My Catbird Seat » Mazin’s Dispatches http://mycatbirdseat.com Thu, 21 Jul 2011 16:04:56 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Tim King : Is Israel Waging a Military Assault on Intellectuals? http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/05/tim-king-is-israel-waging-a-military-assault-on-intellectuals/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/05/tim-king-is-israel-waging-a-military-assault-on-intellectuals/#comments Tue, 17 May 2011 18:21:33 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=17888 An unprecedented number of arrests, it just doesn’t make sense.

Tim King Salem-News.com

(SALEM, Ore.) – Yesterday we reported the arrest of Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Salem-News.com writer and high profile educator and peace activist in Occupied Palestine, who in the past has been a professor at both Yale and Harvard.

It seems clear that Israel fears no boundaries, and that occupational forces are acting with a blatant disregard for even their own public image.

More than the fact that arresting peaceful men for speaking out is unconscionable; there seems to be a particular level of vengeance connected with this case.

According to what we are hearing, he will be released soon, though two other activists arrested with him who were American, were released while Dr. Qumsiyeh remained in custody.

Lawyers in Palestine say Mazin and two other Palestinians will be released on bail within the coming hours. Their cases will be reviewed later, and if there is no evidence to bring charges then the case will close and bail money returned.

Mazin’s family advised:

“We can all breathe a sigh of relief now. Your support and prayers meant so much to our family and made us strong. We thank each and every one of you. Next message hopefully will be coming from Mazin himself. In the meantime, our work continues until the rest of them are free.”

Salem-News.com published contact information for the Israeli embassy in yesterday’s report, urging readers to contact embassy staff in their respective countries and demand that the professor be released.

At one point it was relayed via the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, that:

“They are aware of the many calls people made calling for Mazin’s release. They said at this moment, any additional calls would not change Mazin’s status.”

However, it appears that may not have been the case.

Targeting Intellectuals

We continue to be horrified and amazed that Israel targets intellectuals in this way, but then the first thing the Nazi’s did to Jewish resistance was to eliminate the ranks of academics and journalists.

This is the way of oppressive occupational armies that believe they are part of a supreme race. There is no reason to mince words over it. Zionist Jews consider themselves superior to non-Jews, or ‘goyam’, and a lower species, here to serve the needs of Zionist Jews.

We’re talking about a wide breadth of humanity who doesn’t qualify. Problems in Israel don’t stop there either. Dark complected Jews receive a lower level of regard and in some cases they are not allowed to attend schools with white Jewish students. There are many reported assaults and worse on Jews of color in Israel.

This is not the first time Mazin has been arrested for participating in peace protests in occupied Palestine. We have in fact reported three prior arrests:

May-15-2011: Demand the Release of Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh and Others – Salem-News.com

Dec-22-2010: Israelis Arrest Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh and Others Again During Peaceful Protest – J. Qumsiyeh for Salem-News.com

Jun-11-2010: Israeli Forces Release Distinguished Educator Under Threat of Future Harm – Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com

Jun-09-2010 Salem-News.com Writer Arrested After Protest Near Bethlehem – Tim King Salem-News.com

May-09-2010: Israeli Occupation Forces Arrest Former Yale Professor – Mazin Qumsiyeh for Salem-News.com

Mar-02-2010: Israel Does Not Give Peace a Chance – Tim King Salem-News.com

Does anyone see a pattern here? He had never been arrested in his life, and then all of a sudden, while touring the U.S., he learned that:

“The Israeli army invaded our neighborhood at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, waking up my mother, wife and sister. Heavily-armed soldiers blocked roads during ‘the operation’. When my family opened the door, they demanded to see me. They were told I have already left to the U.S. After many more questions, they left a paper that states I am to appear at the military liaison office next Monday.”

It only got worse from there, and the fact that they did this when he was on tour is even more of an insult.

During the early morning IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) raid on his otherwise peaceful neighborhood, his sister and wife told the soldiers that the professor will not be back by the court date they had set. All because he participated in peace activity- that was their only beef with him.

He said at the time, back in March 2010, that was really disturbed him was the effect on his family and thousands of friends around the world who care.

“My 76-year old mother asks on the phone that I not go back and that I work in the U.S. for a while, a very painful suggestion for a mother to make about her only remaining son near her! I try to assure her that I have done nothing wrong and will not leave her… but she brings up many examples of people who also did not do any violence and were arrested, imprisoned, and their families had to go through a lot.”

That is everyday life for Palestinians, but Americans need to comprehend that the most accomplished professors here, people who would normally be granted a great deal of respect, are treated brutally and illegally.

Hope from Israel

It is important to note that the Israeli population is not all Zionist, and a growing contingent of Jews are standing up and speaking out over the terrible inhumane treatment of Palestinians.

Equally important is the fact that hundreds and hundreds of young Israelis are imprisoned for refusing to be a part of their oppressive military system. Israel is such a militant government that every single individual is forced to enter the Israeli Apartheid Forces at the age of 18.

Nakba – Palestine’s Continuing Catastrophe

The Palestinian catastrophe, known as the ‘Nakba’ began sixty three years and one day ago, when Israel became independent and began an ethnic cleansing program of indigenous Palestinian people. It was at a demonstration where people object verbally and peacefully to these policies, on this historic day, where Dr. Qumsiyeh was arrested.

Apartheid

In Israel, speech can be a crime.

In Israel, laws are specifically designed to discriminate against Palestinians, people exactly like Professor Qumsiyeh, whom in my opinion, is one of the world’s greatest champions for peace and fairness.

Alison Weir

For anyone who isn’t familiar with Israel’s practices, a simple answer is to watch this highly informative documentary called Occupation 101 which features another highly valued Salem-News.com writer, Allison Weir of IfAmericansOnlyKnew.com.

The very best thing you can possibly do, is stop what you are doing and watch this riveting, compelling documentary about Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

The problems are far from new, and in fact they are as old as Israel itself, which is a diaper laden infant of a country that badly needs to be changed.

