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Tuesday, October 21

Mazin Qumsiyeh ON Olives and nature
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We just finished harvesting our olive trees.  It is hard work and in our case produces a limited material since we only have five trees in our yard (this year 45 kg of oil and we pickled some jars of olives). But many of our friends and relatives can only dream of their olive trees which are now on the other side of segregation and annexation wall. One of the volunteers in our museum of Natural History ( tells me that his family had 150 olive trees and they were able to visit  through a special permit four years ago and they had to walk through a special gate in the apartheid wall many kilometers away from their land (no mechanized transportation allowed on the land). Alas Israel then uses many rules to steal Palestinian lands (they restrict or prevent access to the land and then they confiscate it because it is "not tended").  But this is one of the 100+ ways to steal land. Zionists are sophisticated 20th and 21st century land pirates. But still Palestinians who still have access to some of their lands or some of their olive trees keep trying and keep persisting. It is what we call sumud. Activists from around the world come to help especially in teh areas near the Jewish racist colonies built on stolen land. Settlers this season like in other seasons, steal olives, burn olive trees, and attack farmers. The Israeli government encourages them with subsidies and military protection.

Many of the readers of my weekly emails ask that I tell them what is going on here and I do but I am also focused on what we (every one of us) can do to change circumstances and not just here but around the globe. I try to make suggestion for actions but I believe fundamental transformation in our societies is needed to transform our world from this suicidal path we are going down (wars, conflicts, climate change, consumerism etc). Sometimes it is very difficult to effect transformation in societies. Transformation comes from people but most people follow the their own minds which are shaped by preexisting conditions and prejudices. Most people (especially older ones) have limited capacity to change because they are trapped in their own minds which are shaped by years of conditioning through family, through religious teachings, through schools, and through a community.Early education is important but we also do not despair of changing adults starting with ourselves. Change is integral to life. We as a species can do better and must do better.

An important article about our Palestine Museum of Natural History published in the excellent magazine called "This Week in Palestine"
(even though the museum is not open to the public now, we welcome visitors by arrangement especially those who may help us through volunteer or other ways, see )
An article I wrote 5 years ago about the olives and the olive harvest

Under cover of reconstruction, UN and PA become enforcers of Israel's Gaza siege

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Bethlehem University
personal webpage 

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