Author: Qumsiyeh

School

This is a school in Beit Taamar that has been demolished by the Israeli occupation the day before it opened. Students went to a demolished school but volunteers quickly rebuilt the school. The Palestine Museum of Natural History donated some school supplies.

هذه هي مدرسة التحدي 5 في بيت تعمر التي هدمها الاحتلال الإسرائيلي قبل يوم من افتتاحها.  
ولكن المتطوعين أعادوا بناء المدرسة بسرعة وقام وزير التربية بافتتاحها. وقد تبرع متحف فلسطين للتاريخ الطبيعي ببعض اللوازم المدرسية

Qavi 1936-2017

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Mohammed Abdul Qavi who died peacefully on Sunday 27th August 2017 in his beloved Palestine.


Qavi was born in Delhi, India, on 6 February 1936, and moved with his family to Karachi, Pakistan following the partition in 1948 (he noted it as a nakba/catastrophe for the people). His second 12 years were spent in Karachi and Sind followed by 14 years in Chittagong and Dhaka (then East Pakistan) where he married and had his first child. In the early 1970’s, Qavi established his interior fitting business in Sharjah, UAE, in 1974 which resulted in a career highlight, winning the contract for the interior of the Dubai World Trade Tower in 1979. During his time in the UAE, Qavi also won numerous bridge trophies and also regularly enjoyed the international cricket scene.


Qavi and family, by now including his two daughters, moved to the UK in 1983, settling first in Kew where Qavi would spend the weekends walking in the gardens with his children and then moved to Blackheath, London. Here, Qavi bought both his first home, and the pine furniture business that he ran until he retired. He relished the cultural opportunities that London offered and indulged his love of books and literature, which he inherited from his parents. Qavi delighted in attending the theatre, and concerts of both Indian and Western classical music, for many years, holding a season ticket for the Proms.


Qavi loved poetry, reading and reciting in Urdu, Persian and English, and had a keen interest in world history and current affairs. He enjoyed cooking Indian food for friends and engaging in deep discussions of subjects ranging from human rights to philosophy to poetry. Qavi attended local chapter meetings of the United Nations Association, Quaker meetings for worship, the winter gathering of the Muslim Institute, and many other political gatherings, developing a wide network of friends and fellow activists.


Qavi strongly believed in being the change that he wanted to see, and would act wherever he saw injustice. He began staging regular peaceful protests, starting initially in the late 1990’s in Blackheath village with a placard that read ‘Repair the World, Do Not Destroy It’, and outside the Pakistan High Commission in London against the complicity of the Pakistani government in the US attacks on Afghanistan in 2001, with a banner that read in Urdu ‘You Have Sold The Blood of Our Martyrs’. From then on, Qavi would regularly attend peaceful protests and demonstrations, including those against the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and in support of the Occupy movement. Qavi continued his own regular vigils, and also joined the campaigner Brian Haw in his protests against the US and its coalition partners in the bombing of the Iraqi people and killing of thousand children due to sanctions on Iraq.


Qavi had a lifelong passion for education believing in the power of knowledge to transform societies. When he was a teenager, on passing his Matriculation exams, he collected old textbooks and arranged distribution of these to needy students. This was the beginning of the Students Welfare Organisation (SWO), one of the oldest student social organisations in Pakistan, that continues to be active today, helping the children of disadvantages parents in Karachi. Indeed, when Qavi visited Karachi in 2012, the SWO held a reception to honor one of it’s founders at which Qavi delivered a speech recounting the genesis of the organisation.


Continuing his support for education in Pakistan, Qavi funded the schooling of many children and students, both personally and through welfare organisations. He arranged the distribution of hundreds of books to the libraries of schools and institutions in Karachi and beyond. In 2004, Qavi founded the Roshni Welfare Trust, in memory of his parents, which as well as continuing to support education, distributed ration bags during the holy month of Ramadan to needy families. He also funded the building of a school through The Citizen Foundation in his home district of Shah Faisal Colony, Karachi, that has been serving underprivileged families since 2005.


In the UK, Qavi funded scholarships in Maths and Physics at the school his daughters attended in Blackheath, in their name.


Qavi first visited Palestine in 2002 and then devoted most of his time either in Palestine or working for it. His activism and philanthropy in this regard included establishing a scholarship fund that covered tuitions for over 100 students in four Palestinian Universities, passing out books and literature especially to young people, and attending regular peace vigils.  


Qavi admired poems and life of the late Tawfiq Ziyad (previous mayor of Nazareth and member of the Israeli Knesset) and met with his widow and daughter. This part of one poem is now found around the occupied Palestinian areas courtesy of Qavi:
Here we will stay (Huna Baqun)
In Lidda, in Ramle, in the Galilee
Here we will stay
Like a wall on your chest
And in your throat
Like a shard of glass, a cactus thorn
And in your eyes
A sandstorm


The defiant message of persistence of native people resonated with all. But Qavi was such a gentle spirit and every week he held a sign that had in Hebrew ‘Tikkun Olam’ (repair the world) and in English ‘Keep The Hope Alive’ which he held silently even in the most harrowing of circumstances. The last poem he had translated to Arabic and distributed was “Mourn Not the Dead” by Ralph Chaplin


Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie
Dust unto dust
The calm sweet earth that mothers all who die
As all men must;
Mourn not your captured comrades who must dwell
Too strong to strive
Each in his steel-bound coffin of a cell,
Buried alive;
But rather mourn the apathetic throng
The cowed and the meek
Who see the world’s great anguish and its wrong
And dare not speak!


Qavi was one who not only spoke but worked and donated in ways that created an amazing ripple effect for peace and justice.


He is survived by his wife Zarina, children Saad, Tara, and Mohini and grandchildren Aisha, Yasmin, and Cosimo, his brothers, Salaam and Ghani, and hundreds of his friends who will remember his sage advice.


Memorials will be held in Bethlehem and London on the following dates and locations:


6th October 2017 at 5 PM TBC October 2017
Palestine Museum of Natural History      Quaker Meeting House
Bethlehem University Lawn Terrance, Blackheath
Bethlehem, Palestine London SE3 9LL, UK

http://Palestinenature.org/visit http://www.blackheathquakers.org.uk/

Qavi RIP

Many many v sincere condolences to all from Robert B & family… Qavi will be v.sorely missed by us all♪♫Robert.Bunzl

I am sorry to hear of Qavi’s death.  He was a true friend of Palestine, and I owe much to him myself.  I met him through the Quakers that he attended in Blackheath and he was for a time my my mentor about Palestine, showing me things to read and organisations to visit, and assisting me during my second visit in early 2016. I am glad that he was able to die in a place he loved so much.

I am not planning on traveling to Bethlehem, but would like to know if any commemorative event is planned in the UK.

Best

Jonathan Coulter

Bromley, UK

­­­­­­­­

Am so sorry
Elizabeth Oritsejolomi Dudley 

Ibrahim and I send our condolences. At least he was able to be in his beloved Palestine.
Love,
Dana and Ibrahim

Thank you for sending this.. He was a wonderful man. We would be glad to know if there are any celebrations of his life in London.
Jean Hale

I offer my best wishes and sympathies to your circle in the loss of Mohammed Abdul Qavi.  Have a good day tomorrow and thereafter.
While writing, I must tell you that I am in correspondence with my friend Monica Spooner of the Balfour movement.  She and her husband were in our congregation in Edinburgh 1993-2004. She tells me that she has visited you in Bethlehem.
I meet our Interfaith Forum this week, which may be enriched by a convert to Judaism!
Shalom, salaam, Pax.
Paul King.

So sorry to hear of the passing of a great Peace Activist, Educator and Advocate for Human Rights, Mohammad Abdul Qavi. May he rest in eternal peace and may his bravery, commitment and love for equality and justice, inspire many to continue the battle for a safer, peaceful and equally prosperous and caring world.

Liam

I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Mr Qavi. May his soul rest in peace.
I have copied some of our common friends.
Regards

Nader Cheema

My sympathy and condolences.  May he rest in peace.  Ruth Moynihan

Thank you for your message. I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Mohammad Qavi – he was a neighbor of mine when we lived at Blackheath in London and so I knew him reasonably well. He was a true humanitarian and right now this world is desperately in need of people like him.  I am grateful that you communicated this news because it is unlikely that I would have known otherwise so thank you and I will say a prayer for hi.
Eamonn

Heartbreaking news of my friend Qavi .  Is there any contact in London you would like me to inform?  Helen

Is there anyone in Seattle I could get together with to commemorate his life? I believe we met Qavi at the Women’s Union in 2016, when we were there on a CADFA women’s visit. We were very glad to meet him and so sorry about this news. I would like to send my condolences.

Nandita CADFA

Thank you so much for giving me the sad news of Mr Qavi’s death. May he rest in peace. He was good enough to introduce me to the Fridayvigil. He was and is an example of how one can bear witness, something we all of us ( esp I ) can look to for inspiration. I intend to return to Bethleham, as I outlined to you, I’m still working on my finances! With love to Jessie and yourself,
Valerie Braganza Morton

What sad news, when I met Qavi in 2015 he had such an important on me. Recently he has helped me get funds to Wi’am and when with friends to look at women’s training needs around plumbing. He was  so erudite, compassionate, politically wise, someone who  understood people and see beyond narrow boundaries. I will be wroth you in thought from Scotland as you mourn his loss and celebrate his life. Kind regards
Laura smith

With great sadness we have read your message bearing the sad news of Qavi’s  death. It is a  great loss for  yours as well as  our community in  Blackeath/Greenwich. We have known Qavi since with my family we moved into the neighbourhood  where he  owned the Pine Furniture shop in the Blackheath village,  40 years ago. Having previously served some years in Pakistan we had a lot in common, and whenever in London from foreign postings we would see Qavi,  sometimes as customers visiting his shop, but more often for an exchange of views on current political opinions.  But it was when Qavi retired that he impressed most when he turned into a diligent political activist always ready to put his brave man’s  voice in the service of different  good causes, Palestine to start with. It was in our local OUN organisation that he was prominent and engaged. Most Saturdays  when here he would be an important resistence voice in the village,  protesting against current injustices and  holding his manifesto, sitting or standing in the most prominent place in the village. We all respected his important decision that  he voiced when learning to be unwell. It was then that he sold his house here in order to move to Palestine for good. We shall miss him but also  cherish the memory of the  man who should be a shining model to many.
Peace be with him.
Vesna and Malcolm Hardy

He was a great man. May is soul rest in peace. 

Sahar Qumsiyeh 

It is really very sad to learn about the death of Qavi and I will miss him much during my next visit to  Palestine. I remember when Jessie took care of his bed cover when he felt  too much the cool night in the guest house. He was part of our nice and warm Beit Sahour  family. Now I am longing for the time when I will see you all again hopefully this December 2017.

Love Frigga Karl

So sorry for the loss of your friend! That is a cruel loss to bear! Still praying and spreading the word!

Blessings,

Joanie Connors

May God Bless his Soul.

Emile George Khoury

I am so sorry to hear this devastating news. Qavi has a special place in my heart and I will miss him dearly.  I am in the US and sorry to be missing the memorial. Qavi visited my office several years ago with his cane and simple clothing. I didn’t know much about him except that he was a peace lover and was visiting from London where he moved as a young man from India.    Qavi and I had a wonderful relationship and I saw him often especially at the Ramallah Monthly Meeting.  Qavi endowed a scholarship at RFS (the SA’DAT BARI SCHOLARSHIP FUND) and the returns from his endowment are benefitting one of our students every year.   Teary eyed, Qavi shared with me about his tough childhood and how his family circumstances made it difficult for him to attend a good school in India.  He wanted to provide a disadvantaged Palestinian student an opportunity that would otherwise not be possible.  This scholarship will be available as long as the Friends Schools are in existence.
As you reminded us below, Qavi became a passionate advocate for the Palestinian cause. Bethlehem became his new home.  At 81 years, Qavi became a fixture in the non-violent solidarity movement and was spotted at many demonstrations and sit-ins.  Qavi hardly ever missed a Meeting for Worship in Ramallah.  He will be truly missed.
Qavi is an inspiration and an example of a true light of peace and tranquility.
Holding him and his family in the light. May his soul rest in peace.
Joyce Ajlouny

I AM so sad 

Hadeer Sweaty (one of the >100 students he helped with tuitions)

Thank you Professor Mazin for your kind words and making arrangements for his burial today. 