In the January/February 1998 edition of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Dr. Israel Shahak wrote in the article Israeli Discrimination Against Non-Jews Is Carefully Codified in State of Israel’s Laws:

The legal system of the State of Israel can be described as a weird mixture of advanced democracy and retrogressive discrimination, combined with clumsy attempts to hide the discriminatory reality. For example, in all Israeli laws except one, the Law of Return, the word “Jew” does not appear. The term employed when the law gives discriminatory privileges to Jews is that those privileges are granted to “persons who would have benefited from the Law of Return had they been outside the borders of Israel.” The Law of Return specifies that its benefits can be given only to Jews. However, Israeli propagandists calculate, correctly in my view, that a great majority of the opponents of discrimination would not dare to criticize this law. The second trick, especially beloved by the Meretz Party and other “leftist” hypocrites, is to campaign for and then pass a high-sounding law in favor of equality or human rights. Such laws, however, always contain one little paragraph stating that their provisions will not affect any laws or regulations enacted in the past. The high-sounding preambles of the new laws then can be solemnly quoted without mentioning that since discriminatory laws and rules were passed in the 1950s and early 1960s (by Labor, of course), the new laws cannot change the existing discrimination. When one understands those two tricks, one comprehends that Israeli laws, and even more so government regulations on all possible subjects, are full of discriminatory measures which, if employed against Jews anywhere else in the world, would be regarded as anti-Semitic.

The problems Mazin and so many others are wrestling with today, date all the way back to Israel’s conception, as Dr. Shahak described above.

They were wrong and unacceptable in a human sense then, and today this unwarranted apartheid legal system of Israel’s runs totally afoul of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

The bottom line is that people all over the world are watching this treatment of Dr. Qumsiyeh like hawks. All will remain vigilant and I suspect I am far from the only one who will continue to write about this frequently. It all serves as a distraction from the point Professor Qumsiyeh has been trying to make about the very place where he was arrested: Al- Wahala. The reports about this place are numerous and tragic and it seems proper that we list not all, but just some of the stories we have carried about this historic Palestinian town whose people deserve to live in peace, but have no such luck.

Nov-10-2010: Justice Delayed is Justice Denied – Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD. Salem-News.com

Nov-03-2010: Come to Al-Walaja Friday and to Palestine this Christmas – Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com

Aug-21-2010: Viva, Viva Negotiations! – Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD Salem-News.com

Aug-14-2010: First Friday of Ramadan: When 5 Seconds Seems Like Five Minutes – Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD Salem-News.com

Aug-08-2010: Follow Up on Incident at Al-Walaja – Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD Salem-News.com

Jun-22-2010: Popular Resistance Continues at Home and Abroad – Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com

Jun-08-2010: Soldiers Uproot Agricultural Lands Near Bethlehem – Salem-News.com

May-25-2010: Bob Birch Reports from Palestine’s Occupied Territories – Bob Birch Special to Salem–News.com

May-22-2010: Arrests and Injuries at Al-Ma’sara – Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com

May-08-2010: Palestine’s Popular Resistance Continues – Mazin Qumsiyeh for Salem-News.com

Apr-14-2011: Human Rights: Optimism and Change – Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com

Jan-16-2010: Tunisia and Reshaping the Arab World – Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com

More on Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

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 and coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour. 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 the most acclaimed of which is “Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” which was also translated to spanish.

He also has an activism book published electronically on his web site (http://qumsiyeh.org).  His main interest is media activism and public education.  He published over 200 letters to the editor and 100 op-ed pieces and interviewed in TV and radio extensively (local, national and international). Appearances in national media included the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others. He also regularly lectures on issues of human rights and international law. He has a new book out shortly titled “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment” which reviews resistance going back to the beginning of the Zionist project in the 19th century until today.

Tim King is Salem-News.com Editor and Writer He is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com’s Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer’s Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.


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MAZIN : WESTERN MEDIA FRENZY ABOUT OSAMA BIN LADEN http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/05/mazin-western-media-frenzy-about-osama-bin-laden/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/05/mazin-western-media-frenzy-about-osama-bin-laden/#comments Tue, 03 May 2011 12:36:38 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=17361 Bin Laden’s assassination and the continued state terrorism practiced by the US government and its allies, especially Israel, attempt to entrench the idea of violence as an answer.

By Mazin Qumsiyeh / My Catbird Seat

There is a western media frenzy about the reported “taking-out” of Osama Bin Laden (the previous ally turned enemy). Israeli papers reported a high level US security official as saying his instruction was not to capture Bin Laden alive but to liquidate him.  But everyone already knew this would be the case,  since it would be a messy business if the US soldiers captured such a person alive (he may even spill the beans on his US and Pakistani  intelligence links).  Most people went about their daily lives of apathy.  Even the stock market did not go up as pundits predicted.  Soon the dollar will resume its downward spiral.

The US military may feel vindicated and Pakistanis will feel their country’s sovereignty challenged. Some may choose to retaliate with violence giving the Neocons and Neoliberals their excuse to pursue their policies.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the military-industrial complex needed a new enemy to sustain its massive structure and conveniently the “Islamic terrorism” materialized. Of course there are fanatical Muslims (and Jews and Christians and Hindus) who are willing to kill. Yet, the US did not have to invade Iraq and Afghanistan and create more such fanatics.  But a more sober analysis shows that things will change. Bin Laden was killed a while ago not physically perhaps but as an idea! The idea suffered significant blows by the Arab Spring revolutions which showed that it does not take violence to change our societies and remove US/Israeli backed dictators.

Bin Laden’s assassination and the continued state terrorism practiced by the US government and its allies, especially Israel, attempt to entrench the idea of violence as an answer.


The brutal assault on Syrian, Yemeni, Saudi and Bahraini demonstrators and the US continued military attacks in countries around the world are part of this human foolishness.  They represent that wing of our global society that believes violence is the answer: the win-lose scenario. The hopeful ideas of popular resistance, freedom, democracy and end to exploitation successfully challenged the notions of “clash of civilization” and “might makes right”.

We thus remain hopeful despite all the false news planted around us and all the false-flag operations, and despite the 1 million Iraqis and 50,000 Afghans killed by these wars.

Here in Palestine, most people went about their lives focusing on how to find the next loaf of bread under Israeli colonial occupation.  Hardly a mention was made of Bin Laden.  If we take just one village called Izbet Al-Tabib, a tiny village of 247 residents (60% of them children), we see one example of what was on people’s minds.  The Israeli decision to take their land was met with building a protest tent on the threatened land and trying to make their story known.

Sandra Quintano, A 60 year-old American Activist

The Israeli military came and attacked the villagers and the international volunteers severely, injuring an elderly American woman and arresting three other internationals (see http://palsolidarity.org/2011/05/18071/ ). At night more than 200 soldiers invaded the village terrorizing its population to try and stem the growing popular resistance. Please join the villagers this Thursday for solidarity starting at 1 PM.

