Jul 30, 2012

It happened in July

3 July 1919: Syrian Arab Congress (attended by 15 delegates from Palestine) emphasizes Arab Unity and rejection of colonialism.

July 1920: The World Zionist Organization meeting in London establishes a new financial arm to raise money called Keren Hayesod.  Since then donations were collected from Jews around the world to help dispossess the native Palestinians to transform Palestine to a Jewish state.

13-14 July 1922: General strike throughout Palestine opposing the British occupation and the Zionist project.

14 July 1920: France demanded that King Faisal in Damascus end conscription and surrender his garrisons to French troops. He was forced to concede against the wishes of his people, but the French still betrayed him and forced him out of Damascus

24 July 1922: The League of Nations voted to approve the British Mandate of Palestine formalizing complicity of Western powers in the rape of Palestine.

22 July 1946: A Jewish Zionist underground group blow-up the King David hotel in Jerusalem housing also the British civil administration.  The bomb killed 28 British, 41 Christians and Muslim Palestinians, 17 Jewish Palestinians, and 5 others while injuring over 200. This was in a string of terrorist attacks from underground forces whose leaders later became Israeli Prime ministers (Shamir, Begin etc).

9 July 1948: Start of Israeli operations labeled Dani and Dekel that broke the truce and continued the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian villages and towns.

24 July 48: Ijzim massacre by Zionist forces and the ethnic cleansing of the village. http://www.palestineremembered.com/Haifa/Ijzim/ (and click on pictures)

31 July 1951: Israeli High Court of Justice, ordered the Israeli military to allow the villagers of Iqrith to return to their village.  To this day this order has not been implemented because Israel did not want to set a precedent of villagers allowed to return (even if these are technically not refugees).

July 26, 1956: Despite imperialist and Zionist threats, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal.

6 July 1958: Palestinian conferences were held simultaneously in Nazareth and Akka and were attended by about 120 Palestinians (40 others were placed under house arrest, preventing their participation). This heralded the beginning of organized political structures among Palestinians in the 1948 areas after the Nakba.

July 16, 1958: American Marines landed in Lebanon

July 18, 1958:  Iraqi people overthrow the British installed Hashemite dynasty

15 July 1963: General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW) founded in Jerusalem

July 25, 1967: Israel conducts a census of the occupied territories it just conquered (WB, Gaza, Golan, Sinai). All people outside (students studying, those who left because of eh attack, business people, others) are denied return. 300,000 new refugees were thus created to add to millions created earlier.

July 1968: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked an El-Al airplane. The new PLO under leadership of Fatah denounced the action.

 July 11, 1970: Attempted assassination of Dr. Wadi Haddad, PFLP commander in Beirut injring his wife and son.

July 23, 1970: President of Egypt Jamal Abdul Nasser accepted the Rogers proposals for peace in the Middle East.

July 1971: Hashemite monarchy in Jordan drives the last of the Palestinian guerrilla fighters from Jordan and consolidates its grip on power in this country, home to the largest population of Palestinian refugees,

July 1971: The first Socialist Republic was declared in Sudan but quickly crushed by dictators  Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Moamar Qaddafi of Libya.  They restored Numeiry to power and instigated a communist/socialist  witch-hunt in the three countries.

8 July 1972: Famous Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani murdered by an Israeli car bomb in Beirut

30 July 1973 Aref Al-Aref dies. He is a famous Palestinian leader (including mayor of Jerusalem) and intellectual

5 July 1974: Palestinian leader in the 1930s, Haj Amin Al-Hussaini died in Beirut

11 July to 6 August 1975: Hunger strike among Palestinian political prisoners that heralded significant changes and set a precedent for mass protest in Israeli jails; a form of popular unarmed resistance among hundreds of others (see Mazin Qumsiyeh, Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment, Pluto Press, 2011)

July 1977, President Jimmy Carter tried to convince the newly elected Likud leader, Menachem Begin, to freeze settlement activity as part of the peace agreements with Egypt.  Instead, Begin allocated Ariel Sharon to the task of drafting a program for accelerated settlement activity.

