourners, and the continuing killing: two more Palestinians since her murder including the heroic Dawood ubaidy, brother of an a martyr, son of a maryr and brother of Zakarya Zubaidi (from the Jenin Freedom theater). We Palestinians wonder how much longer will our suffering last (aided by western complicity). Tonight we had a vigil in the Nativity Square in Bethlehem for Shireen and for our ongoing tragedy. Palestine, like it was 2000 years ago when Jesus was born, is under occupation and oppression.

We mourn each and every victim of the racist Zionist idea including several thousand Jews, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and other Arabs. We mourn the millions killed by the US or its pup[pets in our region to serve Zionist interests (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya etc).  We feel sad about western puppets like Mohammad Bin Zayed of the UAE andMohamme (Butcher saw) Bin Salman of "Saudi" Arabia who caused so much suffering at the behest of Israel.  But we also celebrate an amazing resilience and success of the Palestinian native people against incredible odds. Thousands of stories of persistence and resilience can be told. For me, the fragility of the Israeli state when snipers target journalists to silence the truth to their attack on mourners show their weaknesses and our strengths. The Palestinian flags and the casket remained and were shielded by brave christians and muslims willing to be beaten but not bow to occupiers.

We are 14 million Palestinians and while most of us are refugees and displaced people, we remain proud. steadfast, hopeful, and connected. This was shown in the May 2021 uprising which surprized even astute political observers who thought normalization with Arab countries, security coordination with the Palestinain authority, and billions of US tax-payer money will normalize colonialism and apartheid. It was shown in the millions amplifying the voice of our martyred Shireen AbuAkleh. We foiled the repeated attempts to break our quest for freedom and even to isolate us from each other. Thousands of Palestinians still go to their main city of Jerusalem without Israeli permission.

We are still the most educated people with the highest per capita of postgraduates. We now have 14 universities inside the occupied Palestinan territories. Our people in diaspora are the most successful in their host countries and excel in all areas they delved into: business, science, art, management and much more. This is miraculous considering 74 years of relentless attempts at what is called by an Israeli author politicide and I may actually say is attempted genocide. It is at least an attempt to erase Palestine. It did not happen and will not happen.  We are still the people who helped develop the Arab world and remind it of its unity and common destiny.  But more than that, our resistance shielded fellow Arabs from the original plans of Zionists for an empire from the Nile to the Euphrates. We are still the main obstacle to the victory of the racist Zionist project.

We have an amazing history of 140 years of struggle against the most well-financed, most-organized, most-supported (by Zionists and their Western backers and their Arab lackeys) colonial project in human history. See my book on this http://qumsiyeh.org/popularresistanceinpalestine/ We have the fastest growing boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in anti-colonial struggles. BDS also grows because the hypocrisy of Western governments produces public reactions.

Palestine is still the place where people of different religions lived in harmony for millenia until European Zionists came and created refugees and ghettos for Palestinians (Muslims and Christians) and one large ghetto for Jews called Israel.  Church bells and the call of the Muezzin to prayer still penetrate deep in our souls. We educate our children that racism and notions of choseness are wrong and they grow to believe that we can still have the new Palestine that will be like our old Palestine: multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural and beautiful.

Palestinians inspired activists around the world. Polls show great sympathy for our cause among average people. Palestine is now cause celebre among those struggling against oppression. Nelson Mandela said that South Africans will not be fully free until Palestine is free. According to polls, a majority in Western Europe correctly view Israel and the US as the two greatest threats to world peace. Thousands of internationals joined us in the struggle locally.  Israel has become so paranoid about any solidarity visits and in the process exposed its apartheid racist nature.

I am 100% sure that our Nakba will end, refugees will return, freedom and equality will happen, and Israelis will also be liberated from being oppressors and colonizers and become integrated into the fabric of the new and better Palestine.  We can then become a "light unto the peoples."

More on refugees and the Nakba is in this chapter from my book Sharing the land of Canaan http://qumsiyeh.org/chapter4/
and here is a personal story I wrote 20 years ago related to my own feelings about history and future http://qumsiyeh.org/thecucumberandthecactus/

May 14, 2022

Tears and hope from the last few days

A world renowned journalist Shireen AbuAqleh was intentionally murdered by an Israeli sniper in Jenin. Millions of tears were shed for her including ours at the Palestne Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (palestinenature.org). We planted ten trees in her honor. The constellation of events and circumstances and her background actually were so amazing that it provided a huge dose of sadness but also a big ray of hope for us.