Last night, the Israeli army arrested several Palestinians in major cities including Bethlehem (this happens regularly in defiance of the Oslo accords and with knowledge of “Palestinian security” forces).

In a few days, there will be events and commemorations surrounding the Nakba day.  The Nakba is the Palestinian catastrophe etched into every living Palestinian mind.  It is the fact that from January 1948 to the end of 1949, more than 2/3rd of our people who lived in the land that became the (Jewish) state of Israel were ethnically cleansed.  63 years later, nearly 7 million Palestinians are refugees or internally displaced people. This is the largest and most tragic and persistent post world war II atrocity.

For information, visit http://PalestineRemembered.com

Israeli Apartheid and The Nakba

By Anthony Lawson

It is important that we all join in activities to challenge colonialism on this anniversary of the Nakba.

In the US, you can also get some printed material (a Nakba Pak) from here http://ifamericansknew.org/about_us/packs.html.

Below are some events but do look for events in your area or organize your own events:

From Lebanon and Jordan, see details here http://returntopalestine.blogspot.com/

Hellerup, Kobenhavn, Denmark http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=221525124531256
Israëlische ambassade, Sterrewachtlaan 40 1180 Ukkel – Avenue del’Observatoire 40 1180 Brussel

(UCCLE) http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=200013603371184

Madrid. C/ Velázquez 150, 7º http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=180589978657757

Ambassade d’Israel – Paris http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=179953362056178

Bern (Bern, Switzerland) http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=168998889823873

Houston, TX http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=123540217721453

Consulate General of Israel, 6380 Wilshire blvd. Suite 1700, Los Angeles CA, 90048 & Consulate General of Israel, 456 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, 94104 http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=140344946036616

Israeli Embassy 122 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge Dublin, Ireland
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=205349512829240

Ambasciata d’Israele, via Michele Mercati 12, Roma
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=178215672227437

Israelische Botschaft Auguste-Viktoria-Str. 74-76 14193 Berlin
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=118993821513426

Boston Israeli Consulate
20 Park Plaza
Boston, MA
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=210024405683124

Israeli Embassy, 2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197040297000383

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. For more about his work go to: http://qumsiyeh.org

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AIC: Palestinian state in September? Prospects and roles of local, international activists http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/04/aic-palestinian-state-in-september-prospects-and-roles-of-local-international-activists/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/04/aic-palestinian-state-in-september-prospects-and-roles-of-local-international-activists/#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2011 14:32:55 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=17118 Professor Qumsiyeh ended the conference by arguing that he is sure that in the next six to ten months, there will be a new uprising in Palestine. “I studied the history of the past uprisings and I can claim that this will be a crucial year for Palestine”

Alternative Information Centre

Alternative Information Center

Palestinian activists Lubna Massarwa, Murad Jadallah and Muhammed Mustafa, with Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh serving as moderator, discussed the roles of local activists, youth movements and the international community in such a scenario. During the discussion, the activists focused onthe weak role of the Palestinian Authority and the possible consequences of recognition of Palestinian independence including for Israelis and the international community.

“The PA is thinking that the UN declaration of a Palestinian state could be the basic solution, the end of the occupation. But it’s not true. How can Palestine be an independent state if Israel doesn’t recognize it? Israel doesn’t have official borders. So how is it possible to build a new state without borders?” said Murad Jadallah, legal research from Addameer: Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Organisation and activist in the Independent Youth Movement of Herac.

“After September, the UN could decide to leave all the problems in Palestinian hands and not intervene anymore, without solving the vital problem of the refugees,” Jadallah stated.

All the speakers agreed that with recognition of the Palestinian state, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would turn into a border conflict, like numerous other conflicts around the world.

“For a long time the PA hasn’t dealt with the right of return. Almost 1,200,000 Palestinians are refugees inside the Green Line, said Lubna Massarwa, activist of the Free Gaza Movement and community organizer. “The potential recognition of our independence is tightly connected to the refugees of the Nakba. The PA has to tell us how it wants to solve this vital problem.”

Muhammed Mustafa, activist in the Independent Youth Movement and a researcher at Paris IV University (La Sorbonne), explained that the UN declaration could be a catastrophe for the Palestinian people: “This kind of decision is a comfortable way for the international community to abandon the Palestinian cause. Even if Palestine becomes an official member of the United Nations, there is no chance to end the occupation.”

The three speakers agreed that the PA is too weak to protect the Palestinian people.

“We are frustrated by the corruption inside the Palestinian Authority. The PA is protecting the Israeli occupation,” Lubna Massarwa said. “Salam Fayyad was imposed on the Palestinian people and he is destroying our popular resistance. I think that a possible solution would be the creation of a Palestinian Council instead of the PA, which is able to release the political prisoners in Israeli jails, to end the occupation and to materialize the right of return.”

Murad Jadallah added, “After the Oslo agreement, the PA wasn’t able to protect Palestinian lands: the settlements are still increasing, the construction of the Wall is eating village lands beside the Green Line and tens of thousands of Palestinian residents are now refugees.”

Muhammed Mustafa later focused on the important issue of an independent and strong Palestinian economy in order to build a sovereign state. “Salam Fayyad is just talking about security and infrastructures, but Palestine doesn’t have its own national manufacturing industry. Import and export are controlled by Israel. We don’t have an economy based on concrete and independent production.”

Several participants in the event asked what kind of solution is proposed by the youth movement in order to strengthen a potential Palestinian state. “The re-foundation of the PLO in order to represent Palestinians all over the world: in Palestine, in Israel and abroad,” said moderator Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh.

The importance of activism and youth movements in pressuring political authorities was particularly highlighted.  Since the demonstrations of 15 March, the Palestinian youth movement has grown. Students and young Palestinian people have been involved in this movement which works through two main channels: internet and grassroot actions.

As far as the web is concerned, blogs and Facebook pages have been created, such as the blog Palestine for us, or the groups 15th of March Palestinian Youth Movement and Sawt al-Manara on Facebook.  They aim at establishing a network among the youth in the main West Bank cities to achieve unity. The blog Palestine for us contains the statement of principles which constitute the base of the 15th of March movement: the national unity, the reconciliation, the end of the division between Hamas and Fatah, the illegitimacy of imprisoning people based on their political beliefs and the establishment of new electoral procedures that guarantee equal representation of Palestinians all around the world.