I am his youngest brother working for ICI and living in Pakistan. He spent his life on its own way.  He is a role model for me.   I am grateful to almighty Allah for his blessings to him that he made a lots of good friends like you in his life who are taking care of towards his last destiny. 

Thank you so much. 

Regards. 

Abdul Ghani

Heartfelt condolences on the demise of Qavi, a champion of the cause of the Palestinians.  May his soul rest in peace.
Gnana Robinson

Thank you so much for letting me know. I have known this great man since 1976 in Sharjah, UAE.
Hannah Mallon

My deepest condolences for our friend Qavi and may God rest him in the heavens. Yours Taleb – LA now after 24 hrs in the ways from Malaysia to LA

Taleb Alharethi

My condolences to all is friends in Palestine…Subhi Ali, M.D. 

Thanks Nadir for letting me know. I am shocked to hear this news. Qavi Sahib was such a fine gentleman. I stayed with him as a guest for a few weeks in 2013 and he was an amazingly nice host. Since then I used to correspond with him after every few months. He never mentioned being sick. Wonder what happened to him and how did he die so suddenly? He had once mentioned that some doctor told him he might have Parkinson’s disease. But Qavi Sahib never believed that diagnosis. And he never talked about it again. Even if he did have Parkinson’s disease, it must have been in early stages. He was on medication for some other health-related stuff but he never discussed his health issues and never mentioned being seriously sick. However, very shocked by his sudden death. 

He was such a fine gentleman. He read literature and politics. He was an activist and promoted the rights of Palestinians and other underprivileged and under-dogs. When I lived in his apartment as a guest, he used to volunteer once a week in a soup kitchen. He used to protest against the MQM for a longtime in front of Pakistan High Commission. He also told me that he was fond of going to the theatre.

He came to Pakistan a few years ago and visited Islamabad for a short trip along with his brother from Karachi. Isa and I spent a day with him. That was when I saw him last.

I am feeling extremely sad and shocked to hear the loss of this fine gentleman.

Best regards,

Foqia Khan

THAT MAKES ME SAD TOO! I SEND MY CONDOLENCES TO ALL OF YOU! TERESINKA PEREIRA

Didi joins me in conveying our heartfelt sorrow for the sad news. May Qavi’s soul rest in peace. We feel privileged to have met this true friend of the Palestinian people and benefactor of its science institutions. We hope to attend the planned memorial service when the time and venue are decided.

May we be blessed with knowing more people like this honorable friend,

Hatim and Didi Kanaanah

Ohhhhh so sorry to hear that, I knew Qavi back in London I did not know he was in PM with Sahrour, he was always présent at events to do with Palestine, I am sure he was where he wanted to be at the end of his life. My heart is with you all.
Andree

we are deeply saddened by the loss of Mr Qavi  we were honored and blessed to have known him he was truly one of Alquds university supporters and was an amazing guides and mentor to our students through out the past years with his generosity many students who lack the financial ability was able to over come there situations and continue their education, we will never forget his kindness and he will always be remembered  Please accept our most sincere condolences.

Dana & Dr Ziad Abu Hilal 

I read with shock and sorrow of the death of one of life’s true noble men.  I have known Qavi for many years.  We first met many years ago when both of us stood bail for men under control orders. We shared a passion for human rights and dignity.  We worked on the issue of the men under control orders but mostly we met each other at meetings on Palestine, Qavi with his peace button hole and me as a Jewish supporter of Palestinian human rights. He was a great supporter of Jews for Justice for Palestine and he valued our commitment to the cause.  It was always a joy to see meet up and share our thoughts. He was a man of special qualities and his passing leaves a void hard to fill.  May he rest in peace in Bethlehem, in a place he loved and whose freedom was his constant quest. And may his memory be a blessing.

Diana Neslen

we are sad at this news . may allah sbwt grant maghfarat .
i had known him for many years . he was a good man , an honourable man .
inna lillah wa inna alehai raje’oon .
we pary for his maghfarat.
ateed riaz.

I’m really sorry for the loss of a great man like Qavi. May his soul rest in peace.

Shahinda Nassar

My sincere condolence to you and the family of your friend Qavi, as well as your colleagues at the Museum and to the people of Palestine. May his soul rest in peace.

Palestine will be free!!!!

Mokesh Morar

Inna Lillahi wa inallahi rajioon.
Thank you for informing. We at The Citizens Foundation are equally sadden to hear the sudden news and are in touch with his family here. May Allah grant ‘maghfirat’ to our respected Qavi Sahib Aameen.

Neelam Habib

My heartfelt condolences. Elena Campari

( from Parma, Italy, currently Volunteer English language advisor in Tanzania)

My friend Salma Kasmani from Refugee rights Data Project tells me she’s coming to Palestine with Camden Abu Dis friendship; I gave her your name (I expect they’ll visit hope ok. It’s good news that Cadfa are going. Thankyou lots for the bag, I use it all the time. 

Love and good luck,

Luke Hodgken

Bonjour Mazin. Condoléances sincères pour le décès de votre ami Qavi. Ma prière vous accompagnera aujourd’hui pour son enterrement : que le Seigneur accueille tout ce qu’il a fait de grand et de beau dans sa vie… Amicalement, Jean-Claude

Sorry for your loss , may his soul rest in peace !
Elina Musleh

RIP Qavi! I knew the much appreciated (and now much lamented) man when I was serving at Birzeit University. Is there an email address to which I could send condolences to his family? Please advise.
Kind regards,
Khalil Hindi

Thank you for informing me of the passing of dear Qavi,  I shall be thinking of him and his good work

Kenneth Parry

        Thank you for letting us know. We are very sorry to hear of Qavi’s death. He was a regular attender at Blackheath Quaker Meeting here in SE London where we were strengthened by his steadfast purpose. I expect we will also mark his death and would be glad of some accounts of his work in Palestine to include. With best wishes,
Lee Coppack

Thank you for notifying us of this sad news. Mr Qavi was a long-time friend of Deir Yassin Remembered, a regular donor and attender of our commemorations. He was an activist of the finest sort and someone I came to hold in the highest regard.  We shall be posting about this later in the day.

 Please register our condolences

Paul Eisen

It is a big loss for the World, Palestine, Humanity, Education and Science.  May his Soul be blessed and rest in Peace. My heartfelt condolences to his Family and Friends.  George Kouchakji

I also knew the late Mr. Qavi. I would also appreciate it if anyone can provide me with his family email address. May his soul rest in peace. I also sent to the Advancement Office at Birzeit University to let them know of his passing away. I requested that the office published the condolences of BZU. Furthermore, I asked them to inform the beneficiary students of his scholarships about his passing away.
Sincerely
Adel Zaga

I am so sorry to hear of Qavi’s death.
He was always so lucid not only on Palestine but on imperialism, Pakistan, and the global politics of Wahhabism. May he rest in peace and his legacy flourish.
Martha Mundy

Appreciate your conveying the news , sad as it was. Qavi was a very dear friend for over forty years and I cannot but acknowledge how dear his person and his work for the cause he truly believed meant to me.
Condolences to his friends and family
May he rest in eternal peace and may the memory of his work and efforts be with us as long as we live.
I shall miss him.
Feroze. Ahmed

Thank you for letting me know Mr. Qumsiyeh. We will all miss him tremendously. 

Najma Kazi

Inna llilah e wa inna ilahe rajaoon.
Thank you for informing us of the passing away of a dear friend. Qavi Saheb was a man of great humanitarian qualities and strength of character. He will be greatly missed.
May he Rest In Peace.
Best regards
Nermeen and Ahmed Al Midfa.

Thanks Nadir for sharing this very sad news with us. I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear about Mr. Qavi’s demise. He was an extremely nice human being- an activist, friend of the oppressed and a well read man. A very generous host, he delighted in inviting his friends to his home and serving them delicious home cooked food that he used to prepare himself; haleem being his signature dish.

I felt privileged to be part of his circle of friends whom he regularly invited to his place. He once proudly told me that he had inherited his housekeeping and culinary skills from his mother- who was from Delhi.  After partition, he moved to Pakistan but then settled in the 1960s in East Pakistan. After 1971, he came back to Pakistan for a short while but moved to Sharjah where he took up furniture retailing and distribution business. In 1980s, he moved to London; he was again into  furniture retail business in London for nearly two  decades and took up activism after retirement. His main areas of interest were Palestine, Muslim World and the Muslim community in UK.

I met him for the first time during anti-MQM protest when we were part of May 12 group in London. Apart from meeting him at his place, I have watched theatre plays and attended talks with him many times.  He had a very impressive library, reflecting his deep interest in politics and literature, but he decided to dispose it off in 2012 when he moved to Palestine. 

I had moved out of London to the Middle East in 2011 but was visiting London in 2012 when he told me about his plans to spend more time in Palestine. He offered me his Urdu section of the library and was very keen to give me his excellent collection of Urdu books- numbering perhaps over 100 and containing some very rare books and periodicals including copies of  the famous Shama magazine, which was published from Delhi in pre-partition days. I was extremely tempted to accept this kind and exceptional offer but had no proper place to keep this vast collection in London. Unfortunately, and to my eternal regret, I had to say no to him. 

 I last met him during my 2014 visit to London. He was suffering from severe arthritis in those days; both of us participated together in anti-Israel protest regarding atrocities in Gaza and I noticed he  was carrying a folding chair with him which he needed quite often during the long protest walk upto Israeli Embassy.

My last meeting with him was during that trip when he invited me to a musical performance by his friend in St Martin-Lane church very close to Trafalgar Square. After the performance we had lunch together and he gifted me

a very interesting book on Iran during that last meeting.

I was in touch with him through email over the years; our last email correspondence was in May this year when I had shared my published  article “Corruption and its discontents” with him and he responded to my email.

He was an old-school gentleman and his most impressive characteristic was his humane nature which shone through his thoughts and deeds. May Allah bless his soul and  grant him a high station in Jannah.

 Rest in Peace, Qavi Sahib- you were a wonderful person and this world is a poorer place without you; feel privileged to have known you since my London days- you are definitely someone worth remembering many years down the road. 

Ammar Qureshi 

Very sorry to hear this news. May he rest in peace. 

Asim Siddiqui 

My heartfelt condolences on the departure of your friend and comrade, Mohammad Abdul Qavi. May his path be clear and smooth.  Thank you for sharing. Though I didn’t know him, I am so grateful for his devotion to Palestine and all those struggling to be free in your country. Namaste,

Linda Novenski

Thank you for passing this very sad news.  Qavi was an inspirational character, who I knew through the United Nations Association here in Blackheath, London.  He was in every sense a good man, and a good friend.  My sincere condolences to his family and many friends. Kind regards

Peter Greaves

Khuda oon ko janat nasib kerayn.
Agree with what you’ve all said.They don’t make gentlemen like Qavi Sahib any more.
Nadir: Thank you for letting us know.
All: Salaam aur duaon ke saat,
Anita mir

Thanks for the email and I’m really sorry to hear about Qavi. He was a great man. Like Qavi, I hope one day we all will return to our home in Palestine – Jerusalem will always call for me.

Would you happen to have a current email address or phone number for his daughter Tara? I used to work with Tara (who introduced me to her father) but I’ve since lost her contact details and would like to get in touch to give her my condolences.

And as always, thank you for keeping up the fight for Palestine and the great work overall!

