Jul 21, 2016


Abdullah Issa (photo left) was a Palestinian child living in Syria (family of refugees after the ethnic cleansing of 1948 by Israel). He was captured and accused of helping the Syrian government. He had injuries and was thought to be also treated for thallasemia. Pictures show the bandaged boy of perhaps 10 or 11 years old with a catheter in his arm. His captives had him in the back of a pick-up truck (perhaps having taken him from his hospital bed). As he pleaded with them they ignored him and directed their message to the camera against Syrian government then slit the throat of this child. The killer militia shouted Allahu Akbar as the boy was mercilessly murdered. This group is funded and/or supported by the governments of the US, Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. They were considered by those four governments as “moderate rebels”.

On the same day that Abdullah was beheaded, a Palestinian boy roughly the same age (Mohyee Sedki Tbakhi, photo left) was shot by the Israeli occupation forces. I could not help note the similarity between the two as they looked like twins. As happens, only by intensifying our efforts are we able to cope with such tragedies. Coincidentally I accepted an invitation by the US Consulate in Jerusalem for Independence Day celebration (the event was held July 20th rather than July 4th here). Such trips to Jerusalem (without an Israeli permit) are always painful for me but the contradictions and conflicting emotions here were high. The area is in West Jerusalem long since transformed to a “Jewish city” the only real remnant of Palestinian next to the consulate is a cemetery (Mamilla or Maman Allah). But development is even eating away at that space and what is left of it is treated as a garden park. (photo: Me at the cemetery- a Palestinian visiting remaining Palestinians)
Perhaps two or three hundred people were at the consulate including many high level Palestinian officials and some Israeli officials (including many with blood on their hands). Many attendees were there for varied reasons. They dutifully listened to Consul General Blum give a good political speech highlighting need for peace and coexistence. Palestinian and Israeli beers were served (Dancing Camel beer!). Palestinian Knaffeh was served by Palestinians ut Shawerma sandwitches were served as “Israeli” food from the Waldorf Estoria! Equalizing occupier with occupied and colonize with colonized serves a clear agenda that has no space for liberation but encourages “coexistence” (status quo). But the consular staff are kind hearted and good intentioned. Many even told me privately they disagree with the policies but they are only doing what they were told to do.

Coincidentally this event was also held in parallel with the republican national convention, an event with much news coverage (for good or bad). I could not help but reflect on the state of the US in 2016 and to do so by taking time away from very important work I am doing (like analyzing the state of the Palestinian environment). Like analyzing any project, perhaps someone ought to sit down and do a proper and detail SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to this human venture called the USA. Like all human organizational structures (including religions and political institutions everywhere), it starts with an idea that is then adapted to human needs at various intervals.

The original 13 European colonies in what became known as “America” shed their allegiance to Britain and with the help of France declared their independence in 1776. Despite a constitution that says “all men are created equal” voting in the new democracy was restricted to white male land owners a. Nearly a hundred years later, slavery was abandoned and much later women got the right to vote. Civil rights were allowed to blacks only in the 1960s. The US is now a nation of hundreds of millions (6%) of the world population but consuming nearly a quarter of the glob’s natural resources. It is a country of contradictions and has always been so. Advanced science and medicine went in parallel with committing war crimes in Vietnam. Art, music and culture that spread around the world together with death and destruction. High charity among a largely devout, simple and kind population but also domestic iolence, highest incarceration rate in the world and racist discrimination and murder of blacks. Movements like Black lives matter and challenging Islamophobia are growing but face daunting challenges. The biggest challenge is that I is a society driven by money and special interests. So islamophobia will continue to be promoted by a media under much influence from the Zionist movement.  The circus like atmosphere of the upcoming democratic convention will only be slightly better than the Republican convention.  That is because these is a system of elite interests that want it so.  But ultimately I believe changes happen in the US when enough people stop believing politicians and act to push policies through. That is how the US public pushed for civil rights, women right to vote, ending the war in Vietnam (genocidal war), ending support for apartheid South Africa, and getting 40 hour work week.  That pressure (and it is not a matter of voting another politician in or out) is what changes society. That pressure must also now increase to end US support for apartheid Israel, end US support for the Saud Royal family, end US attacks on Arab countries, end the escalation against Russia that could lead to war, really tackle climate change (and not via the weak step taken in Paris), tax the rich people fairly and take care of education for the young people and much more.

I do love fellow Americans (as I do all human beings even Israelis). I do not have to agree with US foreign policy and in fact my dislike of that AIPAC-led foreign policy that is bankrupting the US is born out of my love for fellow US citizens especially people who challenged or challenge the system. There are people like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. There are thousands of good Americans just on my own email list. I consider them the best hope for evolving the US out of this craziness.

Now on this “binarity”: have you noticed that the media and politicians repeatedly tell us that the world is binary? President Bush once said after 11 Sept. 2001: you are either with the terrorists or with us (I told them sorry I am with neither of you). Two million civilians killed since then and the same politicians and terrorists (both are killers) give us the same choice). They try to convince us that we have one of two choices (third choices or more are discounted). I must vote either for racist madman Trump of egotistical war monger Hilary Clinton who both lick the boots of Zionists and will kill more civilians. There are other choices!. Why can’t I choose to reject both Turkish Ordogan and the plotters of the military coup against him? Edward Said once told us we do not have to choose between a secular corrupt dictatorship and rule by Muslim Brotherhood. I do not have to support Zionism to be for Jewish rights. I do not have to support the Assad regime to be against the Saudi/US/Israel supported “rebel” groups who are nothing more than mercenary terrorists. We have many choices. It is time we exercise them.

Jul 16, 2016

ups and downs

Life in Palestine moves along with its ups and downs, like the tides of the sea. Some days we feel depressed, some days more optimistic. Some of us even feel like manic depressives for the fact that we go through these cycles. The triggers are varied. We get depressed when we heard of the murders of 84 people in Nice by a deranged lunatic. We get uplifted when we hear of how victims’ families, friends, and concerned citizens (of all religions and backgrounds) came together in solidarity. We get depressed for the bombings in Baghdad that killed over 250 innocent civilians (again by deranged lunatics) or of the innocents in Yemen and Syria. We get uplifted watching good citizens rush to help the injured and then take to the streets to demand an end to end the mayhem created by the US, Saudi, and Israeli governments (the real axis of evil here).