On the other hand, Palestinian youth have decided to take local and grassroot actions to inform the Palestinians about their plans and their requests. The most visible example was the establishment of a sit-in tent, called the tent of unity in the main squares of Ramallah and Bethlehem.  Tarek Zboun, a 22 year Palestinian, is one of the most active people in this movement: he is the administrator of the principle Facebook pages in Bethlehem area and he has always slept in the tent. Tarek told the AIC that “the main problem we are facing deals with the fact that Palestinian people in Bethlehem don’t believe in our project and the fragmentation between Palestinian political parties is stronger than our project of unity. Moreover it’s surprising that the number of foreigners visiting our tent is much higher than the number of Palestinians”. At the same time some problems occurred between the youth of the Unity Tent and the Palestinian Authority because the PA tried to prevent them from gaining the support of the Palestinian people and from spreading their message.  One week ago they decided to stop the project of the tent in Bethlehem because it was too tiring and the number of people involved was decreasing daily.

What’s the future? Why don’t the Palestinians listen to the message of this new youth movement?

The same question was asked yesterday evening by a young Palestinian girl during the discussion at the AIC Cafè.

“This is a new movement and so far all the new ideas have taken some time before being supported” Massarwa responded. “We have to be patient and to continue. I am sure that something new will happen in the near future and I think that a lot of Palestinians will adhere to our message. We will keep going on, this is the start of a new important movement for Palestine”.

And Professor Qumsiyeh replied, and ended the conference by arguing that he is sure that in the next six to ten months, there will be a new uprising in Palestine. “I studied the history of the past uprisings and I can claim that this will be a crucial year for 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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MAZIN QUMSIYEH : Murder of a friend http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/04/mazin-qumsiyeh-murder-of-a-friend/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/04/mazin-qumsiyeh-murder-of-a-friend/#comments Wed, 06 Apr 2011 07:54:29 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=16250 Humanity mourns

by Mazin Qumsiyeh / Jerusalem

We are shocked.  Juliano Mer-Khamis, a friend and fellow peace activist, was murdered in Jenin.  The masked killer/s whoever they were were cowards whose madness will not deter those of us who continue to work for justice and peace for all. If they thought they could kill coexistence and love in the holy land by killing a symbol and a great activist, they are mistaken.  Juliano symbolizes what many of us have worked for: a transformation of our homeland into a pluralistic democratic state where every human being regardless of his religion (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) would be treated with dignity and respect.  Fundamentalist notions of superiority were at odds with this message. His killers will not get their way and justice will prevail.  But Juliano’s loss is a shock to all of us.

Juliano was a superb human being who embodied the best qualities of activism and dedicated leadership for human rights, justice and peace.  He was my age and I first met him a few years ago when we brought him for the Connecticut screening of the film Arna’s children, the story of his mother and the Children of Jenin Refugee camp (see Arna’s Children Trailer for scenes from the film and Juliano’s words).  On numerous occasions over the past few years I visited Jenin Freedom Theater that Juliano cofounded and that injected so much beauty and hope into the lives of the people at Jenin Refugee Camp.  See www.thefreedomtheatre.org


Juliano took the characters of compassion and caring of his Israeli Jewish mother (she herself worked to challenge Zionist supremacy and fundamentalist idiocies for decades) and gentile love of land and people and pacifist characters of his Palestinian father. He exemplified everything that I and millions of others aspired to: coexistence, tolerance, nonviolence, peace, love, passion for life, richness in diversity and so much more.  He had a two year old child and his wife as I knew was pregnant or may have just delivered their second child.  His absence will be felt but I for one will work to ensure that his work continues and accelerates.  The best answer to violence is to intensify our work and build on the vision thus never allowing these forces of hate to destroy the future.  As to who killed Juliano: all humans are guilty.. our inability to rise as a species beyond violence is largely due to our apathy and indifference to the suffering of fellow human beings.  It is telling that many political leaders (from Hamas, Fatah, Israeli leaders) remain silent on the murder of Juliano when they so readily spoke at other convenient political junctures.  Those who are apathetic are just as guilty as those fundamentalist racists who ordered this killing or pulled the trigger to shoot fellow human beings.  I for one will have a lot of pain in my heart for Juliano, for Bassem, for Jawaher, for Rachel and all the other friends we lost along the way.  We must make sure that their murders do not go in vain and the best thing we can do is increase our efforts to continue the path and bring others to this path.  Killers must know that 10 will rise in place for every peace activist they kill. Those of us active in the same cause of coexistence and peace must intensify our work.

Ironically, I had yesterday given a sermon at a Unitarian Universalist congregation addressing the issues of violence and nonviolence.  It is copied below and is appropriate for this occasion. But first, I urge all to join the biggest chance to get attention for the  Palestinian cause in the U.S.  the weekend of April 9 when tens of thousands will march against the wars, occupations and the apartheid in Palestine and elsewhere. April 9 at noon will see a huge rally and march in New York City. A major speaker is Omar  Barghouti one of the founders of the boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign. In the march there will be a “United Palestine Solidarity Contingent” full of banners and flags.  On the next day in San Francisco there will be a similar demonstration.   For more information see www.unacpeace.org or www.TheStruggle.org <www.thestruggle.org>   Over 500 endorsers include Ali Abunimah,  Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ann Wright, Ilan Pappe, US Palestinian Community Network, Al-Awda NY, Code Pink, Palestine Right of Return Coalition, Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, SJP’s from many campuses, Middle East Crisis Committee,  Middle East Children’s Alliance, and many others.

Sermon at a United Universalist Congregation-Sacramento

About a year ago, I came back from a trip to Azerbeijan and was questioned as usually happens in crossing the bridge from Jordan to the West Bank (the only entry/exit point for us Palestinians).  The obligatory good cop/bad cop pair of Israeli officials questioned me for a very long time.  At one point I suggested they just google my name since everything about me is on the web somewhere.  But they kept questioning me.  At one point the main interrogater asked: “you are a Christian?” I answer “yes, and a Buddhist, a Jew, a Muslim, and an agnostic among others”.  He said angrily: you are making fun of me.  I said, no I believe there is truth in all these traditions.  He pointed at my ID card in front of him and said but it says here you are a Christian.  I simply said “but it is you all who put that there not me”.

