Saturday, January 1, 2011

Palestinian Peace Hero

Mazin, formerly a professor in the US, now teaching in Bethlehem, visited Fayetteville several years as part of the WHEELS OF JUSTICE bus tour for Palestine. D

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Palestinian Peace and Human Rights Hero
[HumanRights] The first martyr of 2011 and where we go from here

Dear friends:

We were devastated to hear the news of the first martyr in 2011 being none
other than Jawaher, the sister of the martyr Bassem Abu Rahma from Bil'in.
Jawaher fainted in yesterday's demonstration but died apparently of this
toxic tear gas (a much stronger version with unknown chemicals than used in
the West). Here is a video of the demonstration where Jawaher was injured
(she was martyred in hospital the next day)

Here is a video of the murder of her brother Bassem over a year ago

To keep up to date on developments in Bil'in, visit

Those of you in Bethlehem area and want to get together to collect our
thoughts, share our feelings etc, are welcome to come to my house tonight
(Saturday until midnight). I will still go ahead and post my reflection
that I wrote last night on the ending year for my thoughts are only deepened
by this tragedy. You can also send condolence email to Dr. Rateb Abu Rahma
Many writers came up with many ideas about 2010 and even occasionally
predictions about 2011. Perhaps the most common theme among rational
commentators is that this was the year were truth began to come out in such
a large dose that it was hard to sustain mythology and the most common hope
for 2011 is to see peace and justice prevail (no more ethnic cleansing, no
more killing etc). When we mention truth we are not talking here merely
about wikileaks (what is released here still remains the tip of the
iceberg). We are talking about a number of studies, reports, slips, and
scandals that came out that shook those in power. Gideon Levy said in
Haaretz that we may reflect on it as a year of truth for Israel, a year
where the fog of mythologies cleared away and the world saw reality for what
it is, that Israel is a society that does not desire peace but that is a
racist society interested in more land grabs from native Palestinians. He
concludes that "There is nothing like sunshine for disinfecting, so this was
a relatively good year." Others brought out the Goldstone report about
Israeli massacres in Gaza. Others mentioned the smuggling of a long tape
(out of thousands of cameras, computers, photos, and documents) and the
testimony of survivors that showed the true nature of the criminal Israeli
attack on humanitarian ships in International waters (not the manufactured
tapes of the Israeli military). Palestinians talked about the scandals in
the Palestinian authority and now the beginning of eth fall of corruption
like with the Husseini and Dahlan affairs (both of them trying to protect
themselves by threatening to expose other corruption).

In 2010, a number of events on the personal level were meaningful:
- The death of both my brothers-in-laws leaving both of my sisters widows at
a young age (both younger than me).
- The death of other friends and inspiring personalities from Howard Zinn
- We had many run-ins with Israeli occupation authorities. Arrested twice,
detained twice, charged with non-existent "traffic' violation once, gassed
and pushed and harassed several times, soldiers invaded our neighborhood
looking for me once.
- Took trips to Italy (twice in January and June), to the US (in March), to
Turkey (in July), and to Germany (November) speaking about realities under
occupation (over 30 talks in total on these trips)
- I gave over 50 other talks to visiting groups in Palestine (delegations
from over 20 countries). I also helped put together four national and
international conferences.
- We finally got my book completed and published; this took much work during
the year. "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and
Empowerment" is already selling well and will be out in the US this week.
- Participated in over 100 events of resistance some like our march through
the wall from Bethlehem to Jerusalem during Palm Sunday (when even our
Donkey and mules were arrested) and our actions in the last week of the year
with over 80 activists from euro-Palestine were truly inspiring and highly
successful events
- We started offering services in our new clinical laboratory
- I provided consulting for laboratory in the US in clinical cytogenetics
- Taught courses at Birzeit and Bethlehem Universities
- We did field trips and research on aspects of biodiversity and chromosomes
of animals in Palestine
- Supervized research by masters students some of it yielded significant and
meaningful results that are of use in Palestine
- Our son visited us from the US during olive harvest and we had a great
harvest, twice the output of last year.

Events at the personal level as can be seen above are not
disconnected/separate from the bigger picture of happenings around us:

-The Israelis constructed a watch tower at Ush Ghrab and we protested but
those in power structures in the town wanted no protests
-There were over 100 meaningful actions of Boycotts, Divestments, and
Sanctions around the world
-Palestinian school students invent a seeing walking stick for the blind
-Hundreds of internationals attempt to get into Gaza with a freedom flotilla
of ships. Israeli criminal gangs (pirates) attack them in International
waters and murder 9 and kidnap all others. They finally released them after
mistreatment and after stealing all their cameras, videos, and photos
(trying to suppress the story). One video smuggled out showed Israeli
commandoes executing human rights activists
- The Haifa conference and the Houston conference and the Stuttgart and
other conferences around the world emphasized a one state scenario with the
right of return
- Israel attacks the Goldstone report and refuses an international
independent investigation of its breeches of International law
-The charade of a peace process was reignited for a while but then quickly
extinguished by continued Israeli colonial settlement activities
-Israel's government and public continue to support open racism in both laws
proposed and passed in the Knesset and those rulings in certain
municipalities and in edicts issued by prominent Rabbis. From laws to
demand loyalty from non-Jews to a "Jewish state" to demanding no dating or
marriage between Jews and non-Jews, to denial of right to rent in cities
like Safad (used to be Arab city and now Judaicized).

I send an email once a week summarizing events here in Palestine especially
on popular resistance and our own thoughts and experiences and these are
archived at

So we look with pride and sadness at the year that passed and look forward
to a better year to come. Like life in general, 2010 had lots of tragedies
and setbacks but also lots of successes and meaningful moments. I
especially appreciate that we met hundreds of new people during the year;
some have become very good friends. He last week for example, we traveled
around with nearly a hundred internationals to places like Al-Walaja and
Bil'in that so much suffering. We were energized by the actions even though
some of us were injured, some of us arrested. So we look for 2011 as
hopefully a year of peace and justice. This can only happen if enough
people get around ACTIONS (not mere talks), actions like popular resistance,
actions like media work, and actions like boycotts, divestments, and

Here are 50 actions you can do for Palestine in 2011

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

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