Subhi Barakat

Very sorry to hear this.  May Allah grant him a place in heaven and may his soul rest in peace.
Regards to all, Ayesha Ijaz Khan

Thank you for sending the information about our dear friend Qavi.  I am deeply moved to hear of his death and I shall miss him so much.  Though seeing him rarely, we kept in touch sharing his beliefs but lacking his courage.  He has made a great impression on our lives.  We were always aware of his presence here in the UK and in Palestine gently calling and working for Peace and Human Rights.

We share in your prayers today as we mourn and give thanks for his life.

In Peace

mavis Iredale

I share with you a deep sorrow at the loss of Qavi, our dear friend. In so many subtle ways he took giant steps to advance human rights. His trust and ability to connect and understand people, his abiding spirituality and, I believe among his finest gifts, his ability to meet and understand people, to listen and befriend strangers and encourage others by example.
So many memories – seemingly small yet profound fill my heart and celebrate his life. He is missed but never forgotten.
In peace,
Doris Dorrito

RIP, Qavi Bhai. A very special person he was and the world today is poorer without him. He used to send me special articles and papers on the subjects of our mutual interests such as Muslims in South Asia, Pakistani ‘satrap’ generals, violence in Palestine and other intellectual outpourings gleamed from a wide variety of journals and magazines that I would have otherwise missed. We used to meet in London at the seminars and such other literary gatherings and then every year since 2009, we would meet at the Winter gathering in Salisbury. This last weekend in November at Sarum College has been happening quite regularly and involves scholars, activists and people of all kinds of interests including arts and letters. I would always sit with Qavi Bhai and would often detect his frustration with the way things had been happening among Muslims. His beautiful Urdu, his unique sense of humour and biting criticism of communities and polities I will never forget. Nicely dressed, always alert and with a kind smile spreading underneath those observant eyes, Qavi had no time for idiots and self-inflicted illiterates. I know his work in Palestine was more than sheer wordsmithery and he devoted his energy and resources to help Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. He felt and shared their pain and demonstrated against the Zionists by taking all kinds of risks. He kindled hope, resistance and courage amongst the struggling masses and thus was not a typical detached intellectual but a devoted philanthropist. These few words can never offer a proper and sufficient enough tribute to this noble soul. We miss you, Qavi Bhai but do hope that your prayers and blessings will encourage some of us to carry on with your deeds.

Iftikhar Malik

I am saddened to hear the passing of my dear friend Qavi whom I know through Blackheath Quaker Meeting House in London. I also know him in person how wonderful he had been. I have also informed our Quaker Meeting House in Blackheath,  London today.

I offer my sincere condolences to his family and his group.

In friendship with love and peace

Raden Topo Wresniwiro

So sad.  So sorry not to have been able to say goodbye. So sorry not to be there with you as you said goodbye and put his body to rest.
Remember that I met Qavi in 2002 when we both, and his 18 year old daughter, were with ISM in Nablus.  We re-united in Beit Sahour, probably through you, several years ago. I am sure Qavi arranged to die in Palestine, where his heart was.  I hope arranging burial for a “foreigner” isn’t too complicated.
Love and peace, Sherrill Hogan

Thank you for your email, which I opened earlier today. I had understood that  time was indeed running out for Qavi –   nevertheless  –   it was still a great  shock to learn from family last night, –  that his end had come. I last saw Qavi in 2016 .   I am pleased to have known him. He was a very special person and I know that he will be greatly missed by you all, as well as family. It is good that he was where he wished to be.  Indeed Qavi, may you rest in peace.
I took a look at your Facebook page – that photograph – was just, so, Qavi.
Thank you.
Di Land

I am so sorry to hear about Qavi sahab. I met him during our May 12 protest against MQM in London. After my return to Pakistan we kept in contact exchanging news and views on issues that were very dear to him. I lost touch with him around 2013 that was perhaps around the time he was shifting to Palestine. A great loss. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

And thank you Nadir for the message

Ayesha Khan

This is a saddening loss. Wish I could be there to pay my respect to Mr. Qavi. I will remember him as a gentleman, always polite and kind in giving his advice. Hard to find one like Mr. Qavi at these times.
He obliges the lucky many who met him to follow his example.
Gabriele Mombelli

Wow so sorry to hear of Qavi’s death. I saw his picture on facebook, however didn’t read around it. I am sure you will all miss him very much. He really did appreciate the Museum and the staff there. Obviously especially you Mazin. Such a sad loss. Thinking of you all at this very sad time. Love and God Bless,

Dorothy Pearson

I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of Qavi, and send all my sympathy and condolences to his family, you both, and all his loved ones. I saw him last at the Muslim Institute’s Winter Gathering, where we shared a laugh and some memories of Palestine. He looked well and happy, in the thick of things as he loved to be. Thanks to him I met Mordechai Vanunu, and have fond memories of Qavi holding court at a cafe table outside the Educational Bookshop that evening, clearly beloved by a young female student of English literature he was mentoring. How sad that he is no longer with us, bringing his delightful energy to all the busy intersections of progressive politics and warm social congress. I join you in giving thanks for his inspirational life, and with gratitude to you for introducing us, I hope I can live to as ripe an age, and share of myself as generously all the years that I am given. 

If it would bring them any comfort, please feel free to share these memories with his family; alternatively I will await the obituary and a possible online condolences book. 

With love,

Naomi Foyle

To Mazin Qumsiyeh With thanks for your message.
We do not grudge your friend his rest, he has at last become free, safe and immortal, Qavi has not lost the light of day but has obtained a more enduring light.
“he has not left us, but has gone before us” – Seneca
Our Aborigines tell us: “we are all visitors to this time, this place – we are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love & then we return home”
We join you in celebrating an extraordinary life which is making our souls blossom.
With love from Monika Smith – Quakers in Wahroonga, Australia.

I am very sorry to hear of the passing away of Qavi.He was a great friend and a wonderful example of caring of understanding of entegrity. Ramallah Friends Meeting(Quakers)enjoyed so much his attendance,his participation and ministry.We will miss his physical presence but his example and spirit will always be remembered.God Have mercy for you are compassionate and merciful.Jean Zaru

Dear Marisa and Mazin,
I am in the USA. I came for some rest, check ups and attending my grand-daughter Mai graduation. I wrote some comments on your face book and the Ramallah Friends Meeting Face book soon.Qavi attended our Meeting for worship regularly and he was very interested in our spirituality and inclusiveness. When he shared a message it was from Faith and practice of Britain Yearly Meeting ,Advices and queries, and he was close to Blackheath Meeting .Qavi also contributed to the  Meeting financially.I know him well. He told me before I traveled that
his health will not allow him to travel to Ramallah Friends Meeting for he is suffering from a terminal illness. I called him again before I left and he with effort admitted that he is suffering from Lung Cancer and his life is short . He wished to die and be buried in Palestine. Have mercy God and comfort his friends and family. Please Mazin notice my email’s new address. The other one was disabled in July.  
jeanzaru1@gmail.com with loving best wishes to you both. I will be back for Sunday worship 3rd September to welcome the new group of EAPPI for worship and to
share reflections with them after refreshments.With Loving Greetings and in Peace ,
Jean Zaru, Ramallah Friends Meeting (Quakers)

My sincerest condolences. I feel honoured that i got to know him briefly in february, as he truly was one of the most inspiring people i have met. May he rest in peace. Sarah Parnreiter 

Condolences for his family but Gavi still alive his soil found around us for ever he is doing allot for palestine , he is in our mind . in our heart for ever forever. Shadi Adawi

I am very sorry to hear this. Qavi had a kind spirit and keen sense of justice. He loved Palestine. My gratitude goes out to everyone who became his family during these past few year. Marla Schrader 

So sorry! I’m glad I had the chance to meet him at El Beit! May his work live on! Virginia Sheppard Lapham 

Aww such sad news. What a sweet and true gentleman he was. Rest in peace Qavi Daniel Attenborough 

I met Qavi several times when I was in Beit Sahour in 2014. I know he was loved and will be missed. What a great spirit. I found this beautiful piece by him, on Al-Khalil, after doing a quick google search:  http://www.musliminstitute.org/blogs/travel/pilgrimage-masjid-ibrahimi

Peace, Matt Bewley

ما كتبت رنا بشارة

رحل هذا الانسان العظيم والصديق الوفي لي وللشعب الفلسطيني كله 
رحمك الله السيد محمد عبد القوي (كافي) واسكنك فسيح جناته 
فعلا انها لخساره كبيره وانه ليوم حزين ومفجع …وقاسي، وكم هو حزين الفراق ، كم هو صعب الفراغ الذي يتركه الانسان من بعد رحيله
المرحوم السيد كافي شاركنا افراحنا واترحنا …ندواتنا ومظاهراتنا…. وقفاتنا الاحتجاحيه ومعارضنا الفنيه، مثقف وعميق وملم بالكثير، ثاقب الرؤيه… متامل وايجابي وكريم الاخلاق والعطاء بلا حدود!
كل هذه الصفات ولن تنصفه وكم بالاحرى عندما يكون هذا الانسان عظيم حنون وصادق بكل ما تعنيه الكلمه من معنى
اعتقد انكم تشوقتم لتعرفوا من هو وبما تكمن عظمته وما سبب وجوده في فلسطين ، كونه ليس فلسطينيا !!!
الصديق والكاتب اسامه العيسه Osama Alaysa وهو صديق مشترك كتب الاتي 
https://www.facebook.com/osama.alaysa/posts/10155409162961066
تعرفت عليه من خلال الدكتور مازن قمصيه Mazin Qumsiyeh ومدامته جيسي في متحف البيئه الطبيعيه في فلسطين فنعاه كانسان عظيم بقول التالي (نصير المضطهدين في العالم وخاصة في فلسطين) من خلال تطوعي هناك 
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?
story_fbid=1968232263455303&id=1454309858180882
كم هو حزين ان تفقد قامه بهذا القدر من المحبه الغير مشروطه والانتماء لاعدل قضيه في التاريخ الحديث ، كلمتك قبل اسبوع ورغم مرضك ومعاناتك لن تشعرني بالضعف لا بل احسست بالطمانينه انك في احسن حال لتعطنا الامل بالاستمرار في هذه المسيره الطويله علي درب الحريه والكرامه التي شعت من قامتك العاليه 
نم قرير العين ايها الاب والصديق والمناضل الاممي الحبيب السيد محمد عبد القوي (كافي)
كم شاستاق لطلتك وحكمتك وتفاؤلك ، رحمل الله ومنحنا الصبر والسلوان وعائلتك الصغيره وكل فلسطين واخص يالذكر الدكتور مازن قمضيه ومدامته جيسي والاستاذ اسامه العيسه 
ثرى فلسطين تعطر بك ولن نخذلك ونحن على العهد حتى الحريه !