Jenin, where she was murdered, is a center of heroic resistance to occupation (resistance not suported by any government, international or even Palestinian). She was a journalist and wearing protective blue journalist vest and helmet. Thus she mobilized the media. She was beloved by every Palestinian home for her coverage of their daily miseries inflected by foreign occupiers for decades. She was a US Citizen thus exposed by her death the hypocrisy of the Zionist run state department that like with Rachel Corrie and other US citizens killed by Israel (a "special country immune from accountability because of a strong lobby in Washington DC). Her body underwent autopsy in Nablus att a Palestinian Medical School then taken to Ramallah and then to Jerusalem. That she is a Jerusalemite with both her Parents burried there was fortuitous bliss. She was also Christian and all Christian churches in Jerusalem rang their bells. Muslims prayed for her on their holy day in Friday just before she was burried. Millions watched and thousands participated in her burial in Jerusalem on a Friday. Mourners were Christians, Muslims, and conscientious Jews and adorned with Palestinian flags (forbidden by the Israeli occupation forces).

Occupation forces then attacked the funeral including pallbearers of Shireen after they murdered her. Here are the shocking video from different angles

Initial investigations and human righst statements on the murder of Shireen:
AlHaq investigation https://www.alhaq.org/ar/advocacy/19990.html
BTselem https://youtu.be/nguevm1CHXM
Amnesty https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/05/israel-opt-increase-in-unlawful-killings-and-other-crimes-highlights-urgent-need-to-end-israels-apartheid-against-palestinians/

The hypocrisy of the west is becoming even more blatant. In the murder of Shireen Aby Aqleh, they simply "call for investigation". But Shireen was reporter number 49 murdered by occupation forces and certainly Israel murdered tens of thousands of civilians (including American citizens like Rachel Corrie). They always got away with it.  Here is what the state department said about a reporter of the same age as Shireen killed in Ukraine:  "We are horrified that journalists and filmmakers—noncombatants—have been killed and injured in Ukraine by Kremlin forces. This is yet another gruesome example of the Kremlin’s indiscriminate actions.” They did not call on the Kremlin to "investigate". Now imagine if they were not hypocritical and said the same thing about Shireen. It would read: "We are horrified that journalists and filmmakers—noncombatants—have been killed and injured in Palestine by Zionist forces. This is yet another gruesome example of the Zionists' indiscriminate actions.” We did not hear of sanctions let alone ramping up pressure against the Zionist regime for doing a hundred fold more than Russia did in Ukraine. Like with South Africa, governments supported apartheid, people opposed it and engaged in demanding and putting together programs for boycott, divestments and sanction (BDS - see BDSmovement.net). Western corporate media is also complicit and must be challenged.
How the media failed in their duty to honor one of their own: https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/shireen-abu-akleh-media-failed-journalist-killing

Meanwhile this same week, the Israeli regime with US government support approved removal of over 1200 people from the homes in South Hebron hills and simultaneously announced thousands of new housing units in illegal colonial settlements in the illegally occupied areas (both violations of international law). The announcement of 4427 new units was done after lengthy negotiations with the US who also was given greenlight from AIPAC to state they oppose them (even though they actually approved and funded them). The EU also produced empty words of opposition while continuing to fund the occupiers/colonizers. Here is what Jewish Voice for Peace (braver tahn all these arab and western governments) said on one incident: "Taking advantage of Palestinians’ grief [over the murder of Shireen], American Jewish settlers took over a Palestinian home in Hebron, known to Palestinians as Al Khalil before its Judaization. This theft of Palestinian homes by foreigners is a feature of Zionism, not a bug. Settlers — and of course their Palestinian victims — are clear on this. 'We are continuing the Zionist endeavor of redeeming the Land, said Shlomo Levinger, a representative for the settler families said. And by “redeeming the land,” they mean Judaizing it, erasing Palestinians’ history and connection to it, and ethnically cleansing the Palestinians who live on it. To prevent future settler home theft, we must oppose Zionism, which has always required the forced displacement of Palestinians — as both early Zionists and today’s settlers have made explicit."

Shireen's voice is amplified by her murder just like Nizar Banat's murder and just like >110,000 civilians murdered here in Palestine since Zionists arrived from Europe. We must amplify victims' voices especially in cases like this where the constellation of events are what they are. Shireen was our voice to the world and now we must be her voice. A Jerusalem main street was taken over by its rightful owners - Palestinians with Palestinian flags and sounds of Christian and Muslim prayers. Shireen plby her sacrifice list the road for resistance and resilience. Her coffin, carried by Muslims and Christians, reminded us of what beauty and unity was like in Jerusalem before this horrific gruesome occupation. It was a sign of hope and it is a beacon of courage despite the overtime hasbara/propaganda that spends billions to keep western audiences in teh dark. We must redouble our efforts to end this nightmare and liberate Palestine. The harder we work the quicker this will happen and this in turn saves lives. 23-year old Palestinian Walid Al-Sharif died of wounds sustained two weeks ago in Al-Aqsa mosque by occupation forces who attacked Muslim worshippers. We all must say enough is enough of this. EVERYONE is called upon to act in their capacity to end this nightmare (exposing Western Hypocrisy is just one of many tools)

