090510-qumsiyehDr MAZIN QUMSIYEH is a tireless activist for Palestinian human rights who returned to his hometown of Beit Sahour in the Israeli-occupied West Bank last year and now teaches at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. The author of Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle (2004), Qumsiyeh is both a human rights activist and a scientist who has a lengthy list of publications on genetics to his credit. The Electronic Intifada contributor Ida Audeh met with him in April and discussed advocating the Palestinian cause in the United States and his impressions about the current direction of the Palestinian struggle.

During the 29 years he lived in the United States, Qumsiyeh earned masters and doctoral degrees; taught at several prestigious universities, including Duke and Yale; co-founded activist organizations (Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition and the Wheels of Justice Tour — a traveling tour bus that stops at different communities to educate them about Palestine and Iraq); and was a board member for numerous organizations. Since the mid-1990s, he has maintained email lists that focus on human rights and international law. His weekly postings now reach approximately 50,000 individuals and include reports of events and comments that are informed by a deep understanding of common struggles in other parts of the world. An optimist who advocates “having joyful participation in the sorrows of this world,” he includes in every e-mail at least one action that the reader can take to make a difference. (From an interview with Ida Audeh, The Electronic Intifada , 11 May 2009)


Settlers come to Ush Ghrab in Beit Sahour every week and the army lies to the mayor of Beit Sahour by claiming that their presence deters the settlers.  The reverse is true and settlers of course get army permission and protection which emboldens them.  On Feb 5th, when the army was bulldozing in the area and had a military order for closing the area for
military purposes preventing us from getting close, the settlers were inside and having a lecture (and bragged about it on their website).  At the end of the video from Al-Masara confrontation Friday, I had a short section with settler graffiti at the wall in Ush Ghrab (see here).  Many who watched the video asked me what it says.  Here it goes: “To our dear soldiers, Welcome back to Shdema!” “When the IDF wants – he is the Best!” “To the IDF, Welcome to Jewish Shdema” + star of david, “To the IDF with love, from the Committee for Shdema”. It is time for putting up stiffer resistance to the occupier presence (soldiers and settlers).  Bethlehem area showed the success of strong popular resistance in the 1980s (e.g. with the tax revolt) and we see its success in places like Bil’in today.  Join us Sunday Morning (10:30) in Ush Ghrab in Beit Sahour.

How Settlers Prevented The Construction of a Palestinian Hospital
[Good read]
by Hagit Ofran

” Once again, even Americans cannot stand up to a small group of settlers, who show – more often than not – that they have the last word on what takes place in the West Bank. This time, a small group of settlers insisted, and succeeded, to squash a plan for building a hospital for Palestinian children at “Oush Grab” (“the Crow’s Nest”) east of Bethlehem” (Huffington Post)

Also see “Under pressure from settlers, IDF rebuilding West Bank watchtower” (Haaretz)

(on the scandal of the Israeli abuse of British passports) “The tide has changed” by Gilad Atzmon

This scandal is even incensing traditional Israeli apologists.  One Zionist who regularly writes in Haaretz wrote:  “Determined to take our fate into its own hands. Israel, at its highest level, has decided that the job of delegitimizing the Jewish state must not be left to foreigners and amateurs. Showing itself desperate to be a pariah state, Israel will now get it done on its own. What the far-left from Britain to Berkeley has been been unable to bring off – a sense among Israel’s allies that Israel has become a heartless, morally heedless aggressor state worthy of sanction and shunning – the far-right in Israel’s own government, and in particular, its Foreign Ministry, seems determined to inculcate to the full. It wasn’t enough to threaten our relations with the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Austria and the whole of the European Union, as well as the emirates and other moderate Muslim states, by apparently violating the basic conventions of all civilized states in the Dubai murder. ..”

What this gentleman fails to see is that this was the predictable outcome of the enterprise in the same way that Apartheid in South Africa had a predictable outcome. Unfortunately, those lessons in history tell us that the meanness will get worse as the regime feels cornered and will not face the reality of its own racism but starts to lash-out at anything and everything.  That is the last stage of dismantlement of racism.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Popular Committee to Defend Ush Ghrab (PCDUG)
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home

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