ما كنب أسامة العيسة:

وجد إنسان كهذا..!
في عام 1948م، اختبر محمد عبد القوي (كافي) نكبته الخاصة، ولد في دلهي لأبوين مسلمين، وكان جزءا من أكبر عملية تبادل/تطهير سكاني بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، على أسس دينية بين الباكستان والهند، ففقد وطنه. يتناسى الكثيرون ان إسرائيل والباكستان أسستا على أسس دينية في نفس العام.
لاحقا حدد كافي، الذي أصبح مواطنا بريطانيا وتنقل في أكثر من مكان، فلسطين كوطن أوّل، قدم الدعم لطلبة الجامعات الفلسطينية، عاش حياة بسيطة ولم يكن استهلاكيا، أحب الشعر بلغات كثيرة، وسحرته قصيدة توفيق زياد (هنا باقون) ولن أنسى أبدا الحماسة في عينيه، وهو يردد:
هنا .. على صدوركم، باقون كالجدار
وفي حلوقكم
كقطعة الزجاج، كالصبار
وفي عيونكم
زوبعة من نار
قرأ القصيدة بالانجليزية، ونشط بنقشها على ألواح السيراميك وتوزيعها على الجامعات ومؤسسات الشباب.
أراد أن يموت في فلسطين، وكان يذهب كل ثلاثة أشهر إلى لندن، لتجديد الفيزا ويعود بسرعة حتى لا يموت الا في فلسطين.
سأقول بان كافي فائق الثقافة، دعم مشروعي الكتابي بنبل نادر، وموّل ثمن نسخ من كتبي كان يوزعها بنفسه على طلبة الجامعات.
سأذكر دائما حنوه، وشجاعة قلبه، وإخلاصه، ودعواته على العشاء كمضياف في مكان إقامته أو في منازل الأصدقاء، حيث يتولى الطبخ مستعينا بوصفته السرية الخاصة من البهارات.
كان كافي مؤمنا بالقدير، ولكنه لم يؤمن بالطقوس، اعتنى به في أيامه الأخيرة، بحب نادر مسيحي وبوذية بشكل أساسي.
نادرون من سيعيشون معي حتى نهاية العمر، وكافي من بينهم.
سابكيك كثيرا يا صديقي..!
للاطلاع: في حب توفيق زيّاد وفلسطينhttp://bit.ly/2xuB3CI

Questions to US citizens

Many readers asked me (also as a US citizen) to comment in this blog on what is going on in race relations in the USA. I will briefly say that the politicians who criticize Trump (both republicans and democrats) are hypocritical. These same politicians who criticize Trump and his racist minions never challenged hate directed at Muslims and Arabs in general. The white nationalists and supremacists who are calling for ethnic cleansing and for hate are no different than the Zionists that they adore and fund and who do far more violence and atrocities. The hypocrisy in the US is more blatant and sickening than the thugs that caused the mayhem in Charlottesville. But what worries us more is that the distractions can allow us to slide more into a nuclear world war (please watch news related to Iran and North Korea).

There are also credible reports of Zionist thugs infiltrating both camps (‘left’ and ‘right’) to entice violence. I remember how Zionists tried to infiltrate one of our demonstrations in Connecticut posing as neo-Nazis to incite violence and mayhem. And we all know now how FBI agents infiltrated civil rights groups doing the same things in the 1960s. If US citizens do not wake-up to where the real danger comes from (the elites profiting from all of this), the society will be torn apart by petty hatreds that only serve the policies of ‘divide and conquer’ that are being implemented in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Arabs in those countries are waking up to that but after much destruction. I hope fellow US citizens wake up to this early on.

The daughter of US ‘Ambassador’ to Israel (the “Jewish State”) has moved here to Palestine as a new colonial settler. Like any Jew in the world she and her father were considered nationals of the state even though born in the US with no connection to this land other than religious [mythologies]. They can become citizens upon demand. Colonial Zionists call those new colonists ‘olim’ referring to ‘those rising up’ as if being a Jew in Poland or America is being in the gutters. For committed Zionists moving here it this is just a formality because their betrayal of their own countries and allegiance to a foreign power is their trademark. Just observe the rhetoric of those in the US who support the billions of tax-payer money going to support the largest terrorist organization in the world called the Israeli army. Watch their rhetoric on Iran!

Friedman and his daughter supported and will continue to support ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and endless wars. The question for Jews around the world: until when will you allow Zionists to tar your community and your religion? When is the price of racism/‘Jewish nationalism’ considered too high? (today 7 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people thanks to Zionists like Friedman and his daughter). The questions for all US citizens: how will you challenge ALL racism and bigotry? What will you do to work for justice, human rights, and equality? How would you justify working against ‘white nationalism’ or ‘pan-Islamic nationalism’ (ISIS) but not against ‘Jewish nationalism’? 
Video of Prof. Qumsiyeh’s lecture at Cedar Lane UU Church, July 1, 2017 https://youtu.be/oeq_0njojnc

Wildflowers of Palestine نباتات فلسطين البرية https://youtu.be/qTGYtuw8PH8

Act to keep lights on in in Gaza https://www.facebook.com/lightsongaza/

Israeli Occupied USA

I spent 40 hours on grueling travel between Palestine and the USA and my documents (and luggage) were checked 15-20 times along the way. The Israeli occupied United States is not much different from Israeli occupied Palestine. I will not bore you with details of going from Bethlehem to Jordan. I do want to tell you that US security agents were at the exit from the Amman-Chicago flight waiting for me checking IDs and when the one checking my ID announced “we got him” loud enough for the other passenger to hear, four of them escorted me to get my checked-in luggage and then to a special security area where agents went through everything I had thoroughly. They looked through my note book/diary and also copied my speaking schedule. When I got my boarding pass for Chicago to Denver I noted with dread the SSSS marked on it for extra checks and so between that special examination and the gate I had to undergo two more examinations and rifling through my luggage beyond the already tight security checks of all other passengers. I took it as an opportunity to lecture the agents about how they are being used not in the service of the US but in the service of a foreign country (Israel). I told them that it seems I have left one Israeli occupied territory to arrive at another one. US interests are not served by obeying dictates of Zionists who do not want a professor (who happens to be a US citizen) from speaking the truth. Trying to shoot the messenger will not kill the message!

This harassment happened to me repeatedly even after I was told by the US government in 2002 it would not happen again (see http://qumsiyeh.org/thecaseisclosed/  ). It happened to me again in 2011 and 2013. I do have more flights in the US coming up.  I am a US citizen and I would appreciate it if anyone on this list has advise how to sue or go after the US government (e.g. freedom of information act) for harassment to stop them from doing this. In the meantime such harassment only adds to my determination to work even harder for human rights, peace, and justice.

By comparison, the last 17 hours in Denver area so far were very pleasant as I recovered from the ordeal (though not the jet lag) and reveals the disconnect between the government of the US and the people of the US. I saw the good people of Colorado who are lighting candles instead of cursing the darkness or as the Israeli controlled US agents trying to snuff out the candles. I already gave two talks; one at Longmont library and one at Posner Center. The latter was shared with Joseph Medicine Robe who spoke on Environmental and Justice matters from Native American perspectives. We both connected the dots as to how wars, conflict, militarization of society and corporate profit are connected at the expense of native people from North Dakota to Palestine. We both agreed that weapons were manufactured to be used in wars before but now wars are manufactured and not just to sell weapons to make money in other ways (pipelines etc.). We also agree that the governments use false flags, lies and distortions and capitalize on these key areas to push their anti-nature, anti-people agenda: fear, distraction, racism (divide and conquer), and consumerism.

Two weeks ago I wrote about looking for goodness & emphasizing the positive rather than focusing on opposing the negative energy. This was emphasized to me also by a fellow panelist Iman Jodeh, spokeswoman of the Muslim community who spoke of leading groups to Palestine to learn objectively about what is going on. It was emphasized to me last night by my host in Denver Joann and tonight by the other host in Lafayette Richard Forer. Rich incidentally published a remarkable book called “Breakthrough: Transforming fear into compassion” describing his own transformation from a Zionist to a compassionate caring human being (see http://www.richardforer.com/ ).

The only other reading I want to list for this message is for those of you who did not read it is a chapter in my book that deals with violence: http://qumsiyeh.org/chapter8/

Again please look at my schedule posted here: http://qumsiyeh.org/upcomingevents/ and do contact people you know in those cities, ask them to attend and help. Those who cannot help in this tour, can donate and/or support our efforts via our website: http://palestinenature.org

Stay Human

Finding goodness

It has been a very challenging week. Not in terms of life or our (volunteer) work. I and my wife continue to work seven days a week and accomplish a lot as full time volunteers at the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability. Even subkitting more research manuscripts than I expected (one or two a week in this period) and more grant applications (2-3 per month). Our garden is blooming and we harvest regularly things like strawberries, tomatoes, basil, mint and more. Visitors to the museum are regular and whether young or old, they go away motivated and energized to do something. So things are going well. No, what made it a challenging week are two things expectation and analysis. In analyzing the world situation (thinking globally while still acting locally) we observe how difficult a landscape humanity faces. Rich Arab leaders that are puppets of the western world continued wasting billions that rightfully belong to the people. Hundreds of billions of Arabian Hijaz money wasted by the rulers as a bribe to Trump and to attack other fellow Muslims (in Iran, Qatar, Palestine, Yemen). But lest you think I take sides against the Saud family, let me be clear. Edward Said once put it, we do not have to choose between fanatic dictators and fundamentalist religious fanatics. So I am neither with the Saudi or with the Qatari royal families or their agendas. There are now three axes in the Middle East:
Axis 1- Saudi Arabia, Emirates, Egypt, Israel, USA

Axis 2- Qatar, Turkey

Axis 3- Syria, Iran, Russia, and possibly China (for now keeping a distance)

Axis 1 now decided to go after axis 2. Axis 2 is considering moving for protection to axis 3. The US is solidly behind axis 1 but keeping leverage via axis 2 (US bases both in Turkey and Qatar). The US is trying hard to undermine axis 3. Israeli leaders brag about how their strategy of aggressive war, strong military and strong lobbies ensured this geopolitical structure working to their advantage. Lieberman and Netanyahu openly flaunt the friendly relations with “Sunni states” against Iran and Hamas and Hizballah. To echo this, axis 1 “leaders” (unelected dictators) list any resistance group fighting Israeli colonialism as terror group. In Palestine, the Fatah leadership follows axis 1, Hamas axis 2, and the PFLP axis 3. The Palestinian street is looking for alternatives and seeing little on the horizon. I do not want to overanalyze this situation. The question that always stays is “what is our individual roles”? The struggle is to stay optimistic, look for the positives and build on them towards a future of peace, justice, and sustainability.

We do not have to line-up with governments, we do have to a) speak truth to power, b) build something positive despite incredible odds, 3) try to find and encourage the goodness in ALL humans. Briefly, we must indeed challenge corruption and greed that leads to war and conflict. My own trepidation is I see both large scale greed and corruptions (Trump, the kings of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and General Sisi of Egypt) but I also see small scale beginning of greed and corruption in people here in Palestine even under occupation. How do we make sure that people we know do not continue down that path (addictive destructive)? Building something positive on the ground like a small permaculture farm can therapeutic and can cause a small ripple effect. But how can we enlarge his to have many such positive ripples that stir the sludge that is lurking underneath, give oxygen, allow life to grow and purify the water? Perhaps this is where the third element comes in: try to find and encourage the goodness in ALL humans. This is the most challenging task. It is easy to see points of light everywhere. Millions of people actually, the last evidence of this is how millions voted their hopes not their fears in England despite a concerted campaign by the elites to vilify leader of the Labor party as an “antisemite”. Hundreds of activists share their positive action every week with me (I have a large email list of tens of thousands of activists). What is more difficult is to see how we can light more candles and ensure that once an activist candle is lit, that t is protected, enhanced, and enlarged. That is a more challenging task.

I would love to hear from readers new ideas of how we can do this better and more efficiently. It is existential (as I wrote in another message): we either quickly learn to do this and live together in peace and harmony or “we perish together as fools.”

I will be engaging many hundreds of people in discussion around these issues in my upcoming trips (the US this month and England in October see http://qumsiyeh.org/upcomingevents/ ).

antisémitisme

La définition sioniste de la lutte contre l’antisémitisme avalisée par le Parlement Européen : les notes d’un Palestinien
Par Mazin Qumsiyeh
Sous les fortes pressions sionistes partout en Europe d’une part, et vu le manque de pressions s’appuyant sur les droits de l’homme, d’autre part, le Parlement européen a violé ses propres traités et chartes et a adopté la définition à tout le moins bizarre de l’antisémitisme telle qu’elle a été façonnée par les sionistes. Ci-dessous, voici, suivis de mes notes, quelques éléments que les sionistes prétendent antisémites.
« Appeler à tuer et à faire souffrir les Juifs, de même que soutenir ou justifier ces exhortations, y contribuer ou justifier de tels actes au nom d’une idéologie radicale ou d’une vision religieuse extrémiste. »
C’est trop vague. Qu’est-ce qu’une « idéologie radicale » et qu’est-ce « faire souffrir » (résister à l’occupation peut-il être considéré comme faire souffrir les Juifs ?) ? Par exemple, que faire quand tant de colons vivent à la force de leurs armes sur des terres qu’ils ont volées aux autochtones ? Les lois internationales disent que les autochtones ont le droit de résister à de tels voleurs coloniaux. L’« idéologie » autochtone de leur droit à se défendre serait-elle considérée comme de l’« antisémitisme » ?