We get depressed to hear from friends in Gaza of the continuing hardships and almost impossible life they live under Israeli siege. That siege does not seem to end as the Turkish government “normalized” its relationship with Israel (i.e. went back to being a partner in crime). We get uplifted by the indomitable spirit of resistance of the young people who don’t give up. We hear Bernie Sanders abandon his principles and support Hillary Clinton for President (she is a Zionist war monger and will not be much better than the lunatic Donald Trump). We get uplifted to see many citizens including many of the disgruntled supporters of Sanders move towards voting for the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The Green Party is the only political party in the US which remains consistently anti-war, anti-exploitation, and for peace and justice around the world (including in Palestine with their support of the right of return). But even within the democratic and republican parties voices of reason are raised occasionally against special interests (including of the powerful Israel lobby that has hijacked US foreign policy).

We get depressed when I heard the right wing Israeli government approved a bill that targets human rights activists and appointed a racist to be chief rabbi of the Israeli army. But then we get uplifted seeing more young people refusing to serve/be conscripted in that immoral army.  All of us discover that a person we trusted and helped went on to try to hurt us. But many of us can recall unexpected kindness from strangers. All this can be confusing! Some days I am personally at the brink of despair due to the difficulties we face in trying to build a museum and a botanical garden under a very difficult situation and without support, to recruit volunteers, and to find donors. Working 15-17 hours a day, seven days a week to accomplish what in any other civilized country could be accomplished in half the time can be frustrating. But on these same days or in days before them or after them we feel elated by what is happening. A wave of positive energy seems to descend out of nowhere on some days. Just this week we had groups of visitors and volunteers daily and we had one day in which some 25 students came during their summer camp for an environmental day at the museum. Here they learned some new skills and ideas as they volunteered to work in our botanical garden. One day I learned that one grant was rejected and the next day I learned that one of our research papers was accepted and I learned of two other grant possibilities.

This back and forth continues and it could be just as natural as the cycle of the ocean tides or the rotation of the planets. Maybe expecting life to be good is like expecting the sun up 24 hours! So am are we optimists or pessimists or pessoptimist or realist? Tragedies around us continue. We could choose to isolate ourselves from them for example by going to live in a country with less troubles but in an increasingly globalized world that might be difficult. Even if possible, that life leads to a selfish disconnect from others and a life of pain and guilty conscience. The alternative is what the Buddhists call “joyful participation in the sorrows of this world.” The trick to being content is not to fight the rising tide nor to push against the falling tide but to learn to roll with that tide while also doing your best to stay true to yourself.

See our volunteer video:  https://youtu.be/APxvAZh8qrQ

Jun 26, 2016


I wrote several articles over the past 20 years suggesting for the sake of Europe’s future to develop a more independent foreign policy and end US led NATO’s adventurism whether in Libya or the Ukraine. But looking at the British poll to exit Europe, we cannot just say “we told you so”. We cannot feel happy seeing Europe collapse even though we here in Palestine suffered and continue to suffer from European colonization (yes Zionism that created Israel is European colonization).

This vote was focused mainly on fear of immigration (not economy as many expected) and this epidemic of fear of the brown people is afflicting the US and Europe and is stoked by Zionist xenophobes. It was not surprising that all of Rupert Murdoch’s vast media empire peddled for Brexit (British exit). The stock markets collapsed, gold prices surged, and there is a general panic as the rich bankers who control/issue the money do not know what to do. The US Federal Reserve is panicking because interest rates are already so low and can’t be lowered so much further to “simulate the economy.” The economy is bad in Europe and the US because it is a war economy. For example, some three trillions were spend on the Iraq war (for Israel).  These wars to fragment the Arab world even further than what Sykes-Picot created in 1916 (100 years ago) are backfiring and are the real cause of the calamity in Europe (epitomized by what they call a refugee crisis and economic stress). Perhaps the chickens are coming home to roost? In the US a similar pop culture promoted by Hollywood and other media peddled xenophobic islamophobia to serve Israel, peddled endless wars (divide and conquer), and peddled a diversionary silly culture to draw attention away from the major challenges to a livable world (especially climate change). These Zionists challenged the principled BDS campaign hypocritically crying “anti-semitism” while peddling Islamophobia. The witch hunts in 2016 are reminiscent of the 1950s McCarthy communist scare.  We were thus not surprised that this same Zionist controlled media repackaged the Florida shooter as a “Muslim terrorist” but Madeen was clearly a lunatic gay guy who drank heavily and frequented gay bars regularly and was psychotically depressed for rejection. Without understanding this massive media campaign we cannot explain the popularity in oppressive societies of people like Avigdor Lieberman (“Israel”), Donald Trump (USA), and Boris Johnson (England). The fact that they all support Zionism should give us a hint.

What is clear is that people need to worry about the future of the so called “Western Civilization” as it is clearly in decline. When asked about Western Civilization, Mahatma Gandhi was reputed to have said “I think it would be a good idea”! Many people especially the majority of the globe that is not “white” are worried about this civilization. Wring in the Guardian, Lola Okolosie said “ The paradox of this referendum has been that those who have experienced the highest levels of migration turned out to be the least concerned about it. Fear of the unknown often underlines bigotry and xenophobia. We know that.” Her article makes more interesting points and is worth reading

Europe went through the Middle Ages for ten centuries (medieval period), a period not much different from the disarray and religious fervor gripping the Arab world today. Europe paid a heavy price for the transition from these dark ages to the renaissance and then they had the set-backs of colonialism and nationalism (including WW1 and WW2). I am hopeful that Europe will not slip back and its people learned from the past.  Now the focus is on the Arab world to finally rise out of the disarray and weakness into an era of science and technology and knowledge based decision making (our own renaissance) and this is inevitable. But then in 100 years (if climate change has not killed us all), we hope we will not be back into the colonial or nationalist mentality whether here or in Europe. Zionist colonialism like all other colonialism is already struggling to stay alive in a sea of native rejection in the 21st century. There is so much we can learn from history of Europe and we must all consider it our human history. Humanity is evolving and we must work together to make sure it evolves in a good sustainable direction.

