Monday, December 05, 2016

Palestine Resistance: Action in Politics and in Building

Actions in Politics & Actions in Building

by Mazin Qumsiyeh -

December 5, 2016

It is sometimes hard to know how many people receiving these messages read them. It would be great to get more feedback on what is useful and what is not. As a simple experiment and since some people do respond I am going to send two messages back to back: this one on politics (including actions you can take), the second one will be on Action in Building (positive things not directly political). I will see how many reply to each and will report to you the results of this experiment next week :-)

Message 1. Action in Politics

“Israel’s official position is that this is not an area under belligerent occupation [1967 areas]. Go onto the Foreign Ministry’s websites and you’ll see. We did not accept the Geneva Convention, because we knew it would be against us…When Joshua ben Nun [the biblical prophet] entered the land, he sent three messages to its inhabitants: those who want to accept [our rule] will accept; those who want to leave, will leave; those who want to fight, will fight. The basis of his strategy was: We are here, we have come, this is ours. Now too, three doors will be open, there is no fourth door. Those who want to leave – and there will be those  who leave – I will help them. When they have no hope and no vision, they will go. As they did in 1948. Those who do not go will either accept the rule of the Jewish state, in which case they can remain, and as for those who do not, we will fight them and defeat them.”  - Knesset Member Bezalel Smotrich interview in Haaretz

Senate Passes a Dumb and Dangerous Bill by James J. Zogby This week, without debate or an actual vote, the US Senate stealthily passed a disturbing and dangerous piece of legislation introduced by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Casey (D-PA). Called “The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016” (AAA), the Scott-Casey bill requires the Department of Education (DOE) to apply the State Department’s (DOS) definition of anti-Semitism in evaluating complaints of discrimination on US campuses… more at.

(The bill we allow the Israel lobby to outlaw criticism of Israeli apartheid?) Senate Passed Anti-Free Speech Bill; House Considers Bill: It targets human rights activists, not hatred.

10 Zionist Arguments You’ve Encountered, But Didn’t Have Answers To

Endorse the academic and cultural boycott campaign in your own country:
And search for BDS campaigns in your country here:

Message 2: Actions in Building

The Christmas season is here in Bethlehem and the “Holy Land”. Already the Christmas tree in Bethlehem Nativity square is lit. It is beautiful to see people of all faiths here in occupied Palestine share joys and share sadness (ie. share life). We already attended two concerts/choirs (one led by Germans, the other by Swedes). It is most inspiring to see Muslims and Jews in the Christmas spirit here. Like all holidays it becomes part of our native Palestinian culture as different faith communities join hands and sing together and celebrate together. Friends of ours lost their son and hundreds of all faiths came to pay respect on the day of burial Friday (it was heart-wrenching to watch this beautiful family mourn this special child). Sunday we attended services for six who died earlier (40 day or 6 month rituals) which included my Aunt Amal and my uncle Sami. We miss them all.

We are in the midst of an environmental conference (networking with really good people) and thinking out loud how we make a difference. We finally had rains here in good quantity and even though we are cold, we are happy. We try to live our life despite the horrors of the occupation and the incitement against us. We even had rainbows and great food. We are still lucky to be alive and in good health.

Life carries on and forces us to think of what legacy we leave in it. Will we be destructive or productive? How much time do we spend to challenge destructive forces and how much to build (I try to balance but it is very hard). For me the most rewarding is seeing positive change in eyes of children coming to our museum and botanical garden.

To see it in the increased critical thinking and questioning by my students at the three colleges/universities I teach at (Bethlehem, Birzeit, Dar Al-Kalima). As the semester closes soon, I can’t help but marvel at where they were at the beginning of the semester and where they are now (well at least the majority of them ;-).  I could not help but think of the lyrics of Louis Armstrong’s song:

"What A Wonderful World"
I see trees of green, red roses too.
I see them bloom, for me and you.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue, And clouds of white.
The bright blessed day,  The dark sacred night.
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow, So pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces, Of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands.  Saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying,  "I love you".

I hear babies cry,  I watch them grow,
They'll learn much more, Than I'll ever know.
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.
Yes, I think to myself, What a wonderful world.

The Best Magazine in Palestine: This Week in Palestine will now be available by subscription. Please visit this link to see the latest/December issue (still free for now and a wonderful issue on celebrations/holidays) and ALSO to subscribe:

Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert
And if you have not seen our holiday message of hope and call to
action, please visit

Stay human and come visit us in occupied Palestine

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
HumanRights newsletter

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