Dr 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)

I was released from detention after investigation only with minor bruises, threats and warnings but both Israeli activists Shy and Yotam were brought in front of a judge on some false charges and judged to stay away from the wall for 30 days (last time for me it was 15 days) with hefty fines if they violate the order.  I was honored to share a few hours with them in detention.  The past two days have not been easy (videos below). Yesterday (Tuesday June 8th), we witnessed how the land of Al-Walaja was being destroyed.  Abu Nidal watched as Israeli colonizers uprooted olive trees that his family has planted decades ago and trees donated by Europeans 8 years ago.  After the devastation, activists were determined to do something and this morning some even chained themselves to a bulldozer.  The ‘Border police’ are known for being ruthless and mean.  In this case, there was also the added complication of the Israeli army deciding to put a unit headed by a Druze officer named Asa’ad that included a mix of Ashkenazim and Druze and a token black soldier.  One of the Ashkenazi soldiers was particularly aggressive.  The Druze soldiers appeared out of place. Some soldiers confided that they are merely forced to serve.  But Captain Asa’ad was clearly in command and interested in action.  He was busy ordering his soldiers to push us around, instructing them to not talk to us, telling them to arrest us etc.  After Yotam was arrested for chaining himself to the bulldozer, we were pushed up the hill toward the paved village road past the old destroyed fig tree that Zakhariya used to sit under every day for decades.  We had a sit-in for over an hour at the side of the street. Towards the end of it, it was clear that this commander had it in for us. At two times as I was trying to talk to him and his soldiers, he came to tell me that I would be arrested.  As we finally ended our sit-in and were moving away from the soldiers, the commander called for me and took my ID card and told me I was being detained.  As his soldier led me away, other activists rushed to talk to the soldiers including the commander.  I was thus not surprised to see Shy also arrested even though he did not do
anything other than trying to talk to the occupation soldiers about why they detained me. I was released without charges four hours later with a strong warning and threat from Asa’ad  that he would shackle me, hurt me, ‘and worse’ if he caught me near the wall work areas again.  Shy and Yotam were given a suspended sentence but they must stay away from the wall areas for 30 days. If you know any Druze, I urge you to write to them.  It is a shame what they are doing serving in an army of occupation.  But it is also a shame for any human being to serve in such a sadistic brutalizing colonization force.

Heartbreaking video of devastation Tuesday June 8th at

And the action and arrests on Wednesday June 9th

And here is a report from Palestine monitor with great photos

This destruction is carried on while the US administration bribes Mahmoud Abbas with more millions in aid for more streets and government buildings and security forces to ensure we do not have any demonstrations against the occupation. This is done as the US shields Israel from International law and sends more arms shipments to Israel in violation of US law (which demands weapons not be used to violate human rights)

Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan” by Craig Murray

PLEASE  ACT on the call from Palestinian Civil Society for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel and continue to write and demonstrate
and increase the pressure on the supine media and politicians.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities
Chairman of the Board, Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People,

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