31 July 1985: The Israeli Knesset amended the Basic Law on elections by adding that "A list of candidates shall not participate in Knesset elections if any of the following is expressed or implied in its purpose or deeds: 1) Denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, 2) Denial of the democratic character of the State, 3) Incitement to racism".  This effectively bars any party that promotes changing Israel to a secular and democratic state of its citizens from running in the elections.

July 1987: Assassination of cartoonist Naji Al Ali (of Handala fame) in London by the Israeli Mossad.

7 July 1988: First major raid on Beit Sahour because of its tax-revolt during the intifada

30 July 1988: During the peak of the intifada (uprising of 1987-1991), King Hussein of Jordan reluctantly ends the "unity" between Jordan and the West Bank and declares that the PLO is responsible for that territory under Israeli occupation.

14 July 1992: In the New York Times, Yitzhak Shamir, Israeli Prime Minister (and terrorist) states: "The Jewish State cannot exist without a special ideological content.  We cannot exist for long like any other state whose main interests is to insure the welfare of its citizens.

July 2000: Camp David Summit brought on by US President Clinton and Israeli PM Ehud Barak to force Arafat to accept apartheid as a final settlement.

9 July 2004: International Court of Justice rules that the apartheid wall and Jewish settlements inside the West Bank including in Jerusalem are illegal per international law and must be dismantled.

9 July 2005: Palestinian Civil Society Call to Action that includes call for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel

July 2006: Israel war on the civilian population of Lebanon destroying many villages and damaging infrastructure. US vetoes a UNSC resolution to stop the aggression (the sole no vote at the Security Council).

July 2010: Israeli government under Netanyahu orders that archives that were to be declassified after 50 years will remain sealed for another 20 years.  These attempts at hiding dirty secrets including war crimes and crimes against humanity of Israel's formative years continue.

July 2010: Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian village in the Jordan valley (Al-Farasiya), demolish other homes in other towns, and kills and injures many Palestinians in a familiar ritual of occupation and colonization done with western (especially US) support.

July 2012: In pre-election maneuvering, US President Obama and the US congress decides to give more of US taxpayer's money to Israel and his main Republican Challenger declares illegally occupied Jerusalem as "capital of Israel". Both Republican and Democratic parties to receive each >$100 million in donations from Zionists (a cheap investment considering billions that go to Israel yearly). Meanwhile Israeli forces cap the month with more home demolitions and murder of Palestinians.

Jul 27, 2012

650,000 Jewish settlers

More than 15,000 Jewish settlers were added in one year to bring the total  colonial settlers living in the West Bank to 650,000.  Does any one still think a two-state solution is possible?  In parallel, settler violence increased many folds in the past few years (see When settlers attack:  A sobering study of the skyrocketing Jewish colonial settler attacks on native Palestinians http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/32678 ).  Israel is enjoying unprecedented Western government support.  The US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is making his pilgrimage here to pay homage to those who will help elect him.  This has become a ritual among US presidential candidates hoping to live in the White House in Israeli-occupied Washington.  Not to be out-staged, President Obama signed an enhanced "security" arrangement with Apartheid Israel the day before Romney lands here. More tax money is thus diverted to Israel and Israel promoted wars while the USeconomy keeps suffering.  Romney will also meet with Salam Fayyad who seems content to keep repeating that we want a state in 1967 borders (and not mentioning the refugees which is THE central issue) but in his interview with the independent seemed resigned that Palestine is now marginalized.  European and other Western governments hold meetings about Syria and abuses of human rights there (while supporting such abuses both in Syria and elsewhere). No one demanded such meetings about Israel and its abuses (see the recent article by Saul Landau http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/20/does-it-matter-what-israelis-do/) or Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Rohingya or Libya post Qaddafi or others. 