« Émettre des allégations mensongères, déshumanisantes, diabolisantes ou stéréotypées sur les Juifs en tant que tels ou sur le pouvoir des Juifs en tant que collectivité – par exemple les mythes sur une conspiration mondiale juive ou sur les Juifs contrôlant les médias, l’économie, le gouvernement ou les autres institutions de la société. »
C’est bizarre. Quid si certains Juifs (et non « les Juifs ») contrôlent effectivement certains aspects de l’économie, des médias, etc. De nombreux Juifs sionistes eux-mêmes revendiquent un tel pouvoir. Cela en fait-il des « antisémites » ? Quid en Israël où, manifestement, les Juifs contrôlent les moindres aspects de la vie GRÂCE À DES LOIS ISRAÉLIENNES adoptées par la Knesset ? Cela fait-il d’Israël et de la Knesset des entités « antisémites » ?

« Accuser les Juifs en tant que peuple d’être responsables des méfaits réels ou imaginaires commis par une seule personne juive ou un seul groupe juif, ou même d’actes commis par des non-Juifs. »
Trop vague. De plus, « les juifs en tant que peuple » est aussi faux que de dire « les musulmans en tant que peuple ». Les Juifs sont ceux qui croient dans les préceptes du judaïsme, ni plus ni moins. Ce n’est pas un « peuple ». Seuls les peuples sont des humains.

« Accuser les Juifs en tant que peuple, ou Israël en tant qu’État, d’inventer ou d’exagérer l’Holocauste. »
Voir plus haut à propos de « peuple ». Effectivement, on ne devrait accepter la moindre généralisation à propos des « Juifs », mais Israël est un gouvernement et il recourt de façon exagérée à l’Holocauste juif à son propre profit.

« Accuser les citoyens juifs d’être plus loyaux à l’égard d’Israël, ou de priorités juives supposées dans le monde, au détriment des intérêts de leurs propres nations. »
C’est la partie la plus bizarre. Il s’agit d’un fait solidement étayé. Si ce n’était pas le cas, le gouvernement américain serait « antisémite » pour avoir jugé Jonathan Pollard pour espionnage et l’avoir déclaré coupable (le gouvernement israélien lui avait accordé la citoyenneté après qu’il eut trahi son pays).

« Nier au peuple juif le droit à l’autodétermination, en prétendant par exemple que l’existence de l’État d’Israël, est une entreprise raciste. »
Personne ne refuse à qui que ce soit le droit à l’autodétermination. Juifs polonais ou palestiniens ou américains, chrétiens et musulmans ont le droit à l’autodétermination dans leurs propres pays, en vertu des lois internationales. L’autodétermination ne veut pas dire, entre autres, décider de se rendre dans le pays de quelqu’un d’autre, revendiquer ce pays en vertu d’un « pouvoir divin » et en chasser les autochtones (comme les Juifs européens l’ont fait avec nous, de sorte qu’il y a aujourd’hui 7,2 millions de réfugiés). L’État d’Israël et le sionisme sont de fait des entreprises racistes.

« Faire preuve d’un double standard en exigeant d’Israël un comportement qui n’est attendu ni requis d’aucun autre pays démocratique. »
Israël n’est pas une « nation démocratique ». Voir mon chapitre ICI.

« Utiliser les symboles et images associés à l’antisémitisme classique (par exemple, l’affirmation que les Juifs ont tué Jésus ou les meurtres rituels) pour caractériser Israël ou les Israéliens. »
Bien trop vague et dénué de clarté. Qu’est-ce qui serait permis, dans la « caractérisation » ? La photo non retouchée d’un largage de bombe d’une tonne sur un camp de réfugiés par un F-16 portant comme symbole une étoile de David serait-elle considérée comme une photo « antisémite » ? Énoncer le fait qu’un Juif orthodoxe a massacré 29 fidèles y compris des enfants (et blessé 125 autres personnes) à la mosquée Ibrahimi serait-il « antisémite » ?

« Établir des comparaisons entre la politique israélienne actuelle et celle des nazis. »
Vladimir Jabotinsky était-il antisémite pour avoir agi de la sorte ? Les mesures israéliennes actuelles comprennent les sanctions collectives, les incarcérations de masse, la création de « zones concentrationnaires » (c’est l’appellation que donne le gouvernement israélien aux zones où il parque les Bédouins du Néguev), la torture, les détentions administratives (sans procès ni avocat), les démolitions de maisons, les exécutions extrajudiciaires et bien plus encore. « (…) celle des nazis » comprend bien des mesures communes et de nombreuses lois copiées presque mot pour mot sur les lois raciales nazies (voir encore ICI).

« Tenir les Juifs de manière collective pour responsables des actions de l’État d’Israël. »
Vague, une fois de plus. Quels Juifs ? Bien des Juifs s’opposent à toute l’idée de l’existence d’un « État juif » et pas uniquement à ses actions. Bien des Juifs soutiennent le nettoyage ethnique et le génocide (y compris les responsables de très importantes organisations juives, telle la « Conférence des présidents des principales organisations juives »). Appeler un chat un chat ou dire du ciel qu’il est bleu ne devrait pas être taxé d’« antisémitisme ».

Pour finir, des journalistes israéliens comme Gideon Levy et Amira Hass et des organisations israéliennes des droits de l’homme comme B’Tselem vont-ils être tous catalogués d’ « antisémites » ? Après tout, leurs propos et leurs rapports truffés de faits violent la plupart de ces définitions sionistes. L’ONU, Amnesty International, Médecins pour les droits de l’homme, le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge, 12,5 millions de Palestiniens vont-ils eux aussi être taxés d’ « antisémitisme » de la même façon que les noirs d’Afrique du Sud étaient catalogués comme « anti-blancs » ?

Quel monde orwellien malade avons-nous créé par notre apathie et par notre silence ! Il est temps d’élever la voix. Je demande instamment à tous les Européens particulièrement d’élever la voix (et même de hurler). Assez, c’est assez !

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Palestinien, est l’auteur de « Sharing the Land of Canaan » et de «Une histoire populaire de la Résistance palestinienne ». Il enseigne au sein de l’université de Bethléem et de Bir Zeit et dirige le Musée Palestine d’Histoire Naturelle et l’Institut palestinien de biodiversité et durabilité.

48 things

48 Things You Can Do for 48

By Shimrit Baer 

One of my favorite things is receiving  Mazin Qumsiyeh’s “Human Rights Newsletters”, which combine news roundups with something poetic and inspiring too. He also often ends his letters with a list of suggestions for how to help (http://qumsiyeh.org/whatyoucando/). I will take up #25 and submit my own suggestions, as from a counter-Zionist Jewish Palestinian Israeli citizen vantage point within what some call the “internationally recognized borders of Israel”, or what is more aptly called the “48 areas”.

While for obvious reasons most activism focuses its energies on the West Bank and Gaza, it is the 48 areas – their suburban ethnic purity, their total residential segregation, and their social engineering —  that constitutes the sacred core of the social structure of which the 1967 occupation is a manifestation, a natural development, and a protective shell.

I often think that the best thing the Zionist classes in Israel have going for them is that by and large the non-Zionist classes have no intention of breaking down segregated space inside the 48 areas, maybe because we think we want segregation too. Maybe we do – but let us be conscious of that choice and own its consequences, then. The fact is that the Zionist classes are expending unthinkable resources globally, just to maintain an aura of reliability and inevitability around their arrangement of space in the 48 areas. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the non-Zionist classes (which I’ll define in a moment) indeed organized to disturb “Zionist Space,” the unit of measurement from which the Zionist State is derived: what forms could such disturbance feasibly take? And what would the Zionist classes then do to defend purity of space against the visible presence of the wrong type of citizens in Zionist Space? What are the subversive possibilities and limitations of the spatial act?

Navigating Zionist Space every day you can’t but feel the awesome imperviousness and solidity of it all. Yet if you break it down, you end up with an extremely unsophisticated and crude, and hence vulnerable, imposition of separate cities, separate living room, and separate education. The structure, so it seems, would not be able to bend and hold under strain of pressure, as would for example the far more crafty kinds of segregation that are imposed elsewhere through more roundabout post-civil rights policies.

So if Qumsiyeh started a list with “67 Ways to act for peace with justice” in the occupied areas, I’d remix: “48 ways to act in/for 48,” or something of the kind. And the first item on that impossibly finite list: Try to desire to act. Turns out, it is far from an obvious given that counter-Zionists inside the 48 areas desire to act. Everyone acts through resilience or resistance, via small everyday tactics of defiance and subterfuge or by overt practices of resistance. By ‘act’, though, I mean acting in an organized and conscious way. Because of its violently held monopoly of all public institutions, the Zionist caste-class has succeeded very well in confounding the non-Zionist classes’ ability to act in an organized way inside 48. The first thing must be a desire for the non-Zionist quasi-class to act as such.

A class analysis in conjunction with race-ethnicity readings of Zionism as a structure is based on the premise is that there is, and has always been, a non-Zionist quasi-class in the 48 areas comprising: (1) a caste of people who, by birth, are rendered permanently excluded from the ownership of the means of production of public institutions;  (2) individuals born within the Zionist quasi-class but have who have dislodged themselves from it to the extent of assimilation of counter-Zionist interests, of which economic reform and hence spatial reform constitute collective interests. With its institutions centered and run from within the 48 areas, Zionism exists as a quasi-class that owns the means of institutional production– including owning all the economic, military, educational and cultural means with which to reproduce itself, at the expense of the Palestinian castes and the non-Zionist quasi-classes. One is again and again confronted with an argument for the creation of a counter-Zionist union here on the ground, an organized space that is democratically structured, rule-bound (to protect the weak), sufficient to itself, and capable of producing and circulating ideas.

It seems that lately the byword in 48 is to act locally. There’s some logic to local actions when faced with the totalizing effect of the occupier’s global reach. In Israeli-Jewish counter-Zionist circles, the call to think locally might have something to do with the fact that the activist base is extremely small, as one of my BDS colleagues has recently argued: “To challenge…Israeli passivity…Israeli activists could focus on direct solidarity actions in the occupied Palestinian territories…even a small number of Israeli citizens can make a real difference in the lives of Palestinians … and embarrass the Israeli government.” (http://mondoweiss.net/2017/04/weakness-movement-jerusalem/). This reinforces the idea that Jewish 48ers have to go to the West Bank, in order to act in local issue-oriented ways. One would wonder why helping others stay in place should be more important than combating segregation at one’s doorstep, and one should also wonder why mobilizing against Zionism itself is seen as too divisive or too futile for 48 activism. You could concede that from a certain perspective, mobilizing around local issues and sticking thorns in the sides of the government is a logical way of proceeding. There’s also freedom, one supposes, in being a local player, with no need to recognize an elected hierarchy or feel bound by a broader consensus. But democratic organization is a selfless business; it exists to nurture a unity of diverse civil resistance forms on the ground.

As it is, there are many independent small scale groups mobilizing within 48, working in niches, rarely under the express name of counter-Zionism. BDS from Within, for example, has two unique, almost non-interactive, bodies of the same name operating within the 48 areas, neatly divided by language, space, and knowledges. Those who defend that state of organizational chaos say that it’s a good thing to have different and complementary activist bases, but the fact is that they are not strategizing together nearly enough. Whatever one might say, strategic debates within 48 also remain heavily determined by race and class markers, a fault aggravated by the lack of coordination and the absence of a mutual effort to connect the bases together and to broaden them. Anything done in the way of explicit counter-Zionist organization would thus be a positive good.