Good news according to a friend (Mai): "Two years ago, Presbyterians passed divestment by a razor thin margin of just 7 votes. This year, they moved boldly forward with huge majority votes on further strong measures. Meanwhile, the Unitarians achieved a majority on their first attempt at divestment (remember, the Presbyterians took 10 years!)...In addition, Re/Max issued a statement to the Presbyterians prior to their Re/Max vote (which passed) that they will no longer profit from Israel's illegal settlements properties- see links below”

Jun 22, 2016


On a lengthy trip (due to checkpoints and alternate roads under occupation) to Ramallah, we had a chance to think and discuss issues like human condition and motivations. Three of us from the Palestine Museum of Natural History were on the way to meet with an official of the UN Development Program and with leadership of an active NGO working on agriculture and the environment. Having a very busy life working 16 hours a day seven days a week basically leaves us little time for reflection.  Back in Bethlehem, I decided to take a bit more time last evening to do more reflection and share some thoughts especially on the state of our world and our role in it. I am sure all of us considered these same issues. There is unprecedented connectivity and access to information and we have richness of nature and enough resources to give everyone on this planet a comfortable life. Yet, we have over 1 billion people living in poverty. Hundreds of millions go hungry. There are murders, terrorism, war, and all other human cruelty to other humans (and to animals and to nature). There is a deterioration of quality of politicians and proportional increase in governmental lies. The global environment is at the breaking point (climate change etc.).  The rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer. In this man made mayhem, it is not too difficult to understand why cynical right wing politicians can rally people based on “safety/security” concerns (the most powerful human emotion of fear). A friend of mine from a developed country noted that “ We'd better figure out ways to spread some equity around if we want to go on living in a society that is at least semifunctional. .” But the devil is in the detail. We should take the time to think of what world we want and how do we get there.

I am sure that all people like me somehow dream of a better world. If I was a child and drew it, I would draw it as a natural world, beaches, streams, beautiful trees,colorful animals running around, children playing and living in harmony with this “natural ecosystem”. Envisioning such a world of harmony, bliss and happiness is not a utopian silly dream. But not achievting it soon should not be an impediment to (re)thinking our own role in this. First we do need to understand human needs and motivations. The US psychologist Abraham Maslow  proposed that there is a hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation". We can think of this is a pyramid with these needs from bottom to top of pyramid: physiological needs (food, drink, sex etc), safety, love/belonging, esteem/recognition, and finally self-actualization. Today most people especially in underdeveloped and developing countries are actually at that bottom rung in the pyramid. We in Palestine do not have too many answers since most of our people are still at that subsistence level. It is irritating to see the elites (including Palestinian and Israelis) who have their basic needs met refuse to rise to higher levels and get motivated to do something different to make this a better world. At least they should/could follow Howard Zinn’s advise and get off the train (His book “you can’t be neutral on a moving train” ). By not being part of the problem, humans at least open the possibility of being part of the solution. The next step is of course “trouble-making”: stirring the stagnant waters so to speak.  One of the inspiring groups I know that does this is CodePink whose members put themselves in places challenging political elites and  challenging hypocrisy. The third stage of this process is to envision the alternative and build it. Many people do a great job at separating them-selves from the oppressive and apathetic hords and challenging the oppression. But few go to that third level of building and thus self-actualizing. I ended my book “Sharing the Land of Canaan” (published 2004) with this:

Breaking through the conundrums humans have created is not easy.  It will require transcending a part of our selves that may seem familiar and reassuring.  Learning to live together, while initially uncomfortable, can lead to a new way of thinking.  Joseph Campbell wrote in 1968:  "Today, the walls and towers of the culture-world that then were in the building are dissolving ... But of course, on the other hand, for those who can still contrive to live within the fold of a traditional mythology of some kind, protection is still afforded against the dangers of an individual life; and for many the possibility of adhering in this way to established formulas is a birthright they rightly cherish, since it will contribute meaning and nobility to their unadventured lives, ... and to those for whom such protection seems a prospect worthy of all sacrifice, and orthodox mythology will afford both the patterns and the sentiments of a lifetime of good repute. However, by those to whom such living would be not life, but anticipated death, the circumvallating mountains that to others appear to be of stone are recognized as of the mist of dream, and precisely between their God and Devil, heaven and hell, white and black, the man of heart walks through.  Out beyond those walls, in the uncharted forest night, where the terrible wind of God blows directly on the questing undefended soul, tangled ways may lead to madness. They may also lead, however, as one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages tells, to 'all those things that go to make heaven and earth.' "(Campbell, Joseph.  1968. The Masks of God: Creative Mythology. Viking Penguin Inc., New York, p. 37.)

It is indeed a journey of awakening at the individual level that is not only spiritual, but also require concrete action to bring true peace and justice to fruition. We Canaanites, who invented the alphabet, domesticated animals and developed agriculture, and made this arid land into a land of milk and honey, surely can do this. An Arab poet wrote "Itha Asha3bu yawman Arad al-7ayata fala budda an Yastijeeb al-qadar. Wala budda lillayal an Yanjaili wala budda li-thulm an yankasir." Roughly translated, it means: If the people one day strive for life, then ultimately destiny will respond and the night will give way and the injustice will be broken. The path to peace is not served by the creation of more states or unjust "fixes" to perceived demographic "problems."  It has to do with justice and implementation of human rights and international law. It requires grass root action to accelerate its arrival but it is the only solution possible in the long term.  We can either remain locked in our old mythological and tribal ways or we can envision a better future and work for it.  The choice is obvious.

But much more needs to be thought of and said and acted upon in these areas. It is after all this search for a meaning of live and our role in it that is at the heart of what makes us human. Let us all resolve to take less time on things like facebook and more time to really look and act deeper. I for one hope to spend more time with intelligent thoughtful people thinking more collectively of these things and acting on them.

A Museum and Institute of Sustainability and Biodiversity at Bethlehem University

Feb 19, 2016


“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust

I am so grateful for all that is happening in resistance to the incredible odds and repression practiced by the elites in power. While some may get activism or compassion “fatigue” , there are literally millions of people deciding to leave their apathy behind and put their hands with other people to work.  Our tiny little small part of the world (Palestine now an apartheid sate called a “Jewish state”) has become a major center of global activism. This centrality can be due to many factors:

1.Religious centrality to three main religions, one of which was hijacked for political purposes locally in the past (Christianity --> Crusaderism), the other hijacked in the past 150 years and is still strongly hijacked (Judaism -->Zionism) and the other more recently and in nearby areas beginning to be hijacked (Islam --> Isis and Wahhabism).

2. Nowhere else on earth is Western government hypocrisy more evident than in Palestine. While the western leaders speak of democracy and human rights, they support an apartheid racist “Jewish state” that engaged and engages in racism, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing (so far 7 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people). Thus, this is the Achilles heel of Western propaganda.

3. The 12 million Palestinians in the world, most refugees and others squeezed into bantustans have been remarkably peaceful and tolerant and had a long history of popular resistance for the past 130 years that provided a stellar example to the world (see my 2012 book “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of hope and empowerment”).

