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By Mazin Qumsiyeh

A day of celebration in the occupied Palestinian territories

Nearly 86,000 Palestinian students sat this year for the final high school unified matriculation exam (called Tawjihi) in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.  Today the results of the exams were released and they were phenomenal.  It is a noisy day of celebration for thousands of people who worked very hard and achieved good results. There was no divisions here, the unified examinations were given in Gaza and the West Bank with cooperation of the ministry of education employees in both places and without political considerations.  Considering the slaughter of Gaza last year, the results from Gaza were remarkable (and equivalent to the West Bank).  The highest six students (4 females, 2 males) in the science section got the score of 99.5% and they represent refugees, villagers, and city dwellers, from Asira Al-Shjamaliya (near Nablus), Khan Younis (Gaza), Nablus City,  West Gaza, Shufat (Jerusalem), and Beni Nuaim (Hebron area).  In the humanities section, the top ten come from Tulkarem, Rafah, Nablus, Khan Younis, Qabatiya, and Jenin. My own nephew got 93.6% even though his father died in the middle of these exam (I had shared the story of Hazem with you earlier). This remarkable result by our young people shows the possibilities of the people of Palestine.  Of course, the colonial apartheid system limits the options open to our high school graduates but ultimately nothing can stand in the way of determined individuals.


I participated in teaching summer camps at two locations to younger students during the past few days.  I have been focusing on teaching and interactions with young Palestinians since I returned to Palestine two years ago.  In all these interactions I see the incredible opportunities.  Palestine has no oil or other major natural resources except its people.  If only our leaders understood the potential of mobilizing our people to liberate themselves.  We do not need to rely on endless negotiations or on irrational rhetoric or acts. Three young high school students built an electronic walking stick for the blind (I shared that story two months ago with you). Palestinian students at the Polytechnic University in Hebron just built a solar powered car from scratch .  What we need is a belief in the human potential.  We need a denial of the negativism that is fed by corruption, lies, and distortions; I will write more on this in my next message.  Meanwhile congratulations

Here is a must read article for all Palestinians: Towards a Palestinian Political Agenda by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta (Two parts)

Israeli army destroys a Palestinian village in the Jordan valley

17 Year old arrested in night raid in Bil’in


Action: As received from Janan Abdu-Makhoul: Free Ameer Makhoul

Model Action: BDS activists do a musical tour in New York against Israeli apartheid

Mark Braverman’s report on the victory at the Presbyterian Assembly and lays out the nature of the Zionist tactics to thwart Christian action for peace and justice

Health in the occupied Palestinian territories

Action: Join the campaign to get TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli apartheid (at the meeting held results were good and there was no opposition but this is expected to change so the organizers of the action want more signatures)

You are always welcome to visit us in Palestine

Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke and Yale Universities. He served on the board/steering/executive committees of a number of groups including Peace Action Education Fund, the US Campaign to End the Occupation, the Palestinian American Congress, Association for One Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, and BoycottIsraeliGoods.org. He is now president of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People. He advised many other groups including Sommerville Divestment Project, Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project, Palestine Freedom Project, Sabeel North America, and National Council of Churches of Christ USA. He is an active member of a number of human rights groups (Amnesty, Peace action, Human Rights Watch, ACLU etc.). He published several books of which the most acclaimed “Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” which was also translated to spanish.

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