Sunday, June 14

Think Globally & Act Locally

The last week was active as usual. We think globally and act locally. Thinking globally, we notice documents that show the US intelligence supported the armed groups in Syria knowing this is support for extremists which could (and eventually did) spill into Iraq. Wall (Israeli site) also showed Israeli high level meetings in 2012-2014 with “opposition” leaders fighting in Syria (hence the Israeli “humanitarian” aid to the rebels). We note the Israeli Knesset “debate” on how best to crush the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We then had the Hertzlya conference: the apartheid regime elites discussing how best to strengthen apartheid and crush the natives more. The speeches were reminiscent of the speeches of Ku Klux Klan speeches in the 1920s-1940s that prepared the people into a frenzy for lynching blacks. Notable was the fear of BDS and the need to fight it and indeed meetings of representatives of over 50 Jewish organizations spoke about mobilizing tens of millions of dollars to fight BDS. They are also mobilizing their strong lobbies. The (Israeli-occupied) US congress is going to pass a fast track free trade law that will force the US administration specifically to fight BDS claiming that boycotts are against free trade (except of course when it is directed at Iran and similar countries!). Now what needs to be done is for the Arab countries and the Palestinian authority to mobilize to support BDS and insist on no double standards! This anti-BDS campaign give us and those who genuinely care about human rights many opportunities to achieve things. I hope they will not pass-up these opportunities like they passed up the opportunity after the frenzied attack on the UN report (Goldstone) about the massacres in Gaza. Then there is the Israeli military exonerating itself for murder. These “internal examinations” are sometimes launched when there is such a horrendous and obvious crime and inevitably months later, the soldiers are “exonerated”. For example, the killing of four children 9 to 11 year old who were playing at the beach was such an obvious crime against humanity (15 July 2014). Separatey, Israeli “high court” ruled that Palestinians cannot have planning rights in areas they live under Israeli occupation (ie. Cementing apartheid).

That is thinking globally. Now acting locally: we have had amazing success thanks to really good people and busy events every day. Here are just selected examples. The week started with good news that Israeli forces released our friend Lina Khatib, a Palestinian student from Birzeit after months in apartheid prisons. We also concluded a three day conference organized by the Palestinian Oncology Society (see Over 150 participants enjoyed the science and clinical information at the conference and also had a chance to enoy bethlehem area attractions. I guided a bus-load to the Western area of Bethlehem including the UNESCO world heritage site Battir. I was honored to attend, meet good people, be honored with a beautiful plaque, and speak about hematologic malignancies in Palestine. Thursday we had a nice gathering to remember and honor our friend the late Almut Hoffman who died prematurely of cancer. A great friend of human rights and f Palestine. Last night we had a gathering of rotary friends, picked apricots, and ate barbecue meat. Today we did a workshop on scorpions at the Palestine Museum of Natural History where we  (19 who attended) observed living scorpions of many species, learned about their fascinating lives, and even made a scorpion out of wires. Tomorrow we have a workshop on water and sanitation also at the museum. Life goes on in its ups and downs but we are grateful for all experiences (good or bad) as they strengthen us. Throughout the week we had graduation ceremonies in several Palestinian universities. Dozens of graduates were our friends and colleagues. Two we hired at the Palestine Museum of Natural History (Elias Biologist, Mohammad/Agricultural specialist). We still seek volunteers. Great to build a future generation even under occupation. They will be the ones to change the world. 

Reminder: I travel to Europe next week (Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Zurich etc) and I am sure will meet some of you and meet new people.

Great video of Palestine with poetry of Mahmoud Darwish
And here is a tourism link:

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University

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