David Shulman- Israel Prize Winner on South Hebron hills

A great speech by Charlie Chaplain during the heat of the horrible 1940s when Hitler whipped-up hatred in the name of safety for the German people as the Zionist regime does today. Still valid today if people would listen. How much better we would be if Zionists stop regurgitating hate and oppression that was inflicted on hundreds of millions throughout the ages. Listen to these very powerful words

Apr 8, 2022

Trumping Environment

 We went from winter to summer fairly quickly with spring almost non-existent in this part of the world. In Europe at the same time they encountered 8 degrees below average for 2-3 weeks with winter extended. In the arctic, a block of ice the size of Manhattan crumbled. Soon multiple forest fires will wreak havoc on our planet. These and many other catastrophes are expected to only increase as we scientists studying our planet continue to warn that drastic actions need to be undertaken to stop a doomsday scenario related to climate change, pollution, overexploitation, and habitat destruction. Side effects of human activities also include increase in invasive species, refugees who will be mostly climate refugees, and much more. Under colonization and during conflicts  (which are always rackets for money/profit of the elites)  these environmental declines get accelerated. For those like me who actually study these things and write about them, we find that the most disheartening aspect is indeed the way comon people who suffer are duped to be partisan to conflict and thus enrich the oligarchs. The latter sometimes profit on both sides of the conflict. For example the oligarchs of the Rothschid and Bush families who got enriched on both sides of the WWII conflict.

I continue to give talks 2-4 times a week and I am always inspired by connectivity of struggles around the world Mexican immigrants in the US, Black lives matter movement, native struggle against the pipeline in the US, struggles of Palestinians against continued genocide and ethnic cleansing etc.   It is challenging trying to encourage people to seek the truth when mainstream media (Western or Eastern) spread lies and distortion!.  We also noted the political maneuvering in the last two weeks in Geneva to try and set targets and milestones for the critical biodiversity conservation globally. Politics in its worst manifestation trumps the environment. That is why we enjoy the company of enlightened people and especially youth who do not get sucked in by propaganda or consumerism (consumerism of products and (mis)information). Most of us attending daily iftars at the museum during Ramadan are not muslim but it is the communal gathering that brings the best in people. Visitors to the institute (palestinenature.org/visit) such as a group from Luxemburg yesterday are happy to see camaraderie and teamwork in action. Yesterday and today we held children's activities. I see people doing good for other people daily. I reiterate Howard Zinn's statement which I included in my 2004 book "Sharing the land of Canaan"

"TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

And herew is Daniel Berringen poignant statement about peace-making: “We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been, by and large, unwilling to pay any significant price. And because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total—but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial. So a whole will and a whole heart and a whole national life bent toward war prevail over the veilleities of peace. In every national war since the founding of the republic we have taken for granted that war shall exact the most rigorous cost, and that the cost shall be paid with cheerful heart. We take it for granted that in wartime families will be separated for long periods, that men will be imprisoned, wounded, driven insane, killed on foreign shores. In favor of such wars, we declare a moratorium on every normal human hope—for marriage, for community, for friendship, for moral conduct toward strangers and the innocent. We are instructed that deprivation and discipline, private grief and public obedience are to be our lot. And we obey. And we bear with it—because bear we must—because war is war, and good war or bad, we are stuck with it and its cost. But what of the price of peace? I think of the good, decent, peace-loving people I have known by the thousands and I wonder. How many of them are so afflicted with the wasting disease of normalcy that, even as they declare for the peace, their hands reach out with an instinctive spasm in the direction of their loved ones, in the direction of their comforts, their home, their security, their income, their future, their plans—that five-year plan of decent life, that ten-year plan of family growth and unity, that fifty-year plan of descent life and honorable natural demise. “Of course, let us have the peace,” we cry, “but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties. And because we must encompass this and protect that, and because at all costs—at all costs—our hopes must march on schedule, and because it is unheard of that in the name of peace a sword must fall, disjoining that fine and cunning web that our lives have woven, because it is unheard of that good men should suffer injustice or families be sundered or good repute be lost—because of this we cry peace and cry peace, and there is no peace. There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake”.

What is happening in the Naqab? https://youtu.be/ahQH-7WobAE

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