4. Israeli citizens and the global community are increasingly joining hands with us to demand justice as the only road to peace.

5. More and more people realize that peace in the “Middle East” (Western Asia) and around the world is dependent on peace for Palestine. Zionism with its (sometimes dominant, sometimes subservient) twin US imperialism are and have been most destructive forces in causing global conflict.

But what really gives us optimism daily are the people we interact with. Students at the universities who see the importance of knowledge (power) and come to school with enthusiasm even in the face of suppression of their movement. Farmers that work hard in their fields even as land and water are being taken from them by the occupiers. Unarmed young demonstrators showing bravery in challenging the heavily armed Israeli forces (who occasionally murder them). Thousands of political prisoners and “administrative detainees” who resist the prisoners (one on hunger strike is close to death). Activists who sometimes sacrifice comforts to be with us. Organizers of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities around the world who refuse to be silenced by illegal measures their governments try to impose on them to suppress free speech. Volunteers at our activities from refugee camp youth centers like Al-Rowwad to our Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (http://www.palestinenature.org/about-us/ ).

Sometimes small actions make us retain our sanity. Just this past week:
- A small village of Izbet al-Tabib managed to gather 300 demonstrators protesting the illegal confiscation of land and resources to serve settlers.
-We saved a cattle egret (bird with long legs and beak from the heron group) which had been shot and with a macerated wing. We did an operation that saved its life (unfortunately the wing had to be amputated).
-We released a fox that was drowning in a water treatment pool in the Bethlehem garbage dump site.
- My tourism class did an exercise to help in a local tourism promotion project.
-We noted several species of butterflies in our botanic garden already and the flowers of rare orchids and even the Star of Bethlehem
-We had our first class in biodiversity for the new master program in environmental biology at Birzeit University.
-We received dozens of visitors to our facilities and added to our very large network of friends (now tens of thousands)
-We submitted two small grant proposals (we hope to start to do major fundraising soon for our museum, botanical garden, and institute of biodiversity and sustainability)
-Our aquaponic system is doing great and we expect our first harvest next week (lettuce)
- We said goodbye to some volunteers and we welcomed others who helped us build this institution.

We expect to receive more volunteers next week including a professor from Jordan and an aquaponics researcher from Switzerland and at least 10 students from Bethlehem University doing their community service. We are so grateful for all the above and we welcome volunteers and supporters with all backgrounds and skills. We are guided by love and respect (to ourselves, to others, then to nature). We are strengthened amid all the suffering (here in Gaza, in Syria, in Yemen etc) by human connections and by caring for each other.

Israeli soldiers beat detained Palestinian teenaged boys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzw2D5iL0bg

Palestinian Teacher Among World’s Top 10 http://www.palestinechronicle.com/palestinian-teacher-among-worlds-top-10/

Reconstruction Of Gaza: Zero Buildings, Massive Profit

Should Jews Have To Pay Reparations for Slavery? Richard Kreitner

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” Alphonse Karr

Stay human

Feb 14, 2016

Biodiversity and terrorism

Hizma flying checkpoint

(also see ACTIONS below)

I was with two of my students and an International visitor heading to Birzeit for our first class in biodiversity this semester on Saturday when we got selected for search at an Israeli “flying checkpoint”.  There are hundreds of fixed checkpoints inside the illegally occupied West Bank, most are between one Palestinian area and another and not on the “Green line” but we also have to face the “flying checkpoints” which literally can be anywhere and anytime.  In this case a long line of cars were held at Hizma.  When it was our turn, a young Israeli younger than my son told me to stop.  I said can I pull to the side to let other cars pass.  He said no.  There were several of them young recruits dressed in police uniforms and in army uniforms.   In the occupied territories the two services are indistinguishable and operate as one fascist occupation force.  Another Israeli was nearby so I said why can’t I pull to the side.  He turned over to his commanding officer who nodded his agreement.  Then the officer asked me to pull onto the circle in the middle of the road.  They asked for all our ID cards and handed them to another person who went to check them via his computer.  Then they demanded each of us get out of the car in turns.  My students in the back first, then the international visitor, then me.  Some of the uniformed occupiers pointed their guns at us while others demanded we empty all our pockets and frisked us.

They searched the car and they flipped through the camera memory to see all our pictures. They were saying things in Hebrew and I was telling them repeatedly we do not speak Hebrew and that we can speak in English or Arabic to them.  I think they all understood English and at least two showed they understood Arabic after persistence from us.  I repeatedly asked in Arabic and in English why we were picked on.  One occupier said it is because he liked the shape of my car!  When I turned to a female soldier and asked her the same question and adding “are we living in a fascist state,” she merely shrugged her shoulders and said “he liked your car”.  They did not smile but I did, which seemed to irritate them.  Ryan was asked if he smokes anything and why is he here.  Then they asked him “do you like Palestinians,” to which he answered “I like all people!”  After delaying us for half an hour, they handed our ID cards to the international visitor and let us go.  For me, I was used to this.  One of my students (also a museum employee) is from an isolated village of Nahhalin which is frequently closed off has also been frisked and checked many times in the past.  His village was closed in the last three days and he sleeps in Bethlehem instead.  My other student (also a museum employee) and the international visitor had never experienced such harassment.  We joked later that this was a “good taste” of colonial occupation for them.

We discussed how these are really mild experiences compared to others.  For example, for the first five weeks of 2016, Israel demolished an average of 30 Palestinian structures weekly, displacing an average of 66 persons a week (this is three times the weekly average than that in 2015).  Palestinian young people as young as 12 continue to be murdered by Israeli occupation forces almost every other day.  Israeli soldiers carry knives in their backpacks to plant as "evidence" against many Palestinians they murder.  But there is growing Palestinian desperation.  Israeli occupation forces currently hold hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners without charge ("administrative detentions".)  At least one of those who has been held for nearly three months is on hunger strike (taking only water and salt.)  He will likely die in the next couple of days if Israel does not release him (Mohammad Al-Qeeq).  The Israeli Knesset continues to add racist laws to an already long list of racist laws (over 50) that discriminate against non-Jewish "nominal citizens". This is not counting hundreds of military orders that discriminate against us who are not considered "nominal citizens" in our own country occupied by individuals with a superiority-inferiority complex gathered from around he world under the banner of Zionism.