As soon as openly counter-Zionist groups have emerged, they have been rendered illegal and disbanded by the Zionist class, which of course has a monopolistic hold over all legislative and executive state institutions, as well as cultural ones. Yet it is wrong to view as impossible a union under the open banner of counter-Zionism. Correctly seen, it is an organizational challenge.

Attention must turn inwards. Whoever you are, what’s your true and honest relationships to Zionist Space?

To go back: the Zionist quasi-classes don’t want to lose their monopoly. That is what they’re scared of, and it is patently absurd to think that there is anything that can alleviate that quasi-class’s collective anxiety except the eventual outcome of loss – together with a new, better, safer and more just power structure.

It’s a self-evident interest of the non-Zionist quasi-class/caste conglomeration to want to seize the means of institutional production. There is disagreement about the specifics of form and content of that struggle, but once one accepts as social fact that it is the inherent and inevitable interest of the non-Zionist quasi-class to eliminate exclusive ethno-national ownership of social institutions and, specifically, of space, the political question will yield back answers on the ground that are not overly dependent on any faraway, theoretical ‘solution’, world events, or academic discussions.

We return again to the base problem that counter-Zionists are not of necessity politically conscious or conscientious. They just exist — an unwanted force within a structure that is deeply compartmentalized and that accords them different opportunities, rights and knowledge.

Energies must at some point turn spatially. Especially now that the so-called genie of an apartheid analysis has been let out of even a UN bottle, one would urge the very materialist view and say that a society dependent on a system of segregation unto apartheid is not conceptually capable of understanding racism. First and foremost is a need to change space itself.

Indeed, as far as I can tell, the non-Zionist class struggling within and against the Zionist power structure has two main material (as opposed to more discursive or symbolic) routes, one directly institutional (i.e., by somehow regaining ownership of institutions and the economy) and the other indirect and spatial. The first option is less immediately operable given the global power of the Zionist class system. But what can we do with the spatial option at home that we are left with?

One way to begin is to form groups in one’s own area to strategize ways to disrupt “Zionist space”. For, logically, there must surely exist some ways in which an organized movement would be able to act to free itself of the “Zionist Space” noose – making disruptive moves spatially, materially, legally, culturally or discursively.

Institutions at the hands of the Zionist class are specifically designed for drying out all the non-Zionist institutions, through policies of disrepair, dilapidation, delegitimation, fear, and artificial distance. Yet, they’re constrained in their impossible-to-countenance calculus of pure Zionist Space.

Meanwhile, it is the non-Zionist class that can challenge innermost boundaries that have no moral or even real conceptual or institutional protection. In that, just like anything, resistance is constant innovation. There’s no one direction to go in– the main idea is to take back one’s space.

From here on in, I can only defer to Qumsiyeh’s list. Support for the 48 areas is also support for political prisoners and those being persecuted for their counter-Zionist ideas. It is also a support for Al Quds, and its forgotten residents living under an apartheid  “United Jerusalem”, over 80% of whom are living under the poverty line. It’s support for peoples to stay in place, even while it’s support for counteracting the reliability and stability of “place”. It’s a total challenge to the idea of Zionist-Only Space, including gated communities, kibbutzim, and housing projects with Zionist admissions committees. It’s support for the spatial struggles of oppressed and segregated peoples everywhere. This includes struggles for reparations for slavery and for racial injustices in the United States. Segregation and power are interlinked globally.  

The success of counter-zionist organizing within the 48 areas is crucial for the outcome everywhere.  The needs of the peoples in these areas include the need to act, a need not entirely addressed by BDS. While BDS strategies of nonviolence are growing internationally, the same strategies aren’t necessarily tailored for resistance groups within 48, not because these are dangerous and costly (as all resistance within is), but rather because there has to be a way for the ordinary person on the street to be involved in them. 

Basil of Al-Walaja: RIP

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

My encounter with the Al-Araj family began in 2009, the year I met Basil and Shireen and started joining them in demonstrations in Al-Walaja village. On 6 March 2017, Basil was murdered by the Israeli army. He was 31 years old. Others will speak of his martyrdom, I will speak of his life and what he told me. Basil would have wanted it told this way. I learned intimate details about Basil and his family life the third time we were detained together. He was 24 years old, I was twice his age. This was in what Basil accurately described as “a holding pin not fit for animals” which I and many Palestinian males shared with one Palestinian female, my friend and Basil’s aunt Shireen Al-Araj. I had been “taken”  twice before with Basil and once with Shireen before this particular incident (and more after). It was these arrests that deepened my high regard for the family. Beyond their decency and honest dealings were acts of self-sacrifice that earned the family the respect of their entire village of Al-Walaja and I dare to say all of Palestine. This is similar to Al-Tamimi family of Nebi Saleh and it was no coincidence tat Basem Tamimi was there with us in Al-Walaja the day after Basil’s murder. Here I am not telling you the story of Basil but I am recounting what Basil told me and I had written down in 2014 (was planning to publish inspirational Palestinian stories in a book). I merely now edited it to a) add this introduction) b) change to past tense instead of present tens (‘Basil says or relays’ now becomes ‘Basil said or relayed’), and c) I added a brief ending with his last words.

Having time on our hands on that day 19 May 2011, Basil told me the story of his grandfather Ibrahim and the villagers of Al-Walaja who valiantly struggled against the Israeli occupiers to save their land. That day over fifty of us had been herded into one small cell – men and one woman, people of all ages, some as young as twelve, others well over sixty and most jailed for the first time. The Israeli soldiers holding us seemed even more miserable and nervous than those of us crammed into that small cell. Our crime was nonviolent resistance, their discomfort signaling guilt a force their training had only taught them to handle using violence. They had roughed us up, made us stand battered and bleeding in the sun for hours. The younger guards didn’t look us straight in the eye but lowered their heads or looked around in gestures that betrayed their uncertainty, confusion, and one might venture to say fear. Basil wondered if it is the uncertainty of a criminal fearing being caught!

Reason became apparent when four Israelis imprisoned with us began conversing in Hebrew. In spite of the soldiers telling us it was forbidden to talk, our Israeli cellmates kept on keeping their voices low yet audible enough for the guards to hear. Yelling, the guards feigned displeasure but being curious, imposed no punishment and remained attentive to the conversation. Most of my fellow inmates quickly befriended each other but I remained cautious because I have heard that Israelis sometimes plant informers among the inmates to gather information. I only trusted Basil and Shireen whom I knew for at least two years prior to this arrest (2009). I thus talked to them and especially Basil at length.

It was earlier that week when our group first gathered on the terraced hillside lush with trees and an olive grove that we planned that action with Israelis. We were all determined to defend with our bodies the oldest olive tree in the Bethlehem district. There was one tree believed to be between three thousand years old.
Huddled in a corner on the cold concrete cell floor, we whispered. In spite of hunger and exhaustion our spirits were kept high talking boldly about a future focused on coexistence – all peoples sharing one land in one democratic state. Topics centered on an end to repression and segregated government schools. Idealistic planning flowed naturally among comrades locked in mutual struggle, helped to ward off the misery of confinement and keep spirits high. The guard soldiers paced nervously back and forth hesitated to listen to our whispered conversation before issuing another reprimand for talking.

But as the group convesation ended we talked among smaller groups or one on one. Basil approached me and asked me about my family. I asked him about his family and was mesmerized by glimpses of family life and history (partly because I was writing a book on Popular Resistance in Palestine which was published later in 2012). Part of what I write here was supposed to be printed in that book but the editor wisely suggested a shorter more concise book and saving more detailed personal stories to another book (and I have many of those) which I never published. I tried to remember much of what Basil told me in that prison cell but to be sure of the details, I visited with him six months later at his home in Al-Walaja and spent a whole evening learned much more about Al-Walaja’s history and his family.

Basil was called the “intellectual revolutionary” for good reason. He had a keen mind and had read many books. When I gave him a copy of my book on Popular Resistance in Arabic in late 2013 (or perhaps early 2014), he finished reading it in three weeks and came back to me with lots of questions and wanting to know more., He was especially fascinated by the part of how Palestinians transcended the divisions of 1920s and early 1930s (over two dozen factions infighting and a Palestinian police force working with the British) to arrive at the great revolt of 1936.

Anyway, Basil started by explaining that before 1948 his village sat was located inside the Green line on the main railroad track line that headed from Jerusalem to Lydda and Jaffa and cut through village lands. Villagers tell of bountiful agricultural harvests before the creation of Israel and the Nakba (Palestinian uprising) of 1948. Agricultural products from the Al-Walaja village flooded the markets of Jerusalem and Jaffa by way of Jerusalem Jaffa Railroad, and significantly contributed to a prosperous Palestine economy . Muslims and Christians of in this part of the country lived peacefully with each other. It was not uncommon for families to convert from Christianity to Islam, which was the more recent religion. Al-Araj family of Al-Walaja is Muslim while the Al-Araj family of the adjacent town Beit Jala is Christian. Two monasteries are located within the village boundaries: Cremisan, which lies between Al-Walaja and Beit Jala, and Meskari, which is between Al-Walaja and Ain Karam. Archaeological exploration of Al-Walaja village land shows Churches include in Ain Jneinah and Tcharcha (comes from Church) areas of the village. Just tw months ago, Israeli authorities made the last spring and its Byzantine ruins of Al-Walaja off-limits to the remaining residents.

Al-Walaja earned notoriety as a scene of the 1938 rebellion against the British occupation and its strong support of Zionism. Official reports told history from the British side. One British regiment reports on its website: “On 11th October 1938, 2nd/Lieutenant R. E. Miller, with a platoon of “D” Company, was road-blocked and heavily sniped at close quarters while carrying out a reconnaissance of the Al Walaja track, near Jerusalem. The platoon extricated itself successfully with air assistance, and not without having inflicted casualties on the enemy. “ (http://www.worcestershireregiment.com/wr.php?main=inc/bat_1_1939 )

On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly recommended partition of Palestine. The Zionist forces took this proposal as a Green light to begin ethnic cleansing, which roused a backlash that led to combat in 1948. The Al-Qastal battle was fought between Israeli occupation forces and village defenders headed by Abd al-Qadir al-Husseini in the Palestinian village of Al-Qastal. During fierce fighting Abdel Alqader Al-Husseini was martyred.

Basil’s great grandfather Abu Khalil was a comrade of Abdulqader Al-hussaini and fought with valor and was injured defending his land from the colonizing Zionists and their sponsors (the British mandate). Later, I learned a Jordanian soldier had told Basil’s grandfather that there was a Jordanian-Israeli conspiracy to adjust the border relinquishing Al-Walaja and other areas (similar to what proved to have happened to the villages of the Triangle area in the north).

Israel’s planned, program of forceful transfer of Palestine’s indigenous population gradually digressed into what some people described as a civil war in and others saw as a colonial war targeting the natives population. Israel made several attempts to take over the village and remove its inhabitants. 4 AM on the morning of 21 October 1948, the last successful attempt began. It was during the olive harvest season. Basil’s grandfather Ibrahim remembers that time. They had spread an exceptionally bountiful harvest of olives on the roofs of houses in preparation for sorting and selecting those pressed to make oil and the olives for pickling (called rseis). Basil described his grandfather’s reaction that night. While dreaming of the days work ahead, I was suddenly awakened by the sound of bombs, canon , and machine gun firing in the village. It was coming from three directions. I heard cries and screams, ran into the village, saw neighbors forced to leave at gunpoint, some in their sleeping attire and given no time to gather any belongings. Basil says his grandfather told him the shelling continued through that night and on into the day finally ending about 24 hours later. “My grandfather recalls how he put his younger siblings (15, 6, 4, 2 years old) at the railroad station in Battir and went looking for his parents and uncles” (separated in the mayhem of the flight). Basil then tells how his grandfather was such a solid, collected guy who inspired discipline, perseverance, or what he calls sumoud (steadfastness).