Even when these governments know that there are abuses they continue business as usual.  For example the British government reported widespread abuse of Palestinian Children (http://worldpressnetwork.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18513) but business is business and British officials continue to cooperate economically and in other ways with apartheid.  The European Union leadership considers Jewish colonial settlements to be violations of International law and yet give Israel a most favored nation status and regularly trade! Everyone likes to pretend there are no problems and the status quo can continue.  The monarchies of Arabia (or the gang of kleptocracies) seem content in their dictatorships untouched by the Arab spring and seem happy that they are now using it to their advantage; witness “Saudi” Arabia’s junta dibbing their hands into Syria and claiming they want to promote “democracy.” They seem satisfied.  The Kings of Jordan and Morocco give some power to governments that they hope will absorb public discontent.  The USA supports all these ruling families.  Everyone pretends that the people’s discontent can be absorbed for a long time or manipulated to serve Western and Israeli interests.   Even Hamas and Fatah leadership (though not many of their members) pretend that continuing down the path of the last few years will be OK and are not willing to “rock the boat”.  Many are bidding time and hoping for some outside miracle.  Maybe Obama will be better in his second term.  Maybe the Arab Spring will work in our favor. Maybe this or that will happen.  Meanwhile, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and our mother earth is devastated.

As in all human history, the only positive changes come from citizens finally realizing that they hold power in their hands. Once people realize that tyranny only lasts as long as apathy dominates, that is when revolutionary change happens. We the people, not governments, made history in the past and will make history in the future.  Many ask what common people like us can do about certain issues like the pivotal problem of Palestine.  Here are 64 suggestions for this issue (one for every year of the ongoing Nakba) but many can be equally applicable to environmental issues or to human rights violations in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia: http://qumsiyeh.org/whatyoucando/

Palestinian Investments Require Divestment, Sam Bahour  July 27,12
 Over the years, not only has Israel prohibited the emergence of a new Palestinian economy -- it structurally and systematically has made certain that even the buds of such a productive economy would never see the light of day…. Palestinian civil society and Palestinians -- Christians and Muslims alike -- have urged everyone interested in seeing peace with justice to divest from the occupation.   http://bit.ly/Investments-Require-Divestment

Israel coined the term "Nakba" and is still implementing it by Ilan Pappe http://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-coined-term-nakba-and-still-implementing-it/11518).

(Action) Thirsting for Justice: Join the Campaign for Palestinian Water Rights

With Sudden Greenland Ice Melt, Reiterating Declaration of Planetary Ecological Emergency by Dr. Glen Barry
NASA reported that Satellites see Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Melt

Stay human
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Jul 12, 2012


It is abundantly clear that oppressors spend an inordinate amount of time and resources to dehumanize their victims. But we humans spend an inordinate amount of time also trying to suppress our own humanity.  To dehumanize someone is to deprive them of essential human qualities such as compassion, individuality, love, and social contact.  Making a family line up in the sun for hours to cross a checkpoint is a form of dehumanizing. It is dehumanizing to deny medical care, to destroy means of livelihood, to take someone's land, to put someone in solitary confinement in jail for months and years, or to tell someone that she is not of God's chosen peopel so she has lless rights.

Dehumanizing makes it easier for the colonizers to not feel compassion for their victims as they rob them of their lands and natural resources.  In so doing the occupiers thus also dehumanize themselves because they have to desensitize themselves to human suffering. But the victims themselves can also internalize the dehumanization to think of themselves as somehow unworthy or that their life can only gain meaning if they emulate their oppressors and thus become oppressors themselves.  That is why abused children may sometimes grow up to abuse their own children.  This spiral of dehumanizing can and must be challenged and the obvious way to do it is via our efforts to humanize ourselves and others: show compassion, mercy, love, and connectedness.  The styruggle is mostly inward and it is our own negativism that must be challenged every day, nay every hour. That is the humanizing struggle that is the hardest struggle of all.

Army To Arrest, Deport, Internationals Living In The West Bank

Action: Ask Clinton to Express Opposition to Legalization of Settlements

Action: Vote, like, share (buttons at bottom for facebook, twitter etc)
"They came in the morning" video was born from some of the footage shot over 5 critical years in the life of Bethlehem during the making of upcoming feature film "Operation Bethlehem".

Church of England backs Palestine motion in spite of strong Israel lobby pressure

In BDS milestone, UK supermarket chain to boycott Israel firms doing business with settlements

(important read) The Zionist-Nazi Collaboration by William James Martin, Dissident Voice.