Gaza's situation is far worse than the West Bank and Gaza prisoners get no family visits and the Strip is besieged and starved of basic supplies.  Most of the tunnels that "smuggled" humanitarian supplies have been destroyed.  A slip of the tongue by Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed that Egypt’s new policy of flooding the tunnels between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula with seawater had come at Israel’s request.  The promise of rebuilding after Israel's last genocidal attack on Gaza never materialized.  We shudder to think that it is again time for Israel to test new weapons on the Gaza "laboratory". Israel's largest "export" is weapons-related technology, and Israeli leaders have to "test" their weapons on the nearly two million captives in the open air prison called Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile Fatah and later Hamas have taken the bait/infection of "Oslo process" believing it is possible to have an authority under occupation.  Here in teh West Bank many good Fatah leaders admit to us privately that they do not support the president whose erm expired years ago and who firest anyone who criticizes him. Yet he takes unilateral decisions to join the despots in "Saudi Arabia" and his speeches are frequently dotted with statements like "we have our hands stretched for peace.. we stop any armed resistance..we arrest activists... we believe only in peaceful demonstrations...ask [beg] the US and International community to exercise its responsibilities .. etc".  Contrast this with what Ho Chi Minh once said: “Viet Nam has the right to enjoy freedom and independence and in fact has become a free and independent country. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their freedom and independence.”  Or what Martin Luther King Jr said from Birmingham jail: "I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate...who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a 'more convenient season.'" Or even what Yasser Arafat said during the siege in Beirut or when Israel was pounding his last two rooms in his Ramallah headquarters "we will have freedom or die as martyrs".

It is hard to cope with political leaders who do not seem to push strong enough but it is harder to deal state terrorism (which is far more devastating than individual terrorism). I (almost) retain sanity by staying busy (teaching plus other volunteer jobs including directing the Palestine Museum of Natural History, clinical laboratory work, writing, lecturing on Palestine, visitor guiding, research, and more.)  Birzeit University where I teach (more coach) a Biodiversity course is a beautiful campus with great students and faculty.  Before class, and having been delayed at the flying checkpoint, my two students had to rush to finish their work on “fruit flies/Drosophila”.  Spring is here and he gardens are blooming. The smell of freshly dug air mixes with the smell of almond blossoms. Good people and good food ameliorate life under occupation.  It helps to have a larger cause than one self.  Like MLK Jr and Steven Biko and Malcolm X, we are some times bewildered by the people around (including internationals and Palestinians) who show signs of "mental occupation" or are simply apathetic. But I would like to focus on those who have freed their minds and are helping others do the same.  There are literally millions of points of light out there.  We do not "win" over the darkness but it is those lights that make life meaningful. My own students (at Bethlehem Bible College, Birziet, and Bethlehem University) are also lights. For all those points of light we say thank you.  

Here are a few lights expressing via writing "We are not just numbers" http://www.wearenotnumbers.org/

And here is a timeline of positive actions using boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) done in 2015 as examples of points of light http://bdsmovement.net/2015/bds-full-2015-round-up-13628

Having humility to recognize all these lights can help us amplify our own small light.

If you want to help in lighting our small candle locally, please see this

Photoassay of colonialism

ACTION: The UK and US government are introducing new rules that would prevent local councils from supporting BDS. 
If you live in the UK, please take action to stop the government doing this. 
In the US, please write your representative

Jan 30, 2016

Advise to Palestinians

I posed the question to readers a while ago as we moved from 2015 to 2016: "What would YOU advise Palestinian to do? I am genuinely curious as to how many of my readers have constructive advice based on what they know of geostrategic structures, capabilities etc." I received dozens of answers including some really very insightful commentary. Every Palestinian should read at least these 26 sample responses [now over 60] from smart activists: 

