May 16, 2022

Nakba at 74

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 14, 2022

Tears and hope from the last few days

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

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

Occupation forces then attacked the funeral including pallbearers of Shireen after they murdered her. Here are the shocking video from different angles
https://youtu.be/WHqytR_y0I8
https://youtu.be/8r2eR6-rSHw
https://www.facebook.com/MQaddoha/videos/742322280233193/

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

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

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

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

David Shulman- Israel Prize Winner on South Hebron hills
https://www.facebook.com/Taayus/videos/10153404346511986/

A great speech by Charlie Chaplain during the heat of the horrible 1940s when Hitler whipped-up hatred in the name of safety for the German people as the Zionist regime does today. Still valid today if people would listen. How much better we would be if Zionists stop regurgitating hate and oppression that was inflicted on hundreds of millions throughout the ages. Listen to these very powerful words
https://www.facebook.com/CryptikMovement/videos/10152590620669485/

Apr 8, 2022

Trumping Environment

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


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

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

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

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

Was the great march of return the best way to confront Israel?
https://electronicintifada.net/content/was-great-march-return-best-way-confront-israel/35091

The Climate Emergency makes Zionism obsolete, but Judaism could help save the planet
https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/climate-emergency-makes-zionism-obsolete-but-judaism-could-save-the-planet

Harvard Law School ‘apartheid’ report leaves Israel’s defenders speechless
Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic's recent report declaring that Israel is practicing apartheid is a victory for Palestinian human rights
https://mondoweiss.net/2022/04/harvard-law-school-apartheid-report-leaves-israels-defenders-speechless/

This map of the situation in Ukraine on March 24 is provided by the French Ministry of Defense. https://www.moonofalabama.org/12i/ukrfmap1.jpg

Zelensky: Don't forget Ukrainian Jewish role in the dispossession of Palestine
https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/israel-palestine-zelensky-ukrainian-jewish-role-dispossession

Attack on human rights organization
https://masspeaceaction.org/event/an-attack-on-human-rights-how-should-we-respond/

Mar 12, 2022

Virology of ideas and colonialism

This brilliant talk by a Nobel Prize Winner George Smith on “The Virology of Ideas — An Indispensable Pandemic” calls us to a higher level of (re)thinking our world https://www.scientists4palestine.com/virology-ideas/

There will be other lectures in this series sponsored by Scientists for Palestine and Bisan Center for Research and Development. The latter is a great center that has been targeted by the Israeli occupiers. This lecture I attended prompted me to summarize my thoughts that I usually give in lectures (now 3 times weekly on average to diverse audiences):

My background in biology (especially evolution) and medicine (immunology and medical genetics) helped shape my own thinking in on evolution of ideas and therapies for colonial struggle. I told my medical students you need to take a patient's history, check the symptoms carefully, make the right diagnosis, offer the appropriate therapy and counsel the patient on prognosis.  I explained in hundreds of lectures that the same applies for social ills (wars and conflict are also diseases). To make this short I will say a few words here about each of these in relation to Palestine but this also applies to other situations.

Patient history: Palestine was multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious society and fairly healthy in its 11,000 year history (since our ancestors' development of agriculture and beginning of so-called “civilization” in our - western- part of the Fertile Crescent). In those 11 millennia, the patient was mostly healthy with very few conflicts (vast majority of time with little conflict or war certainly less in % than Europe or North America). Conflicts arose from the very few attempts to reshape the country  to be monolithic (one Muslim ruler, Cusaders, Zionism, Persian invasion).

Symptoms:  Colonialism does what colonialism does (no need to detail that familiar history around the world or here) and the indigenous people suffer. For native Palestinians, >100,000 were killed (>90% civilians), more than 800,000 injured, >1 million imprisoned, more than 500 towns and villages depopulated, apartheid system installed on the remaining natives. Empires ruled here but we never had the kind of ethnic cleansing or apartheid system perpetrated as we did under Zionism in the past 100 years. Now 8 of 14 million Palestinians are refugees or displaced people. This is the crux of the problem (not statehood). Of course as expected in such situations, some of the colonizers (thousands) were also killed but mostly in wars with nearby Arab countries (all these wars, except 1973, were started by the Zionists). The West (Britain and France first now US) were and are key partners to perpetuate this situation/illness here.

Prognosis: Colonial situations have only 3 possible outcomes/scenarios: Algerian model, US/Australia model (genocide of natives), or living in one country (most common outcome found in 95% of the 194 countries on earth). The attempt to suppress the idea of liberation and freedom among Palestinians has failed and the third outcome is inevitable (this means the end of Zionism). Ideas mutate as articulated well by Prof. Smith. For outline of the evolution of the idea of "Sharing the Land of Canaan" based on human rights, see my book by that name (http://qumsiyeh.org/sharingthelandofcanaan/).  I also recall how the idea of the shrinking map of Palestine drawn first by my son when he was 13 years old mutated over time (map shown on same link). I recall how the ideas of primacy of human rights, secular democracy, opposition to apartheid evolved among intellectuals. For Zionists and imperialists, I say “when you find yourself stuck in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging”. The same applies to those Saudi/UAE wars on Yemen or in Syria or in Ukraine hat are for anachronistic ideas like hegemony. Today's world cannot take ancient ideas that are going extinct and the ideas gaining strength especially among the young generation is a world free from borders, free from hegemonic "nation-states", a world of love, kindness, morality, and justice.

Therapy: The therapy to accelerate arrival at the inevitable prognosis is to work harder collectively towards that. That means resistance and joint people-centered struggle. See my book on "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment" (http://qumsiyeh.org/popularresistanceinpalestine/) as one example of many around the world (for the US see Howard Zinn's "A people's history of the United States"). We must work together also via building alternative models of intentional communities ranging from more militant ones like the Zapatistas (see https://nacla.org/news/2019/01/18/spark-hope-ongoing-lessons-zapatista-revolution-25-years ) to localized projects like https://www.tamera.org/ and our own Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (http://palestinenature.org).