I recalled how these parts of Basil’s narrative speaking about his grandfather gave his face a glow of pride and dare I say hope (nostalgia to a disant past?). Clearly Basil saw the actions of his grandfather as heroic. Knowing I am from Beit Sahour, Basil told me that when reunited , the extended family sought refuge between the olive trees in Beit Sahour for a short while then returned after the border was drawn to inhabit the parts of their Al-Walaja lands that came under Jordanian rule. It was in Beit Sahour, that the family found a friend who invited them to stay in his village called Breidh’a (nearTa’amra, east of Bethlehem). Some men managed to sneak back into Al-Walaja and get enough wheat and olives from the harvest to help sustain them for six months. When food supplies ran out, the family patriarch Ibrahim decided that they could no longer burden their friends in Breidh’a and should find another home but where? By this time. The newly founded state of Israel had occupied 80% of Al-Walaja’s land. Twenty percent was beyond the cease-fire line under Jordanian rule. Israel had taken the fertile part of the village leaving only a hill good only as grazing lands for sheep. In the early 1950s, some villagers continued to sneak across the green line to take care of their land, to harvest their trees and make contact with family members. This was risky. In 1949, the newly founded state of Israel issued its first major military order to shoot on sight any Palestinian villagers, who had now become refugees trying to return to their lands or attempting to work those lands. According to Basil, the Jordanian government collaborated with Israel to prevent these cross border “infiltrations” for fear of Israel’s disproportionate attacks that were common-place (collective punishment). In one instance, a member of the family was captured by Israeli forces but not killed. Upon his release, the Jordanian government accused him of collaborating with Israel and the family spent six months with lots of legal cost to get him released.

Some of the Al-A’raj family including the grandfather Ibrahim lived in a cave and others lived in a small room in the Western edge of the village land on a property called Wadi Hils near Al-Makhrour – Beit Jala until 1964. By the early 1960s, several families from Al-Walaja, realized there was little likelihood that they would ever be able to return to their homes. It had become evident that Israel had no intention of complying with International law that and called for the right of refugees to return). Twenty percent of the area still remained in what became known as the West Bank.Palestinian refugees who could afford it, moved on the remaining land and began to build Al-Walaja al-Jadida, (the new Al-Walaja). The years following the creation of Israel between (1950-1964), were harsh. Basil tells how his father remembers family members suffering skin diseases, parasites, hunger, the shock of the Nakba permeated life and left emotional scars. One family member refused to allow their children to go to school telling them that it is critical that they stay farmers to go back home to Al-Walaja. Another refused to allow his grown children to build a house outside the village. Basil’s grandfather Ibrahim decided to learned a new profession and chose that of stone masonry. He found work in Jordan and in Lebanon and so was able to save enough money to build a one room shack outside the cave where he and his family had been living since they were driven out.

On June 5, 1967, the new Al-Walaja village was attacked unexpectedly from the east rather than from the west. Some villagers speculated it was because the Jordanian regime was in collusion with Israel according to Basil. Basil said his great grandfather, injured in heroic defense of our motherland in 1948 cried so hard on learning of this Naksa (setback of 1967) that he suffered a stroke that resulted in the loss of his eye sight. Brokenhearted, he died a month later.

Israel’s advanced weaponry ended the war after six days and saw the occupation by Israeli forces of what remains of Palestine. Unlike 1948, large scale ethnic cleansing did not follow.(Palestinians had learned that if you leave during war, you would not be allowed to return). Before the borders where sealed, Basil’s said his grandfather Ibrahim had gone to Jordan and brought back his mother who was visiting in Jordan. This latest war created 300,000 additional Palestinians refugees in 1967, nearly a third of them refugees for the second time.

Out of desperation, many Palestinians were forced to work for the new masters of the land. Anger and bitter resentment led to confrontations and frequently the proud villagers were fired within a day or two for exhibiting pride and refusing to accept the insults of their captors. In 1982, a new right-wing Israeli government took over the government of Israel. Headed by Menachen Begin, it was intent on further confiscation of land and building colonial settlements within its occupied territories while simultaneously intensifying war in bordering regions such as in Lebanon, with the perpetuation of massacres and war crimes.

The Begin government began confiscating more land from Al-Walaja Al-Jadida. Attempts were made to confiscate 30 dunums (about 7 acres) belong to the A’rajfamily. The family fought back, went to court, planted trees in this rather unproductive hilly land, and tried many other actions to protect what remained of their property. They did so successfully for many years but then Israel started building a segregation wall that is intended to squeeze the people by depriving them of their land and making them live in a an open air prison hoping they will leave. Basil’s and Shireen’s and other families refused to leave. As he paused, I ask him to tell me more about himself.

He told me: “The night I was born was cold and snowy. My parents (Mahmoud and Siham) thought it was sign that I was destined to live a harsh life. I was too young to remember much about the first uprising except sleeping with my shoes just in case we had to leave the house. I also remember in the early 1990s that the possessing a Palestinian flag was a very big thing. It was illegal to own or display it but it was a prized possession. I remember once taking a small flag from a car, feeling guilty, yet wanting it badly, then an older kid took it from me. At home, there was a little place for sewing clothing for our family needs but then slowly it became used to make forbidden flags at nights.”

But then Basil went back to telling me more about politics and the Oslo era. Basil said his interest in politics started when he was 10 years old. The Oslo agreements were then meant the PLO recognized Israel while Israel did not recognize Palestine and instead we developed a “Palestinian Authority”. Basil and his family believed these 1993/1994 agreements created a collaborating government in the same way as Vichy government in France under the Nazis. The period after 1994 saw developments that brought new challenges for people in Al-Walaja and the surrounding villages. Israel was moving forward rapidly expanding existing Jewish settlements/colonies and building-up infrastructure in for settlers while ignoring the need to update the deteriorating Palestinian infrastructure. Israel’s plan to improve infrastructure required acquiring more lands. Much land had already been taken from Al-Walaja and Beit Jala when the new Jewish colony of Har Gilo was built; and now Israel’s plan was to link it with other Jewish colonies and with Jerusalem. It meant roads were to be built through the remaining land of Al-Walaja. Our Al-Araj small family lost an additional four dunums (one dunum is about a quarter of an acre). What was worse is that the village lost access to two more of its water springs. By the late 1990s only one of the original 22 springs remained accessible and eventually even that was inaccessible when the separation wall built prevented us from reaching it. Villagers remained determined to resist by the only means available against the armed occupiers, that of non-violence. Everyone became involved in a popular resistance that included demonstrations, sit-ins, petitions, and legal methods through Israel’s courts. Buttressed by the other forms of resistance, the legal approach forced a judge to ask the government to move the road 19 meters away from the Al-Araj house.

A military checkpoint was placed at the entrance of the village in front of Basil and Shireen’s homes. A battle of wills ensued. Soldiers invaded the homes to terrorize the families and force them to leave. Armed soldiers intimidated the Al A with insults. They attacked children who tried to block soldiers from the private driveway leading to one of the houses. An Israeli bulldozer rolled noisily through the narrow street carrying dirt and dumped it at the village entrance to block the road. Several times during the day it came back and forth to dump the dirt and prevent access to the village. Throughout the night, villagers worked to remove the mound, and by morning, it was gone. Angered soldiers retaliated with attacks on families. If the soldiers felt the family comfortable, they disrupted with any excuse. Family barbeques, children playing football, raised voices during a heated family discussion or playing music – all were reason for intimidation. Resistance increased, and so did soldier attacks. Attacks graduated from house invasion with insults to using tear gas, rubber coated metal bullets and in some instances even live ammunition. As the repeated attempts to make life hell for the people continued, the Al-Araj family became ever more determined to save their homes and lands.

Basil recalled “We became aware of Israel’s plan when first seeing a 2006, map of the wall to encircle Al-Walaja. If completed as planned, the thirty foot high wall would isolate the villagers of Al-Walaja Al-Jadida from their farmland and deprive them of their livelihood. Building the wall required the destruction of thirty three homes in Al-Walaja Al-Jadida. In addition, notices were given for the demolition of eighty-eight additional homes in the village.

Basil said he went to Egypt for study between 2002 and 2007 (getting a degree in Pharmacology). While he was away, friends and relatives continued the struggle for their land. There were arrests of those who resisted; among them was that of a good friend of his now serving 40 year jail sentence for resistance (I need to get this person’s name). I ask him about who he loves most in his family besides his parents and he says all of them but as I press him he mentions his uncle Khalid for defending people (he is a lawyer) and his aunt Shireen [A strong women who needs an article/chapter of her own]. From Shireen he learned the value of non-violent resistance.

The work of this family and others in Walaja paid off. The checkpoint installed was removed in 2005. Basil was jailed 3 times and apprehended three other times. He suffered multiple injuries including twice having his ribs broken. The short sighted Basil recalled with bitterness the cruelty of soldiers who intentionally broke his prescription glasses.

After he lost his job as a pharmacist (related to his activism), he was briefly hired as a researcher for the Palestinian Museum. That was the last time he ever called me and he became a wanted man (by the Palestinian security and Israeli security). I felt really bad that we did not connect and I cried more for my friend Basil than I did for my cousin (a beautiful mother of two who died the same day).  I do not believe the story about Basil carrying arms. I was arrested with Basil Al-Araj several times between 2010 – 2014 in non-violent actions. He was an intellectual and a writer and he read my book promoting non-violent resistance and his questions to me about the book have not even hinted at a transition or transformation to belief in armed resistance. If I am wrong on my understanding, an evolution to armed resistance would be understandable; as John F. Kennedy said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”

When he was detained with other colleagues by the Palestinian security forces in April 2016, I was shocked and I wrote an email to my list:

“Basil Al-Araj is in a Palestinian jail. He is a young Palestinian pharmacist who had worked at a pharmacy in Shufat Refugee Camp in Jerusalem. I knew him because he is from Al-Walaja, a village that was struggling as “Israel” builds a wall around the remaining houses of the village (already 90% of the residents are refugees elsewhere). Village wells and lands were stolen by the Israeli colonizers starting in 1948 and continuing till today. Basil had a love of Palestine and a hatred of injustice. Like most young people they searched for ways to act on their convictions. He participated in nonviolent demonstrations at his village but was not satisfied with their outcome. He read my book on “Popular Resistance in Palestine” in Arabic and gave me his feedback. He said he learned much about history of the Palestinian struggle. He said the book’s Arabic could use some editing. He tried other methods of action. He and a few others tried to block the main road near the colony of Maale Adumim. He and I and four others were the six Palestinian Freedom riders arrested in 2011 while demonstrating Israeli apartheid policies [http://mondoweiss.net/2011/11/follow-the-freedom-rides/ ]. These demonstrative actions were born of good intentions to help bring us closer to freedom. I always lamented even as I participated in such actions how the Palestinian leadership betrayed its people leaving young and old n a sense “orphaned of leadership”. I worried not that the Palestinian cause will die (I am by nature optimistic) but that the selfishness, ego, and incompetence of self-declared leaders can only delay the inevitable freedom and dispirit a population otherwise willing and able to liberate itself. Now Basil and two friends of his have been arrested by the Palestinian Authority….”




Basil and the author in the lead-up to the freedom riders and Basil’s will

Yes, Basil was against Oslo and the whole PA structure. Basil told me that in certain countries, like the US, new immigrants build centers to preserve their culture. Chinatowns in New York and in California and other western cities. He adds “In our new Al-Walaja we did that and much more. The new Al-Walaja represented a threat to Jewish colonial settlements and West Jerusalem (because of its geographic location) but we had so many problems…the displaced and the refugees, taking our water rights, the wall built on our land, home demolitions, apartheid, residency rights. ….Resistance is normal reaction [to this]….. Palestine is a microcosm of the world, its history that of mankind. What happens here is an indicator of things to come around the world.” These prophetic words rang in my ears when I heard of Basil’s martyrdom.

