Sep 28, 2023

September Update

Update from The Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) Bethlehem University The Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability was created at Bethlehem University with the vision of enhancing and promoting sustainability of human and natural communitie. Its mission is to research, educate about, and conserve our natural world, and Palestinian culture and heritage, and to use knowledge to promote responsible, empowered human interactions with all components of our environment. The institute developed infrastructure and human resources, which now include a Museum of Natural History (PMNH), an ethnography exhibit (cultural heritage), a botanic gardens, a community garden, an animal rehabilitation center, a biodiversity center, a herbarium, molecular laboratories, and more. PIBS is engaged in activities including: 
 1. Exploring the diversity of the fauna, flora, and human ethnography via collections and scientific research that includes morphology and genetics. 
 2. Environmental protection and responsible interaction between people and the environment. 
 3- Using the knowledge acquired to promote science education and develop citizen science 
4. Developing and increasing respect: a) for ourselves (self-empowerment), b) for our fellow human beings (regardless of background), and c) for all living creatures and our shared planet. 
5. Using research results in areas such as history, culture, permaculture and biological control to promote sustainable communities. View our latest annual reports, and for short videos about activities, please see and
The past academic year 2022/23 was a very busy year. Here are some highlights: 
 1) PIBS published 18 research papers in peer reviewed journals in many areas: fauna, flora, conservation measures, environmental injustice, sustainable agriculture, climate change, protected areas, and human rights. 
2) PIBS held over 55 local workshops for children, several for women, and many for adults to empower and encourage good stewardship of the environment. We also organized global workshops and conventions on areas like biodiversity and human diversity. 
3) PIBS led the effort to create the national report for the Convention on Biological Diversity and to create the National Strategy and Action Plan 2023-2025 
4) PIBS led on-the ground efforts to create a new Protected Areas Network which was then approved by IUCN and the Palestinian government. 
5) PIBS developed a mobile museum that reached marginalized communities 
6) PIBS staff traveled to the many countries (UK, USA, Greece, UAE etc.) during the year spreading knowledge and awareness. For example, the August trip to USA included giving 45 talks in 12 states plus DC meeting hundreds of people and gathering support for the State of Palestine and our Institute at Bethlehem University. Upcoming trips are planned in the next few months to Italy, Qatar, Australia, and New Zealand 
7) PIBS has provided leadership and acted as a model for national, regional, and global actors in areas like environmental justice and challenging settler colonialism vis a vis the environment 
8) PIBS, having secured 2/3rds of the funding (more is needed), started a major project to create a national level museum of natural history and ethnography. Work commenced on site at the Mar Andrea Campus (see pictures below for design and renovation work in progress) 
9) PIBS set up a successful animal rehabilitation unit. For example, we now are rehabilitating five hyena cubs and just released a rehabilitated fox.
Our plans going forward are ambitious including completing the model museum, executing projects for conservation of wetlands, accelerating research, increased educational activities to marginalized communities (including via the mobile museum), expanded animal rehabilitation facilities, and implementing restoration and rehabilitation of habitats including via tree planting.
Our collective past successes and plans for the future are only doable because of hundreds of volunteers and donors. It is a COLLECTIVE work and we can do much more with your additional support. YOUR partnerships advances sustainability for both humans and natural communities in Palestine and beyond (our collective vision). Please visit to partner with us or email us at or call us 970-22773553 Visit us in Bethlehem and follow us on facebook

Sep 4, 2023


 Having traveled over the past month in 12 states plus the District of Columbia, given 45 talks and met hundreds of good people (most for the first time), Jessie and I have a few observations. Some of our views were held before, some sharpened, some new. Our talks and conversations emphasize biological diversity, agricultural diversity and human diversity (hence by nature opposing colonialism, zionism, imperialism, racism). We also emphasize joint struggle for a more peaceful and sustainable planet. Our work in Palestine exemplifies this global growing power (e.g.

 We still have few more events in California and Florida which you can see at the posted schedule here:
We thought to share with you in bullet points below some observations and some photos:

-The homogeneity in the US is mainly in areas associated with the economy and. consumerism. Streets look and feel the same from coast to coast and in the midd;e of the country
-People on the other hand are still heterogeneous and you encounter all sorts of people: poor, rich, ultra rich, some Middle Class (shrinking), right, left, homeless, ultra religious fundamentalist, atheist, self-sacrificing, etc
-The few US citizens that travel have a more liberal views of the world and ted to be less chauvinistic and self-centered (that is expected)
-There is still a collective amnesia regarding the genocide of natives and of slaves (tens if not hundreds of millions).
-There is little knowledge of how Israel and Zionism damage the US.Few know of the intentional Israeli killings of US citizens (USS Liberty, Rachel Corrie, Shireen Abu Akleh etc) and violations of US law by supporting Israel
--There is increased Zionist infiltration at every level of government and civil society that tries to shape policies in support of Zionist colonization (apartheid and genocidal racist). American Jews are still by and large supportive of Israeli actions including of ethnic cleansing and they reject the right of return to Palestinian refugees. Flying Israeli flags in synagogues etc, However, Younger Jews are more questioning and groups like Jewish Voice for PEace are growing
-We get asked all the time about why the Palestinian authority is so corrupt and inept and how to change that
-We visited the Israeli Elbit towers along the US-Mexico border, a contract that was given to an Israeli company inspite of the facts that se sellinga) there was other local bidders, 2) It is against US law to give technology to foregcountries that then repackage them and sell them to others - in this case selling it back to the US
-Most US Citizens did not know that their country is violating its own laws for example the Leahy amendment that prohibits the support of countries that persistently violate human rights. Israel is a state that persistently violates human rights as documented by all human rights organizations (Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, B'Tselem, Physician for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights etc), the UN, the EU and even the US state department! Yet, Congress pressed by the Zionist Lobby gives billions of tax $ to "Israel" every year and denies the treasury billions more by allowing tax deductible donations to the apartheid system (even tax deductible donations to illegal settlers/squatters on Palestinian land and even to the largest terrorist organization in the world (the Israeli military)

Finally we say: people are intrinsically good, generous, & kind. The minority that guide us to wars, racism, conflict, consumerism, habitat destruction, pollution etc. get away with much precisely because the majority remain silent or comliant. It is our collective job to mobilize, to organize, to push for positive action... for a global intifada. Nothing less than the future of earth is at stake.

Join us and stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh & Jessie Chang
in San Francisco