"I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free... I will always work for human rights for all people.” ― Rosa Parks
Let this quote be your guidepost and maybe the truth will set you free.
in a nutshell - Oslo is a Zombie. i.e. it is long dead but still walking. so, the obvious thing to do is simply to bury it. Close down the masrahiyeh. Bold steps are needed. The very best, in my view, would be to close down the Sulta once and for all. The only option that, I believe, threatens Israel's delicately balanced "stability and normality" of the occupation. It is a bold and stark step back in some ways, so Palestinian leadership would need to open up a true discussion and get consent from the people for this step. No more acting on behalf..If less dramatic steps would turn out to represent what an informed Palestinian public truly wishes, then aim for less. But surely no more "extend & pretend" (Varoufakis) that currently we would still be walking down a path towards "statehood" (sovereignty, let alone freedom or justice)
The leadership seems inclined not to ask and not to discuss and not to change course. So, then - just like everywhere else in the world - it becomes the people's obligation to form a will and impose it on the leadership......an organized campaign for this tricky task to from a will, certainly requires not only mass participation but also (new or revived) organisations..
I believe that while Israel holds the (earthly) power, Palestinians hold the key (pun intentional). Israel has taken the position that it is interested only in solving (or "managing") the situation so as to serve its own people's interests. This is so entrenched and understood that no one even mentions or considers it, but it leaves Israel tremendously vulnerable. "Interbeing" is the reality of our existence, period. We are all one. That the stronger regime refuses to acknowledge it, does not make it be not so. I believe that to counter that, Palestinians might (could, should, must?) take the position that they are interested in solving the situation so as to serve the interests of all concerned -- not least because that is by far the surest way of serving your (their) own interests.
To date there has been some writing published in this vein: While we get free, we'll free you of your guilt/shame/burden/shadow etc. But I think a lot more can be done in this direction. From the soil of Palestinian suffering and sumud can come the flowering of a new way of co-resolving our situation. It has to start somewhere. Why not in Bethlehem? (Good vibes...)
Surely to change the narrative, to have many Palestinians to dedicate efforts to that aim toward both the west and the arab countries (and this last is a full other chapter, of which I know too little to dare to say much more than ..I believe there is tearing inside, a great pain and questioning, and at the same time anger for those that are muslims and a great difficulty also for all minorities in beliefs. But there is also an incredible social tension around corruption justice and freedom, and because of the extreme poverty of the majority in some countries, first of all egypt, there is also a request for social improvements if not yet justice.
I firmly believe that the answers to overcome the conflict have to come from the inside of the Palestinian society (meaning Gaza, West Bank, '48, refugees...), an agreement on the strategy to follow in order to prepare a better future for the Palestinians, but including a broad consensus on what Palestinians want. What I would advise to the Palestinian leaders is to try to get leverage on Israel and US through the BDS campaign to change the conflict. I think that the global solidarity movement with Palestine keeps growing and it could turn the BDS campaign in a powerful tool to transform the conflict. So the Palestinian leaders should be closer to the campaign and coordinate their actions with the campaign. It this way, Palestinians would benefit from the advances of the campaign in form of political power in front of Israel.
I have long despaired of the way the Palestinian leadership fails to use the media in terms of presenting in a professional way the issues facing Palestine to those of us in the West. There must be western educated Palestinians who could do this and challenge the slick media trained people the Israeli government is able to use. So my first suggestion is to recruit suitable people to carry out this task. Secondly I suggest that using such people, the leadership should issue a plea to the international community for protection of Palestinians, particularly those living in Area C. This protection could be in the form of a UN/EU sponsored multi-national civil force which would be tasked with the protection of civilians in Area C and, with a development fund provided by international donors, help Palestinians to reverse the damage done by Israeli policies and enable economic development. The plea could perhaps begin with this: “ Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy”, a report published by the World Bank in 2013, has shown that more than half the land in the West Bank, much of it agricultural and resource rich, is inaccessible to Palestinians. The result, according to the Bank, is a disastrous loss to the Palestinian economy of about US$3.4 billion. It goes on to say that if businesses and farms were permitted to develop in Area C, this would add as much as 35 percent to the Palestinian GDP. Development would in the long term reduce dependency on foreign aid. It could continue with a clear explanation of how Israeli policies have affected Area C.
If, and I know this is a big IF, everyone who feels the way we do would write to newspapers, legislators, church leaders and keep on writing, often and loudly, perhaps we could finally generate enough noise to wake folks up to the point that their very own tax dollars are in part responsible for the outrage. It seems like such a small thing to do, but as little people in a community, we need to combine our little voices to become one big one. Some churches are quite active, but church membership these days seems to be waning sadly. I hope that someone comes up with a great idea for better ways than this to get the word out and creaet the changes that are necessary. I'll be reading every word you print, hoping for a breakthrough.
I believe that it might be useful to hold a referendum of Palestinian opinion concerning the single-state/two-state alternatives and proceed from there. With a Palestinian state acceptable to Israel, it is certain that the Palestinian people would be allowed no sovereignty over their airspace or coastal waters nor would they be permitted any defence capability. Likewise, control of precious water and other resources would be much more in the hands of the more powerful Zionist state than could ever be exercised by what would inevitably be a vassal state of Palestine. In 1947/1948 Palestine was already too small to partition and today further division of the decimated non-contiguous and pathetically tiny remnant is unconscionable. There are Israelis who advocate a single-state solution, probably one of the best known of them is, of course, Miko Peled. There needs to be a worldwide single-state movement developed along the lines of BDS and, it is to be hoped, operating in parallel with it. But that's just my opinion!
I greatly respect the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa, which has been copied in several other countries. It's not perfect, although there's no perfect means of dealing with fascism, genocide, etc. ……With Israel and Palestine, some one is going to have to be the last victim, unavenged, if there's ever going to be peace……Of course, an effective Truth and Reconciliation process would need more than apologies and admissions, the living conditions and structural arrangements would have to change. Merely saying "sorry" while continuing occupation is not tenable. In the long run, the occupation is dependent on concentrated fossil fuels, as the oil declines so will the ability of high tech militaries to function.
We can and must imagine a different future where Israelis and Palestinians work together to produce a unique experiment in democracy in the region. Here again I fully concur with Ian Lustick who says: “ In such a radically new environment, secular Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank could ally with Tel Aviv’s post-Zionists, non-Jewish speaking Russian-speaking immigrants, foreign workers and global-village Israeli entrepreneurs. Anti-nationalist ultra-Orthodox Jews might find common cause with Muslim traditionalists. Untethered to statist Zionism in a rapidly changing Middle East, Israelis whose families come from Arab countries might find new reasons to think of themselves not as “Eastern,” but as Arab. Masses of downtrodden and exploited Muslim and Arab refugees, in Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel itself could see democracy, not Islam, as the solution for translating what they have (numbers) into what they want (rights and resources). Israeli Jews committed above all to settling throughout the Greater Land of Israel may find arrangements based on a confederation, or a regional formula more attractive than narrow Israeli nationalism.”……
Palestinians must demand their freedom themselves. BDS is improving the understanding and acceptance of the Palestinian position in European states, and even in the United States. But BDS is not enough because it is something done by Europeans and Americans. BDS is not a Palestinian activity. BDS will not be enough. Palestinians must demand their freedom with continuous, massive, non-violent protests. Israel will violently attempt to suppress these demonstrations. But the Palestinians must keep coming. Imagine if 100,000 Palestinians marched from Ramallah to the Qualendia crossing on Friday morning and demanded to go to the Al-Aqsa mosque to pray
….In the Year 2027 Israel will be a state of Zealots, and all Secular Jews will be mainly in Central Germany (3rd Israel). I can guest, the end of "The Glorious Israel" in the Kingdoms of David and Solomon! Until now Israel had succeeded in beating us because we were unarmed and weak. …..Now they have realized that we can hit back hard, and the fun of the game is over! Conclusion: all what you have mentioned is the reality, but I add : The "Homo sapiens" is the biggest blunder the Evolution had ever made! Our wonderful planet would have been much better-off if the Evolution would have stopped by the Chimpanzee, Gorilla and Orang-utan! I do still believe that Palestine will be ours, sooner or later - perhaps not in my life time!...............
Rudyard Kipling’s first 4 verses
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools

Restiamo humani!
I believe that a Third World War has already began - a war against the people constituting a crime against humanity. We may not be dying in the UK , as people are in Palestine, Syria, Eastern Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan. Kurdistan, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, Somalia....., the list goes on, but as we see our freedoms eroded and our government representing, not us, but an entitled elite which encompasses a Zionist/ fascist ideology, I fear for our future.., I fear for the future of our children and grandchildren. Mazin, you are most definitely on the front line, but you are not alone. All of humanity is being threatened. Our strength comes from our numbers and from the rightness of our cause. I once heard a refugee say that we needed to create a global chain, then rattle it so that the din we create is so loud that those at the top of the pyramid will shake with fear. Maybe the vibration of our angst will shake them from their perch so that they tumble down and join us in our humanity.
What I would advise the Palestinian leadership to do is to assemble the best legal team and move in a determined fashion (no backsliding under pressure) to put the settlement issue before the ICC. I read that they now say they will consider doing this - but there can be no backing down! Unlike Israel's aggression against Gaza - where the court can say that it cannot get involved because Israel is conducting its own investigations - it is difficult to see how the ICC can fail to rule that the settlements are
illegal under international law. This would put a major spoke in Israel's wheels and could thwart its most frenzied efforts in the hasbara department. If not now, when?
Palestinians should [take away fear of violence from Israelis and ] make it clear that they are not all Muslims and that Zionism is in process of destroying what is left of Middle Eastern Christianity. They should never cease to remind the world that the Jewish and Christian communities survived and thrived through more than 13 centuries of Muslim rule and that the greatest danger they faced was from the Crusades.
Palestine should first get sufficient strength, before engaging with Israel, otherwise there is no use of getting killed many people. Your museum project is nice, educate the people through it.
I can only say or suggest what might affect us to better help you to work out your own solution. But I know that right will win in the end whichever way it turns out - one state or two. Restiamo humani and hope springs eternal. I send this brief paragraph to you in all humility and with our continuing prayers for peace and reconciliation between all faiths and creeds. I read this little excerpt today that I thought you would appreciate. It is a short thought provoking quotation from an Red Indian chief called John (Fire) Lame Deer Sioux Lakota: “Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore, among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent, or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to civilized property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.” which all goes to show that all that glitters is not gold or put it another way that money and materialism doth not make the man.
I am surprised at your optimism about PA figures wanting to do something new, at least I think that is what you are saying. I would be very cynical about that. Maybe you were saying rank and file Palestinian leaders like you. What is required to build a mass movement is to break the law, which I doubt anyone in authority, even PA "authority"' is prepared to do. No doubt very many Palestinians and some Israelis are ready to do something, but it must be under leadership that is not tied to the politicians and capitalists who are currently in charge. I liked your suggestion of mass uprisings against the wall as one tactic, or check points, and some Israelis would join. Bet the folks in Budrus would too. If it is like here, the reason things changed in Ferguson was because the young people refused to listen to the misleaders like Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or the local clergy who told them to be peaceful and rely on the courts or voting. Once they began and continued a mass militant movement it sparked the frustrations everywhere. Now the task is to maintain the movement without it getting sucked back into the system, which will probably not succeed at this time except with small groups. So that's the task as I see it, build militancy while ingraining the goal of an anti-racist, non-capitalist society. A long, arduous, but necessary task. Anxious to hear how you do.
I recommend focusing on one and only one message to all audiences, that all people (Jewish or Israeli or German or American or French, etc, depending on who you are talking to) are good people who agree that-- while Jews have suffered from persecution throughout history-- it would be wrong to expel peaceful non-Jewish families from their homes to create a state run by and for Jewish people. It is wrong to mistreat anyone, whether Jewish or not Jewish; that was the lesson of the Holocaust. All Palestinians refugee men, women and children must be allowed-- encouraged-- to return to their homes immediately to live in peace and equality alongside Jewish families. Nothing more, nothing less.
I agree that having Palestinian leaders shift all emphasis to the creation of a workable one state solution that respects diversity and human rights of all citizens would seem more viable to sway popular opinion in Canada or the US in favour of.
I do not believe that Israel will ever give up the West Bank or Jerusalem (or the Golan). I feel that the Israeli plan, with the cooperation of the puppet PA, is to allow for the creation of a Bantustan style of Palestinian state in small parts of the West Bank. As part of this action, the Zionists will do a "land for peace" deal and will transfer a bit of Israeli land, along with most of Israel's Palestinian-Israeli citizens, into this Palestinian statelet, and of course, Israel will transfer all of the settlements (colonies) into Israel. By using fascistic laws on the few remaining Palestinian-Israeli citizens, they will control and or drive them out, and so keep Israel as a racist state for many many generations to come. As such, I feel that the only hope for the Palestinians is to dissolve the PA, and legally hand complete authority for the West Bank and Jerusalem back to the Israelis (the Zionists), and turn it all back into "occupied territory and people" as per international law. Then, the Israelis will either be forced to incorporate the West Bank and Jerusalem, and it's Palestinian citizens, into Israel, which in the long term would mean Israel would become a majority Arab state, or they will have to ignore any semblance legality, and unilaterally transfer (drive) the Palestinians out of Palestine (and Israel) and seize their land. The key will be whether Palestinians will be able to wrestle control of the PLO/PA away from Abbas and the other puppets, before they sign a sell-out agreement with the Zionists. Sadly I think Gaza will continue to be cut off from Israel and the West Bank, but will hopefully be left in relative peace someday soon, especially once it's marine border is opened. Perhaps someday in the distant future, Gaza will be able to join a truly democratic and majority Palestinian controlled Israel, but that would be a very long ways down the road.
I think that Muslims need to make museums everywhere they can in the Western World to show what is happening in the Middle East and specifically Palestine. I suggest that they construct museums next to Mosques in the United States, Canada and Europe for starters. One of the big problems that the Palestinians have is that the Jews around the world are very good at keeping the world from finding out what is really happening in Palestine and to Palestinians everywhere. Also, they say that the people united will never be defeated. I believe this is true. What would Israel do if all the men in an area marched toward a check point to take it over or destroy it? Would they Jews attack the check point? Just suggesting a possibility. What would they do if all the people in a village tried to tear down a fence or barrier? There is also silent and peaceful resistance to policies you don't like.
1. The PLO should declare the Oslo Accords are dead.
2. The Palestinian Authority should dissolve itself since
a. It never had any authority
b. It relieved Israel from the costs of administering the occupied West Bank
c. It was at the mercy of its funders, the US and its allies, who continually threatened to withhold funding if it didn’t toe the line
d. Is guilty of spending 21 years in futile negotiations while Israel move 650 thousand colonists into the West Bank
3. People should be mobilized to engage in peaceful resistance
4. Reach out to the 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel
5. Emphasize the unity of the struggle of the 6 million Palestinians in occupied Palestine: those in the West Bank, Gaza and Palestine 1948 by calling for a non-sectarian state in Palestine