As I said in the beginning, others have written of Basil’s extrajudicial execution (and if you are curious, here is one story and you can google for others: http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775829 . I preferred to tell you of what he told me of his life and that of his family. They say that this is his last will (and indeed the original in Arabic looked like his hand writing. Its rough translation is:

“Greetings of Arab nationalism, homeland, and liberation. If you are reading this, it means I have died and my soul has ascended to its creator. I pray to God that I will meet him with a guiltless heart, willingly, and never reluctantly, and free of any whit of hypocrisy. How hard it is to write your own will. For years I have been contemplating testaments written by martyrs, and those wills have always bewildered me. They were short, quick, without much eloquence. They did not quench our thirst to find answers about martyrdom. Now I am walking to my fated death satisfied that I found my answers. How stupid I was! Is there anything which is more eloquent and clearer than a martyr’s deed? I should have written this several months ago, but what kept me was that this question is for you, living people, and why should I answer on your behalf? Look for the answers yourself, and for us the inhabitants of the graves, all we seek is God’s mercy.”

Al-Walaja story
Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcodiFkotgk
Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBeztx5Lcv8
Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mramhyCQlI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sXbWvAnm2w

Videos of Al-Walaja struggle with many showing Basil and Shireen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er1vAJObtzM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaF33HVqDpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET–OhJTdC4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOfSeEjbJ8Y
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEFwlD4ToF8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfglnJeNUUk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9rdBX0pvv0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGQYz9vz8V8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Bknk8DEjO0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaF33HVqDpg (Israelis in Al-Walaja)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrbMP9hRNeo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K_-gpgTy_8

Palestinian activist ‘executed’ by Israeli forces after 2-hour shoot-out
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775810

Slain activist Basel al-Araj ‘a representation of the soul of Palestinian youth’
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775841

more
https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/prominent-palestinian-activist-killed-israeli-raid

Mythos und Wirklichkeit

“Many books go out of date and few remain iconic and critical to understanding an issue. The book in hand belongs to the latter category, the true classics. Simha Flapan was born in Poland 27 January 1911 and immigrated to Palestine as an idealistic “socialist Zionist” in 1930. He was national secretary of the Mapam party and head of its Arab Affairs department. Simha Flapan unfortunately died while his book went to press in 1987. However, the book was really revolutionary and hence it is now in German.” 

I wrote this forward but never shared it with the readers of my blog. I highly recommend for English speakers to read the original book and for German Speakers to read the German translation published in 2015 with my forward. Anyway here is the forward I wrote to the German version of this remarkable book.

Forward/Vorwort  (in German) to Simcha Flapan, “Die Geburt Israels. Mythos und Wirklichkeit,” Semit edition bei ZAMBON, Frankfurt/M. 2015 http://zambon.net/index.php?id=23&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=16&cHash=b31f316288177a61c0f7b3d7a8757a25
Forward By Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor and Director, Palestine Museum of Natural History, Bethlehem University, Occupied Palestine

Many books go out of date and few remain iconic and critical to understanding an issue. The book in hand belongs to the latter category, the true classics. Simha Flapan was born in Poland 27 January 1911 and immigrated to Palestine as an idealistic “socialist Zionist” in 1930. He was national secretary of the Mapam party and head of its Arab Affairs department. Simha Flapan unfortunately died while his book went to press in 1987. However, the book was really revolutionary and hence it is now in German. I am sure had Flapan been alive, the publisher would have gotten him to write a very relevant forward in a form of a new edition. I am sad I never met Flapan but I am honored to reflect on why this work is so critical. The well-chosen title “The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities” immediately draws attention to perhaps one of the most astounding historical events of the 20th century that still shapes conflicts in this part of the world and even beyond.
The tragic history that was unleashed here with the idea of Zionism was not unforeseen. Every Zionist leader knew that their project to colonize Palestine will create misery and mayhem because no colonization can be done nicely or with the support of the native people who will have to be expelled. Flapan does not give his opinions but he shows by documentary evidence how this tragedy happened. Palestine was to be transformed from multireligious and multi-cultural society (Jews represented less than 5% of the population in 1897) to the monolithic “Jewish state”. Ethnic cleansing achieved this goal and today 7 million Palestinians are refugees or displaced people (of a total Palestinian population of 12 million). This is the “miracle” of the Birth and growth of Israel. This miracle took a combination of military might, collusion by leaders near and far (including Arab leaders), and a lot of propaganda. Flapan exposes the myths that many Zionists told to justify their crimes. Flapan successfully tackles the biggest seven lies (myths) that Zionists used to create and perpetuate the state of Israel. The myths include things like the acceptance of partition by the Zionist leadership paralleling rejection by Arab leaders, the myth of a small Israel fending off large Arab armies (David vs. Goliath), the myth that Israel is looking for peace, and more. The most devastating myth is that of Israeli lack of responsibility for the creation of the Palestinian refugee “problem”. He demolishes these myths with irrefutable sources, most of them are actually from Israeli leaders themselves. This was a pioneering achievement and Flapan’s book opened a section of the wall of lies and myths to be followed by many Israeli honest writers such as Hillel Cohen, Baruch Kimmerling, Ilan Pappe, Tom Segev, Avi Shlaim, and Israel Shahak. Earlier many Palestinian historians have written extensively on the real history that is not the mythologized history of zionism (e.g. Aref Al-Aref, Walid Khalidi, Sami Hadawi, Emil Tuma, Nur Masalha etc).

The most important figure (the midwife) in the “birth of Israel” was David Ben-Gurion and the current book reviews extensively the record of this founding figure. We learn from Flapan things like what Ben-Gurion said in 1937 as to explain why a small state will help consolidate power “for the gradual conquest of all of Palestine”. We can trace this consistent thinking ten years later when Ben-Gurion explained that “After the formation of a large army in the wake of the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.” We learn in this book of Ben-Gurion’s statement that he sees transfer as moral and we read his orders to remove inhabitants in many places and we learn about his creation of a “transfer committee”. Members of this transfer committee (Dannon, Weitz, Lipshitz) are exposed as racist ideologues who made many incriminating statements. In a fair world such individuals who led or participated in these actions would have been tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. But Zionists were well placed in western countries and managed much misinformation as well as used the world sympathies after WWII to hide horrors committed to create the Jewish state.

But it is not just these amazing quotes that are relevant, but the nuances of wheeling and dealing reminiscent of the novel “The Godfather” that we become privy to by reading Flapan. We learn much about negotiations that ensured a declaration of independence that lacked any relevance to borders of the new state and from the wrangling between parties not about the morality of transferring population but merely about how to do it. We learn about the policies and practices that emanate from the Zionist maxim of maximizing geography (Palestinian land for the Jewish state) while minimizing demography (of the native Palestinians). We learn how international politics and local maneuvering were done with sophistication and cunning to hide the massacres and the ethnic cleansing. We learn about the collusion between Zionists and King Abdullah of Jordan to thwart the formation of a Palestinian state, a collusion that was crucial in the devastation inflicted on the local Palestinians in 1948-9. We learn that the Zionists, intoxicated with their power, even abandoned the favorable agreement made with Abdullah and moved forward with expansions. This is not unusual in colonial histories (e.g. in the Americas). Abdullah was assassinated for his collusion by a young Palestinian nationalist in 1951.

I find it remarkable that the insights that were revealed by Flapan in this book are echoed by previously classified and now declassified assessment from Western Intelligence agencies. For example, on 28 November 1947, the US Central Intelligence Agency correctly predicted the mayhem that would arise because of President Truman’s support for creation of a Jewish state. They also accurately predicted that “In the long run no Zionists in Palestine will be satisfied with the territorial arrangements of the partition settlement. Even the more conservative Zionists will hope to obtain the whole of the Nejeb [Naqab], Western Galilee, the city of Jerusalem, and eventually all of Palestine. The extremists demand not only all of Palestine but Transjordan as well. They have stated that they will refuse to recognize the validity of any Jewish government which will settle for anything less, and will probably under-take aggressive action to achieve their ends.”(document declassified 16 Jan 1978).

Flapan’s meticulous research shows the remarkable extent of the efforts to destroy native Palestinian civilian lives, drive people out, and create an ethnocracy with apartheid laws. Flapan uses the term population transfer (which Ben-Gurion found desirable) rather than the term ethnic cleansing which Ilan Pappe and others used. In this book we find a very good discussion of Plan Dalet, adopted in March 1948 and implemented on the ground to drive the natives out. We find good discussion of how the plan was put into force by forces under Yitzhak (break their bones) Rabin to drive the residents of Lydde (Lod) and Ramle out not in a heat of battle but to “cleanse” the area.

Why is demolishing these myths still as relevant today (2015) as it was in 1987 when Flapan died? It is because these myths provided and still provide useful justification for continued injustice. They basically create the fog that allows Israel to be both an apartheid racist state while claiming western values and “democracy”. It allows the state with the fifth strongest army in the world to be the only state with undeclared stockpiles of hundreds of nuclear weapons to claim its “vulnerability” and push other states to fight wars on its behalf. The current book is thus relevant even as some of its details may have become outdated. For example, Flapan mention Israel’s rule over 1.5 million Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza in 1987 (the number is now 4 million).

As I discussed in my book on “Sharing the Land of Canaan”, abandoning myths helps us get correct diagnosis leading to applying appropriate therapies and a better prognosis. The sobering assessment bolstered by the declassified documents of the historians such as Flapan is that political Zionism is a racist colonial ideology built on myths and is incompatible with peace. This is perhaps not what Flapan wanted us to conclude. In his earlier book “Zionism and the Palestinians’ (1979)  he wrote that “To dispel misunderstanding, I want to make it clear that my belief in the moral justification and historical necessity of Zionism remains unaffected by my critical reappraisal of the Zionist leadership. The history of Zionism demonstrates the extent to which the urge to create a new society, embodying the universal values of democracy and social justice, was inherent in the Zionist movement and responsible for its progress in adverse conditions.” Towards the end of this book, we hear a slightly different Flapan put much of the burden for change on Israel (especially considering the asymmetry of power). Flapan apparently remained a Zionist though distraught at the (predictable) shift to the right in the Zionist discourse. This is different than the trajectory of other historians like Ilan Pappe or politicians like Avraham Burg who moved farther away from the Zionist narrative. But political opinions aside and no matter how Flapan would have evolved his thinking, his contribution to debunking the myths of Zionism ultimately also chip away at the ideology itself and thus help us get closer to peace with justice.

References

Burg, Avraham 2008. The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From its Ashes. MacMillan, New York.

Flapan, Simha 1979. Zionism and the Palestinians. Croom Helm, London.

Kimmerling, Baruch 2001. The Invention and Decline of Israeliness: State, Culture and Military in Israel. University of California Press, Los Angeles and Berkeley.

Kimmerling, Baruch 2003. Politicide: Sharon’s War Against the Palestinians. Verso, London.

Kimmerling, Baruch and Joel S. Migdal 1993. Palestinians: The Making of a People. Free Press, New York.

Pappe, Ilan 2006. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oneworld, London and New York

Pappe, Ilan 2011. The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT

Qumsiyeh, Mazin 2004. Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle. Pluto, London.

Qumsiyeh, Mazin 2015. Kanaan: Ein Gemeinsames Land: Menschenrechte und der Israelisch-Palestinensische Kampf. Zambon Verlag, Frankfurt am Main.

Shahak, Israel 1997. Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies.  Pluto Press, London

Shahak, Israel 1994 (New edition 2008). Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The weight of 3000 years. Pluto Press, London.

Shahak, Israel and Mezvinsky, Norton 1999 (New edition 2004). Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel. Pluto Press, London.