My family is indeed a mixed family like most humanity: my father was greek orthodox, my mother Lutheran, my sister converted to Mormon Traditions, my wife is Chinese American who comes from a Buddhist background, my son was born in West Texas (I guess some would call that beinga  red-neck) who is exploring his world, some of my relatives married Jews, my friends are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and atheist of all gender identifications.

I cannot give you a sense of the suffering that is inflicted on 11 million Palestinians; 7 million of us are refugees or displaced people.  For that I suggest you do what Doug Kraft and others have done before: come see it for yourself.  Spend a night or two at one of the refugee camps.  Spend a day or two at one of the villages like Al-Walaja in the seam zone between the wall and the Green line.  Spend an hour or two at the next demolition of Al-Araqeeb, a village in the Negev that was demolished 18 times already.  If you are adventurous you may join us in nonviolent actions taking place every day.  The smell of spiked tear Gas and even the feel of tight handcuffs or a shove by a burly security officer will be a totally unforgettable experience.  You can join us in morning those murdered by the mindless violence of those with hate in their hearts.

But maybe I will simply stand here before you as this one fallible human being and tell you about me and how I feel and what influenced me.  I was born literally down the hill of the Church of Nativity where tradition holds that Jesus was born.  Our village name “Beit Sahour” is Aramaic for the house of those who stay up by night – in reference for the Shepherd’s who watched over their flocks and saw that star.  As descendant of those Aramaic speaking shepherds, we Nebatean Canaanites took our mission of telling it to the world seriously. While we adopted different and newer religions and rulers came and went, we remained the people of that ancient land and we were and remain pioneers.  We were the first to develop agriculture (hence the designations of fertile crescent and land of milk and honey). We were the first to domesticate plants and animals. We were the first to develop an alphabet – proto Aramaic alphabet evolved to the Arabic and Hebrew alphabet right in this great land of Canaan.  We were the first to develop law, astronomy, math, and shipping.

The origin of the Aramaic word Canaan is debated and we see things like qna’ translated as satisfied or lying obedient or referring to the color purple (hence the greek Phoenicia for that part of the world meaning also purple). In our land various religious beliefs evolved and many people took them up and used them for good or for evil.  Our religions have statements that clearly support the distinction between challenging and correcting evil and harming the evil-doers.  In  Christian traditions loving our enemies does not mean accepting the evil perpetuated (Jesus turned the tables in the Temples).  In Muslim traditions, yakrahu al-munkar (hate the evil) wala yakrahu almunkireen (not thating eth evil-doers).  This is the essence of nonviolent transformation.

The problems for us are not the different religious beliefs or our own tendency to spirituality. But it is religious dogma especially when married to state power and uses violence to advance its agenda.  Christianity became state religion that led to the horrors of the crusaders.  That is what my friend and Jewish Theologian Marc Ellis calls  “Constantinian Christianity”. Ellis argues that Zionism today is essentially “Constantinian Judaism”.

I was reminded of this when I read a letter by Thomas Jefferson to Mordecai Noah,  May 28, 1818:

“I thank you for the Discourse on the consecration of the Synagogue in your city, with which you have been pleased to favor me. I have read it with pleasure and instruction, having learnt from it some valuable facts in Jewish history which I did not know before. Your sect by its sufferings has furnished a remarkable proof of the universal spirit of religious intolerance inherent in every sect, disclaimed by all while feeble, and practiced by all when in power. Our laws have applied the only antidote to this vice, protecting our religious, as they do our civil rights, by putting all on an equal footing. But more remains to be done, for although we are free by the law, we are not so in practice.”

He goes on to explain how religions would do well to keep the private myths and discourses in the confines of their buildings while lending the more common and respectful ideas to the public sphere (e.g. the golden rule).  We are reminded of these insightful and prophetic words of Jefferson about how sects when feeble demand equality and when in power exercise discrimination and violence.

The unfolding popular nonviolent resistance in the Arab world reminds us of the power of such movements.  We Palestinians have engaged in such nonviolent struggle for over 130 years which I summarize in my recent book. People can be very innovative in these nonviolent struggles. Palestinian women thus were the first to use cars in mass demonstrations: 120 cars were gathered and moved beeping their horns in a parade down the old city streets of Jerusalem in October 1929, a spectacle at that time.  When flying the Palestinian flag was punishable by 9 months in jail, Palestinians hung laundry in the colors of the flag.  In 1988, Palestinians in my village founded the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People which brought internationals and even Israelis to nonviolently break the siege and curfew laid on our town during the tax revolt.  There were so many inspiring and innovative acts of nonviolent resistance that were successful in so many ways.

The key to understanding the power of these movements is to just look at the history of how we got women’s right to vote, civil rights, the 40-hour work week, ending the war on Vietnam, ending support for apartheid South Africa, and many others.  It is when people shed their fears, fears usually stoked by those elites in authority, that they realize that nothing can stop as as individuals working together nonviolently.  In the 1960s civil rights movement, the saying was “free your mind and your ass will follow”.

Once we free our minds, nothing can stop us.  That is what Egyptians, Tunisian, and others have realized.  That is what we Palestinians of various religions realized.  That is what humanity is realizing. Howard Zinn said, you can’t be neutral on a moving train.  The choice before us as individuals and as societies has always been between fear and courage, between hate and love, violence and popular resistance to violence.   Join us in Palestine July 8-16 for a week of activism and peace building. Thank you.

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.

Arna´s Children Trailer

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MAZIN QUMSIYEH : TUNISIA AND RESHAPING THE ARAB WORLD http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/01/mazin-qumsiyeh-tunisia-and-reshaping-the-arab-world/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/01/mazin-qumsiyeh-tunisia-and-reshaping-the-arab-world/#comments Mon, 17 Jan 2011 00:56:11 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=13040 I think the empire’s hold on the Arab World has begun to unravel and I think we see in Tunisia the first spark of a revolution that will reshape the Arab world for the better and spell the end of repression.

Maymanah Farhat specializes in modern and contemporary Arab art.