6. Promoting the goals of BDS (ending the occupation, equality for all and the return of the refugees) in all Arab and international forums through solidarity groups
I am distressed by growing anti-Arab Islamaphobia, which only makes a reasoned approach to settling the Palestinian Question even more difficult. Humbly, I suggest to my Palestinian brothers & sisters to stay the course of an intellectually based legal and ethical presentation of the inescapable merits of advocating for a fair & just Palestinian homeland. Few can argue with an ethical quest for national liberation…..as we all, at some time were part of such a process. I am heartened by both the swelling global support for Palestinian rights/justice (albeit small) AND the foibles of the Israeli government….plus the right-wing settler movement showing its true colors of racist hatred & violence. Sadly we watch the cognitive dissonance of so many settlers allow the committing of crimes once ascribed to the former torturers of Jews. As much as it pains me to see this…..it does have the predictable effect of reflecting a comparatively more flattering light upon the mainstream Palestinians who simply want the American/English/French/German/etc dream of autonomy, 2 flat screen TVs and a car in the garage. Do not squander this opportunity to show yourselves as the humans I know so well. Do not allow the marginal minority to spoil the soup. Secure your alliances with similar movements which already have support in their respective countries.
My suggestion is to insist on culture and literature meeting and knowledge also like your life project reserve the nature of Palestine Land. Making weekly meetings under the name of Literature and Culture will help build one opinion and education and preparation for new generation with one and unified opinion and understanding for what we need and lack. Palestinian people has never been mindly unified or having real real unity for stable future life. Unless the Nakba happened, every city or area were living away from being a one nation. Now they have a vague unity about returning back to Palestine but without any way of planning or thinking how. The unity in mind is very important. So we have to make Cultural Societies in every big and small cities and towns. Then make weekly meetings just to talk or read poetry or speakers or lecturing and publish the results on internet and may be books distributed free to people and to schools and universities. We need college students and professors to participate in the plan. All outsiders will be able to do any favor to Palestine. The Palestinians themselves must do the job and the world will respect and support their deeds and struggle like South Africa. I sill ask or you may know the only people that have no central Cultural Association are the Palestinians. Amazeegh and Kurds and other races are much and better arranged and prepared to self rule or freedom better than us who've been suffering for over a 100 years. It is painful and regret for those who know about the case.
I don't know what the answers are but I think I know WHERE they are. We met with Israeli groups and Palestinian groups as well as groups containing both "sides". Thy had many good ideas, but the Israeli govt opposes them and does not want to give them exposure. If they encouraged them and encouraged press coverage, things could have changed, though it may not be possible since Israeli has confiscated 90% of the land.
Some Palestinian-Americans -- and other advocates of justice for the Palestinians -- should compare (and maybe this has been done often) what the early U.S.-American settlers-colonialists (in expanding their grip
on north American territory) did to the indigenous people. They were placed on reservations, as you know. Howard Zinn wrote about this very forcefully.
Palestinians and Arabs in general are doing so so much already, using direct action to resist, risking their lives on a daily basis, attempting to survive an ongoing genocide by Israel, the West and the Gulf Nations. The burden is not on Palestinians and Arabs. The responsibility should be on people elsewhere of good conscience to use ALL of their privilege to force their governments, military and corporations to end the invasion, the genocide, to end zionism. In the U.S., people, left-wing activists and all, derive immense financial benefits from the ongoing invasion and genocide. People should renounce these benefits, get focused and grounded, and sacrifice their privilege and take nonviolent direct action. The problem with the above is that is what people in the West should do. We're not doing it and it's hard for me to foresee, short of some rare holdouts and martyrs, it happening in my lifetime. Could there be a cataclysm, natural or man-made, that could quickly rewire our colonized brains and launch us into action?
In today's world where communication is everything, the Palestinian struggle needs some "re-packaging" to stimulate a renewal of interest all over the world. BDS has been a very fruitful campaign since 2005 but it's already 10 years old, and it also needs to be "refreshed". The opportunity is coming soon to revisit the message: the year 2017 is a huge historical anniversary, as the 50 year of the occupation but also the 100 year of the Balfour declaration, and the 70 year of the UN partition plan - pointing to the global responsibility, of Israel, of the UK and the Western world, in the whole conflict - so an opportunity for the Palestinian not only to say ENOUGH is ENOUGH but to engage citizens of the world - yes, why not a democratic debate online where everyone can join? - to launch the second century of this Epic Journey, after a first century of tragedy, launching a second century of hope and construction of a future turned towards justice and inclusiveness in the land of Canaan - which by the way is the key question of the 21st century everywhere: how can we learn to live all together in all of our diversity and differences, and how can humankind grow into humanity?
I would be happy to continue this conversation with you at some point
I have just read all the comments and replies right to the end. I found them interesting and helpful when I infrequently come across a vocal Zionist here. I'm not in a position to advise Palestinians. The best I can do is support BDS, call on my local Archbishop to ask the Synod to do the same (which I have done unsuccessfully -- he sits on the fence because he knows the Synod would vote No), write the occasional letter to politicians, and exchange my Free Palestine badge for my Israel Terrorist State badge, which I am about to do now.
It's simple. All Americans have to do it to cut off ALL aid to Israel! However, as you know, that's not simple. But that's what we have to work for...fight, fight, fight for the truth so that we can convince our country to cut off all aid to Israel.
As a non-Palestinian American Jew, I read them, to look for ideas how I can support Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and equality.
For me, it comes to being willing to confront hate and intolerance when I come across it.
האינתיפאדה של הסיכנים לא יכולה לנצח ורק מחזקת את הימין בישראל. יש
להחליפה בהתקוממות עממית נוסח האינתפאדה הראשונה ולסלק את הרשות ולהחליפה
בהנהגה ראויה שאינה משתפית של ישראל
המאבק צריך להיות בעד מדינה אחת דמוקרטית עם שיבת הפליטים תוך מאבק למען
חברה שוויונית ולא קפיטליסטית
By every means possible (non-violent and violent) continue your resistance: Rebellion, national liberation, free Palestine.
this is a fight that in the face of the overwhelming forces against us requires that we follow those possessed by sublime madness, that we become stone catchers and find in acts of rebellion the sparks of life, an intrinsic meaning that lies outside the possibility of success. We must grasp the harshness of reality at the same time as we refuse to allow this reality to paralyze us. (Chris Hedges)
stay human, end Israel, Free Palestine
...This brings us to the crux of the matter. If we look at the power wielded by tribal Jewry in the Western democracies, not only in the English speaking Old Testament besotten cultures, but in France, Germany etc., we are always impressed that a mere 2% of the population, more or less - in some cases considerably less - has managed to wrest de facto control of the political, economic, media and educational spheres. All of this power is focused on fanatical support of the State of Israel. It is not that the majority of Jews wield this sword - most of them just go along to get along, particularly as they are constantly being bombarded with tribal propaganda and it so psychologically satisfying to seem to be, at least, part of an exclusive club. But the small number of wealthy, influential, dedicated Zionist Jews and the rest of the ZPC (Zionist Power Configuration) who actually run the show may finally be losing their grip, albeit just a little bit. The traditional progressivism of young Jews has begun to surface again, and they are flocking to Palestinian support groups and the BDS movement.