The Ramallah Fiasco Should Never Happen Again

Pro-Divestment Presbyterians Win By Losing

Palestine National Council Registration Campaign

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Jul 7, 2012


I just returned to Palestine after a week giving talks in southern Germany (für einige meiner Schriften in deutscher Sprache sehen http://www.qumsiyeh.org/articlesingerman/ ).  Back in Palestine, there are many stories and interest in new scientific evidence that Yasser Arafat was poisoned and that his death ended the only (remote) possibility of a peace with Israeli leaders.  Germany is so beautiful and so organized and people are extremely hard working.  Everything works on time and quality is paramount: quality of manufacturing, quality of life, quality of education, quality of health care etc.  On the last night in Germany I went to the emergency room at 2 AM because I felt sharp pain in my left shoulder and arm and was not sure what that was.  Fortunately, ultrasound and an EKG assured us it was merely a muscle tear (from carrying luggage).  I had bought some old books and received many other books and reprints from colleagues especially at a museum of Natural History in Munich.  The latter museum contained millions of specimens meticulously cared for.  I am determined to work hard for establishing a Palestinian Museum of Natural History and to work even harder to bring our society along the way in health care and education.  Every room of the 6 patient rooms in the emergency room was fully equipped including with a state of the art EKG machine.  Here in my town of Beit Sahour we would like to get just one EKJ machine to serve 12,000 people especially the older people (including my mother), many with high blood pressure or diabetes.  We must change this!!

So I go back to contrast a week in a sane functioning country with our chaos, misery, occupation, and struggle just to live.  Of course not everything problematical here is due to the occupation/colonization.  Our problems (of economic poverty, cultural poverty, inequality, tribalism, religiosity without education, paternalism, poor civic engagement, poor health care etc.) are merely exacerbated by decades of occupation and more recently by the Oslo process and what followed it.  Even as a simple two steps we must insist: 1) on freedom of speech (see below on attack on Professor Budeiri as an example), and 2) that we respect our public spaces in the same way as we respect our private spaces in terms of cleanliness etc.  I do believe we are moving/will move in the right direction to struggle for democracy, dignity, and freedom.  None of these are given to us from others; they must be extracted with a price of sweat, tear, and blood.  Here is a segment of what I said at the conference in Munich June 30-July1, 2012:

Last week I was in a small threatened Palestinian community in Jiftlik in the Jordan valley. Their homes were demolished and livelihood threatened daily.  One man who has not gone through formal education but whose hands and face show that he got the education of the fields said to us: life is not difficult, only we humans make it difficult.  This reminded me of what black people in the deep South in the US used to say during the civil rights movement: “Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow!”  Indeed I tell my students that they can do anything they choose to do.  The external obstacles are actually far less a problem than the internal obstacles we keep (the chains on our minds).

We are working on a movement for one democratic state.  All of us here believe it is inevitable.  In fact a survey of Israeli Jews a few years ago showed that nearly 70% believe there will not be a Jewish state by 2048.  Palestine was and continues to be one country from the past few thousand years.  Only for very brief periods it was divided for example between 1948-1967.  Since 1967, we had one political system but it is a system of apartheid (and this is not my description but a legal definition based on the International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and Racial Discrimination.)  All of us in this room are convinced that we can do better than that: we can have democracy, justice, human rights.  How to go from here to there (point A to point B) is why we are gathered here. We hope to build on the movement for one democratic state.

What is the definition of movement? Change in position or posture, transference from one situation to another. The agents of change are human beings and humans act when they are informed and convinced of a certain direction.  I personally read and write first so that I can understand/change myself.  In the 1990s I was very active in the rights of refugees and we collected 750,000 signatures by 1999 for the Right of Return.  This exercise and its positive results showed everyone how action on the ground can CHANGE perceptions and create MOVEMENT in a positive direction. This led me to write a book which was published in 2004 called “Sharing the Land of Canaan” (http://www.qumsiyeh.org/sharingthelandofcanaan/).  In it I argue in a scientific way (my background is biology and medicine) why there is no other logical scenario to arrive at a durable peace: a win-win situation.  Here are some of the chapters: 

