25 October 2015

Who build up Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness!...

"Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance. Therefore, the Lord says: “I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity. In that day people will ridicule you …Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel! You who abhor what is just, and pervert all that is right; Who build up Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness!..." (Old Testament/Torah, Micah 2 and 3)

I have just returned to my beloved Palestine after a short (five day) trip to the United States. Harassed by officials, losing my luggage (still not located) and lack of sleep reminded me why I do not like to travel much (but must do occasionally). Most painful for me was being away from friends and colleagues and compatriots being injured or killed and their livelihoods destroyed. Just before I left, we paid respect to the family of 23 year old Muataz Zawahra, a brilliant, bright young man who was shot in Bethlehem as he demonstrated against the wall that strangles our ghetto. Now I need to go to pay respects to the family of another non-violent activist (our colleague Hashem Azziz) who died from inhaling the poisonous tear gas that Israel is using on us. This gas has already caused one of our bee colonies at the museum to leave us because gas does drift to our botanical garden almost daily now. Israel also is blocking more roads and making what used to be a very difficult life virtually impossible (today traffic is impossible getting to Bethlehem University by cars).

My master students have not had classes for two weeks. We all feel frustrated but most of us know that the brutality Israel is inflicting will not work and that freedom will be coming after decades of colonial occupation. In fact there are reports of leaked CIA documents that predict that since the two state solution has been ended (due to the fact that 650,000 Jewish settlers live inside the West Bank), that the one democratic state solution is the only possible outcome. This will mean the end of Zionism and many racist Zionists understand this and want to use these last opportunities to exercise their freedom of killing and destroying Palestinians with impunity. Perhaps to the set the stage for that internally, the Prime Minister of Israel has just absolved Hitler of his crimes and ludicrously claimed that he only wanted to expel Jews and that a Palestinian convinced him to kill the Jews. An Israeli representative at the United Nations also (unbelievably) claimed that Palestinians are teaching their students in school how to stab Jews. This is a prelude to justifying genocide.

Social media like Facebook is full of videos and documented evidence as to the reality of what is going on here (brutality of the colonial occupation, Palestinian anger facing repressive measures, Israeli soldiers planting knives next to victims etc). I do not want to make this letter long by describing this here. Those who are interested can read the alternative media like maannews.com or electronicintifada.net or english.pnn.ps or IMEMC.org . This is to be compared to the spineless “coverage” of mainstream Western media outlets (many of them dominated by establishment figures). But even there in these outlets, we see see true stories occasionally. And even in the Israeli media we see glimpses of hope (see for example the article below in Haaretz). We look to a post-Zionist (post apartheid) future when people of all religious faiths live here in harmony and mutual respect in a pluralistic democratic society.

We will not give up. We will live. We will educate our children well. We will build institutions for the future where we respect ourselves, respect others, and respect nature (as we are doing with our botanical garden and museum of natural history at Bethlehem University http://palestinenature.org) In good news, Scandinavian Airlines, SAS, announced yesterday that it has stopped flights to Israel because of the lack of profitability and risky business. But in bad news: Israel is now blocking off Palestinian neighbourhoods in and around East Jerusalem with concrete blocks and walls. This is ghettoization and naked apartheid. This is yet a further crime against humanity done with impunity, This culture of impunity must end.

Summary of Prof Qumsiyeh talks in the US - https://shar.es/1uQVx

Haaretz The Single-state Solution Is Already Here http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.680882

IMAGE Kifah gives birth to Ahmad in the street and in the night - in the Holy Land 11 January 2008 Story - see