Here in Palestine, we face a relentless assault not only on us and our lands but on truth, on decency, on nature, on dignity, and, dare I say, on God. Israeli authorities are working overtime to transform the Holy City of Jerusalem from a multi-ethnic and multi-religious city to a distorted vision of what Zionists think Judaism is about (supremacy, ethnic purity, tribalism etc). They will be debating in the next few days a project for an additional 1400 “housing units” near Gilo colony.  The land targeted belongs to the village of Al-Walaja and the Town of Beit Jala. The Negev village of Al-Araqib was also just demolished for the 9th time*. More home and business demolitions were carried out in Jerusalem and the Jordan valley. Taking lands from Christians and Muslims, destroying over 2 million trees and countless homes and  businesses are not just war crimes but crimes against humanity. We must continue to challenge these destructive policies and demand the international community bring those responsible to justice. Please write to media, politicians, and all others (the internet allows you to get hundred of emails very quickly for decision makers).**

I think the empire’s hold on the Arab World has begun to unravel and I think we see in Tunisia the first spark of a revolution that will reshape the Arab world for the better and spell the end of repression. In 1948, the insertion of Israel in the Middle of the Arab world was designed to dominate the area, keep the people disjointed, disunited and ruled by (Western-appointed) dictators.  In 1953, the US and Britain engineered the coup that removed the democratically elected  government of Mousaddeq and placed the brutal Shah in power in Iran.  These moves worked for many years because people in the Arab world let them happen and offered limited resistance.  Things have been changing.  In retrospect, the year 1973 was pivotal as for the first time two Arab countries decided to fight to take back their stolen lands. Unfortunately, the US chose to save its monstrous creation from having to return all the stolen lands (and Sadat was willing to walk a separate line). Then came the nonviolent people’s revolution in Iran which got rid of the Shah in 1979. Since then Israel and its benefactor has attempted in vain to
crush any Arab resistance by might.  Fom their invasion and occupation of Lebanon to invasion and occupation of Iraq, these evil forces attempted to keep the lid on Arab democracy and keep their hegemony.  Arab dictators were useful tools in implementing these destructive policies.  But many of us have long argued that these shenanigans will and must come to an end.

By Angry Arab: "This has become a very popular poster in the streets of the Middle East and on the internet. It says (on top): "The High One Built the High Dam", and (bottom): "The Low One built the Low Dam."

As people around the world evolved beyond dictatorship and racism, we in the Arab world will too. After all, why should people in Latin America (some that used to be called banana republics) be able to say NO to the neo-liberal and neo-colonial systems while we in the Arab world could not? Why should Iran and Turkey be able to say NO to violations of International law and NO to hegemony while we in the rich Arab world stay silent?  The directions may be coming from Tunisia.  I have visited Tunisia twice and have many colleagues and friends that hail from Tunisia’s beautiful towns and villages. My single largest scientific collaborator is a Tunisian scientist living in Paris.  I have commented on the similarity that Palestine and Tunisia has in geography, topography, climate, and village life.

Tunisians used popular resistance methods I discussed in my recent book on Palestine to get rid of a corrupt leader who had hung on to power for over 23 years.  But there are other Arab leaders who have been in power even longer.

It is time for real change, a change not to replace one face with another but to begin to form truly democratic institutions throughout the Arab world.  Our demands include democracy, transparency (including totally free and critical press), plurality, and justice.  We have enough natural and human resources to build new vibrant societies.  All we have to do is muster the will to free our minds.  Those of us who have done so and shed their inhibitions should also begin to discuss and ORGANIZE for the day after (after Zionism and after imperialism).  We have to begin to examine how we may repair the damage caused by the corrupt systems and build a better future.

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.

More from Mazin

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PAUL BALLES : GRAINS OF SAND, PART I http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/01/paul-balles-grains-of-sand-part-i/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/01/paul-balles-grains-of-sand-part-i/#comments Tue, 11 Jan 2011 14:46:46 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=12844

To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.William Blake

Last week I suggested reading active writers in the alternative media. I’ve chosen some of those writers’ cogent and stimulating reflections from current events.

On the establishment press

“It’s not news that establishment journalists identify with, are merged into, serve as spokespeople for, the political class: that’s what makes them establishment journalists.” –Glenn Greenwald

“They keep telling us that in war truth is the first casualty, which is nonsense since it implies that in times of peace truth stays out of the sick bay or the graveyard.” –Alexander Cockburn

On international relations

“Classic nineteenth century European imperialists believed they were literally on a mission. I don’t believe that the imperialists these days have that same sense of public service. They are simply pirates.” –John Pilger

“Dictators are easier to deal with than parliaments. One handshake and a kickback, that’s all you need with a dictator.” –Ted Rall


On wars and threats of war

“The sophisticated forms of industrial killing, coupled with the amoral decisions of politicians and military leaders who direct and fund war, hide war’s reality from public view.”–Chris Hedges

“All the major states are still organized for war, and all that is needed for the world to slide back into a nuclear confrontation is a twist of the kaleidoscope that shifts international relations into a new pattern of rival alliances.” –Gwynne Dyer


On Palestine and Israel

“By caving in to Israel’s hard right over the West Bank, Obama sends a message of profound weakness to the rest of the world. He is signalling that Israel, not the White House, really makes America’s Mideast policy.” –Eric Margolis

“Barack Obama, the US president, whom many hoped would change the vicious anti-Palestinian policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush, has instead entrenched them as even the pretense of a serious peace effort has vanished.” –Ali Abunimah

“What makes an Ilan Pappe, brilliant professor, humanist who shed all his tribal borders and moved to touch his humanity?  And what makes an Ehud Barak, a war criminal with blood of thousands on his hands?” –Mazin Qumsiyeh

On American weakness

“. . . Most of America will be run by the same people no matter who wins the election — the oil companies, Wal-Mart, Murdoch etc. And Obama has set out not to disrupt their rule but to manage it.” –Mark Steele

“The American way of life is not sustainable. It doesn’t acknowledge that there is a world beyond America.” –Arundhati Roy

“That Clinton should want her State Department slaves to play secret agents on the poor old UN shows what an utterly worthless institution the US State Department has become.”–Robert Fisk

On WikiLeaks

“The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from the WikiLeaks saga is that American public discourse consists of cries for revenge against those who tell us truths.” –Paul Craig Roberts

“NO ONE gives a sh*t about this heroic man who is rotting in Obama’s prison cell. Not Assange (who did nothing to protect him, and does nothing now), nor the Left happy to use his information nor the New York Times which is happy to take the bows for material Manning risked his freedom for.” –Greg Palast

The comments here, stimulated by current events, come from an alternative press with a brilliance and integrity often lacking in the mainstream media.

Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years.  He’s a weekly Op-Ed columnist for the Gulf Daily News.  Dr. Balles is also Editorial Consultant for Red House Marketing and a regular contributor to Bahrain This Month.

Related post:

PAUL J. BALLES: WEAPONS OF MASS DECEPTION; TIME TO TURN TO ALTERNATIVE MEDIA


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MAZIN STANDING UP TO THE ENEMY …. AGAIN http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/08/mazin-standing-up-to-the-enemy-%e2%80%a6-again/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/08/mazin-standing-up-to-the-enemy-%e2%80%a6-again/#comments Thu, 12 Aug 2010 00:47:12 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=7074 Steve Amsel – Desertpeace

Palestinian-American professor threatened by Israeli authorities

My Associate, Mazin Qumsiyeh, had his day in court today….. again….

Just days before his appearance he called the ongoing harassment of himself and other activists a blatant attempt by Israeli authorities to stifle dissent, and to silence those who would dare to speak out publicly against Israeli policies in the West Bank.


The Occupied West Bank is a hotbed of criminal activity. The Israeli government along with the illegal settlers commit crimes against the Palestinians on a daily basis, ranging from murder to land theft. These crimes continue non stop….. BUT, Mazin Qumsiyeh is the one treated as a criminal. WHY?…. simply because He writes about these crimes, lectures about them, and participates in protests against them. THAT, the Israeli government sees as a crime! He IS guilty of one thing … fighting for Human Rights…. his own in particular!

I just got off the phone with him a few minutes ago. He told me that after waiting for two and a half hours to be interrogated by ‘Intelligence’ Officers, he was told to come back tomorrow. Not one question was asked of him. It is obviously an organised, government sponsored ploy to harass him, nothing more, nothing less.

I will report again tomorrow with an update on the situation, as Mazin himself always says, “the struggle continues”!

In the meantime, there are things you can do to help Mazin and the many others in his situation. Click HERE to see what.

This type of harassment has been going on for over 62 years… ENOUGH ALREADY!

NAKBA - 60 years Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

People are asking what they can do to end harassment of nonviolent resisters including me (Mazin Qumsiyeh)? Here is an example of a to do list from the Middle East Crisis Committee….. click on the following;

Qumsiyeh has called the ongoing harassment of himself and other activists a blatant attempt by Israeli authorities to stifle dissent, and to silence those who would dare to speak out publicly against Israeli policies in the West Bank.

Palestinian-American professor threatened by Israeli authorities

Saed Bannoura

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, who has taught at Yale and Duke Universities in the US, and is a renowned author and activist on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, has been issued an order by the Israeli military to appear before a military tribunal on August 9th.

Qumsiyeh’s supporters believe that he is being targeted by Israeli authorities for his documentation of non-violent demonstrations against the Israeli Annexation Wall in the Bethlehem area. He has posted dozens of videos on Youtube in recent months, showing Israeli troops attacking non-violent demonstrators engaged in ‘sit-ins’ to protest the illegal construction of the Israeli Wall on their land, in violation of international law.

Professor Qumsiyeh has been targeted before for his outspoken opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and his support for the non-violent movement in Palestine. He was recently detained for 12 hours by Israeli authorities on his way back to Bethlehem from Turkey, and told that he must report to the Israeli military post in Gush Etzion for an unknown ‘traffic offense’, as well as another ‘offense’ on which the Israeli authorities refused to elaborate.

Despite Israeli High Court rulings against the route of the Annexation Wall in Wallaja village, near Bethlehem, and Bil’in village, near Ramallah, construction of the Wall in both places continues unabated, and the people who have organized non-violent demonstrations and spoken publicly about the illegal construction have been targeted by the Israeli authorities. Organizer Eyad Bornat of Bil’in, and Mohammed Al-Qatib with the Popular Committee Against the Wall were both recently denied exit from the West Bank by Israeli authorities while on their way to international speaking engagements about the Wall construction.

Qumsiyeh has called the ongoing harassment of himself and other activists a blatant attempt by Israeli authorities to stifle dissent, and to silence those who would dare to speak out publicly against Israeli policies in the West Bank.

SOURCE: Desertpeace

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Watch and be angry and inspired! http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/08/watch-and-be-angry-and-inspired/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/08/watch-and-be-angry-and-inspired/#comments Thu, 05 Aug 2010 11:31:33 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=6707 By Mazin Qumsiyeh

* Israeli soldiers scuffle with Palestinians during a demonstration against the construction of Israel’s wall in Walajah, outside occupied Jerusalem. * Image Credit: AP

Today (Wednesday) was another honorable and painful chapter in the struggle of the village of Al-Walaja.  Apartheid soldiers assaulted children and adults protesting peacefully, injured many, and arrested six Palestinians.


The destruction of the beautiful ancient village land was stopped for over 1.5 hours. I was especially touched by the courage of Omar and his two children, one of them was hit by a soldier with his gun on top of his head.


Please see this video and be both angered and inspired by the courage of the Walajans. The villagers need our support in many ways especially to demand Israel release those they abducted.

Come join us PLEASE and act.


Watch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K_-gpgTy_8

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” also translated to spanish.

Also see:

In Heborn, Boy, Five, Begs Israeli Soldiers Not To Take His Dad

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcC1sXsu6Sw&feature=youtube_gdata

TV cameras have captured the distressing moment a five-year-old Palestinian boy sees his father arrested for stealing water.

Khaled Jabari wails in torment and confusion as Israeli soldiers drag away his father Fadel in the West Bank district of Hebron.

Walking barefoot, the youngster becomes hysterical as he pleads with the troops not to take his father away.

One of the soldiers picks up the lad and removes him from the scene before Fadel is driven away in a four-wheel-drive.

After watching the footage, Hashem Abu Maria, of the Defence For Children International charity, said it was obvious the child thought his father would never return.

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DAY OF JOY IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/07/day-of-joy-in-occupied-palestine/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/07/day-of-joy-in-occupied-palestine/#comments Sat, 24 Jul 2010 06:34:12 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=6160 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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MAZIN : Palestinian Responsibility http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/07/mazin-palestinian-responsibility/ http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/07/mazin-palestinian-responsibility/#comments Tue, 13 Jul 2010 04:53:22 +0000 Debbie http://mycatbirdseat.com/?p=5627 BY MAZIN QUMSIYEH

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses” - Alphonse Karr

It took over 10 hours to cross from Amman, Jordan to the Ghetto of Bethlehem, a distance of 60 miles. From the first moment on the bridge from Jordan, we begin to be immersed in Palestinian suffering.