People of the Land: Here I address as to why we are one people and not two people, who are the natives, how did people coexist despite differing religious beliefs .. etc.
Biology and Ideology: I addressed how biology of humanity and our genetics should be clearly and wisely interpreted and not distorted to claim support of racism.  The trajectory of our social human evolution is towards coexistence and peace not tribalism.
Palestinian Refugees: This is the most important issue that makes notions of segregation/separation impossible.  It is the basic and elemental right of Palestinians 11.5 million of us, 7 million of us are refugees or displaced people.
Jerusalem as a Pluralistic City
Zionism. Yoav mentioned in his talk that Zionist apartheid is not about separating Palestinians from Israelis but separating Palestinians from their lands and building the country up into a Jewish state.  Indeed, peace is incompatible with Zionism as a political idea (not cultural or religious Zionism that died out over 100 years ago)
Is Israel a Democracy? This chapter built on the previous one because Israeli laws were natural outcome of racist Zionist ideas in the same sense that laws in Apartheid South Africa were natural outcome of the Afrikaaner Apartheid philosophy.
Human Rights: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) provides a very good base for a real road map to peace, a durable peace. Other suggested ideas including two states lead to violations of human rights and thus sustaining the conflict.
The Conflict and Sustainable Development:  The future of the tourism industry, water, environment, and other natural resources, all argue against separation/segregation. 
Political Context: Politikos in Greek described relationship of citizens to government.  Many times the interests of the few who are in political leadership position are contrary to citizenship interests.  But the relationship is dynamic and depends on public pressure to change status quo.
International Context and International Law: I argued that this is not hostile to ideas of unity nor is it in support of segregation/separation.

In the last chapter of this 2004 book I point that “Peace can be Based on Human Rights and International Law” and proposed specific short term, medium term and long term goals for our MOVEMENT.  Others like Prof. Ghada Karmi and my late friend Prof. Edward Said argued along the same line. Subsequent people like Virginia Tilley and Ali Abunimah wrote books in 2006 also argued along the same line. So the theory and philosophy underlining work has already been done but implementation now is most urgently needed.  The Arab spring provides both opportunities and challenges as a new geopolitical landscape is created.

We also had several conferences in London, Dallas, Stuttgart, Haifa, Cambridge and now in Munich that informed us, allowed us to network, and put material and writings and sometimes in concise declarations and documents.  Just recently a group of Israelis and Palestinians published a vision/charter/foundational principles for one democratic state in significant detail (see http://www.1not2.org/One_State_in_Palestine/English.html). The group that formulated it includes myself, Ghada Karmi, George Bisharat, Haim Bresheet, Nur Masalha, Alma Jadallah, Naseer Aruri, Ilan Pappe, etc. but many many people endorsed it.  We all know these are all steps in ther right direction but more is needed.

We need structured movement that puts information in one place and shares it and builds a political infrastructure based on it.  Information may include material such as:
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1949
- The PLO charter 1968
- The Canaanite movement charter
- Palestinian Civil Society Call to Action 2005
- The Palestinian Christian Kairos document 2009
- The various declarations and manifestos

Digesting these and taking from them what is positive and serves the movement (or at least lessons) is important.

In my book subtitles "Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian struggle" and also you heard from Ghada Karmi and Norton Mezvinsky that a struggle for human rights to change the status quo is an underlying principle of our movement.  We all asked to be concrete about what are we doing? What are we building? Thus I suggest we need working groups in areas like communications, outreach, finance, actions (including more actions of BDS: Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions) etc….. [more later on the conference]

The BDS movement is maturing and coming really close to achieving its objectives of bringing peace and human rights to the Holy Land.  Read more about the amazing inspiring work by the Presbyterian Church on BDS:

The following letters were written by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA).  The first, regarding Professor Musa Budeiri, is addressed to Khalil Hindi, the President of Birzeit University.  The second, regarding Gaza students' right to study in the West Bank, was sent to top-ranking members of the Israeli government, among others. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6306/maghreb.jadaliyya.com/

A humanitarian got attacked for saying: “I must mention human rights violations in Syria and, being in Israel, human rights violations in the West Bank.  Silence in the face of evil is evil.”  This happened at Yad Vashem, a place that perpetuates tribalism and racism against others instead of teaching the universal lessons of our common history of many catastrophes including the Nakba

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home