The 19 days outside of Palestine are not possible for most Palestinians. Yet, this was not a vacation and I gave many talks and spent lots of time in cars, trains, and planes. During the travel time, we can have time to think and reflect on many things and this short assay on Palestinian responsibility is a fruit of many hours of this. During this trip I met many Palestinians, far more than before. Many were dedicated activists and others attended our talk out of curiosity or a sense of obligation. In Jordan we stayed with close friends (Palestinians originally from Hebron). We interacted with many others of all backgrounds.

We even had a chance to briefly visit one of the many proliferating malls in Amman (this one is called ‘Mecca Mall’!). The mostly Palestinian population, like the rest of the society in Jordan, is divided between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. I was reminded of my visit with the Wheels of Justice bus tour to New Orleans months before the catastrophe of Katrina Hurricane and flooding.

There in the deep South in richest country on earth was also a city that is deeply divided economically. The hundreds of customers whether in a rich mall in Amman or New Orleans have the same ‘choices’: Starbucks, United Colors of Benetton, and MacDonalds, trendy shops with latest lingerie and other fashions.

The reality of life just 30 km to the west in the occupied areas is as alien to those Palestinian shoppers as it is to their American counterparts. I thus pondered on our collective human responsibility to address injustice. Nowhere else in the world today is there a more obvious example of massive and blatant injustice of ethnic cleansing, colonization, murder, and distortions of reality than that associated with creation and maintenance of a ‘Jewish [Zionist] state’.

That this process was initiated and promoted by Europeans and later Americans leaves the people of these countries with the duty to act to rectify this injustice. Many take this very seriously. I was touched by the passion and dedication of many Italians to the Palestinian cause. But ultimately, the main responsibility for Palestinian liberation and well being falls on us Palestinians.

In my visit to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, I was saddened to see the basically inhuman conditions of life. Yes, we must blame the Lebanese government for this but we also must look in the mirror. How many Palestinians who are of the ‘haves’ category are actually caring enough with deeds (and not mere words) about their fellow Palestinians.

While we seek and appreciate solidarity and joint struggle with all people, we must rely on ourselves first and foremost. I just finished a book on history of popular resistance in Palestine. That there are millions of Palestinians in Palestine despite all the Zionist effort is testament to the efficacy and depth of this resistance and caring. That millions more who were forced to leave refuse to forget where they came from indicates the fallacy of the notion advocated by Zionists of ‘the old will die and the young will forget.’ But keeping the attachment and acting strongly to defend your right are two related but separate issues. And those who are truly dedicated to act for the cause in any nation remain a minority that we should try to grow.

How many people get involved and how many dedicate their life to the struggle can be the deciding factors in the success of any liberation movement. Success can come using mixtures of different tools. No two liberation movements follow the same paths. Lessons can be drawn from Places like Algeria, Vietnam, and South Africa but these stories are different and liberation in Palestine will be different when it comes (some would say if it comes). I believe we have significant and unique opportunities to move forward positively. Here are just five of hundreds of reasons for my optimism.

1. The International civil society is emerging and mobilizing in unprecedented large numbers to help challenge the oppression and colonization in Palestine (think of the growth of social media activism, websites, International Solidarity Movement, Free Gaza Movement, Freedom Flotilla etc.).

2. The Zionist project represents the antithesis of morality and justice in such a blatant way that no caring and decent human being can ignore. It is obvious to all that it is wrong to ethnically cleanse a country of its native inhabitants in order to bring people of a particular religion and create a state of such immigrants with a set of racist laws to ensure hegemony. Thus, it carries the seeds of its ultimate destruction within its own ideology. Its persistent war crimes and crimes against humanity (in Deir Yassin, Nablus, Jenin, Gaza, Lebanon, international waters etc) are but the natural symptoms of the pathology.

3. The Zionist project is now recognized internationally (despite the massive propaganda efforts) as a destabilizing force not only locally but internationally. From its inception in the 19th century, political Zionism survived only by creating divisions and wars. But people are tired of conflicts and wars. Wars also used to have little cost to the Zionist movement. In the last few years, the cost of war has risen and Zionists cannot wage wars without some blow back hitting them where it really hurts (think Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008/9).

4. The growth of the boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS movement) has been phenomenal (visit bdsmovement.net for details). The Israeli government is frantically trying to suppress this but they always end up promoting it by their own arrogance of power. The arrogance of power that allows Israel to lose Turkey as an ally or to forge passports of ‘friendly countries’ will lead them to lose what few allies they have left.

5. For every act of murder or destruction, for every attack on a human rights activist, Israel creates many folds more resistance. The murder of Rachel Corrie generated thousands of Rachel’s and her story is now known by millions (Google gives 1.9 million hits). After the attack on the flotilla of 6 ships, we will now have 60 ships arriving in September. Each of the hundreds of activists who were unjustly kidnapped in International waters, mistreated, and stripped of his/her belongings is now a lifelong activist for Palestine.

We cry over the Bassem AbuRahma (see videos at youtube.com/watch?v=XlbzuZ_50mU and youtube.com/watch?v=F91H8sR64Ro) and thousands of other innocent Palestinian victims of Israeli crimes. We cry over the many internationals who lost their lives such as Rachel Corrie (see Rachelcorrie.org/) and the victims of the Mavi Marmara (see flickr.com/photos/freegaza/?saved=1). To honor these martyrs for this good cause, we must turn tears into action and shatter any remaining ‘deafening silence’ and negativism among our people (and here I mean Palestinians and other fellow human beings). We do see corruption, defeatism, and lack of self confidence among many people (Palestinians and others).

We must challenge these human frailties but this can only be done by putting out positive actions and examples. As we learn from basic physics, only the pluses can neutralize the minuses. The good news is that we see more and more pluses and more and more people deciding to get off the proverbial couch and get into the fields. Here the harsh winds blow, the vultures circle, the dogs bark, but the caravan of freedom moves on and we are getting good company and making great friends along the way.

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.”-Alphonse Karr See also this related article ‘Of Cowardice and solidarity’ qumsiyeh.org/ofcowardicedignityandsolidarity/

Italian famous tenor Joe Fallisi who we met in Italy had created operatic songs for Palestine:

As always, you are 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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Australians for Palestine – Providing a Voice

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