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Dignity and solidarity, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

Tabghe Church in the Galillee withstood 1700 years of various rulers in
Palestine. It is the church on the location we are told where Jesus
multiplied the fish and the bread. For the first time in its long history
it was burned nearly completely (arson) this week. The perpetrators wrote
in red Hebrew graffiti that the “idol worshippers” will also be killed! It
joins other churches and dozens of mosques destroyed since the founding of
the “Jewish state” in Palestine. Israel is a repressive country that
violates basic human rights including freedom of religion. It inculcates in
its public and private Jewish only schools notions of chosenness and racism
(just read Nurit Peled-Elhanan research into this subject). Just see these
two examples of the products of Zionist indoctrination:

If you want to know what most of us Christians think of Zionism (not of
Jews because these are different issues), visit this

Incidentally Ilan Pappe, author of “the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”
spoke to hundreds in the occupied territories (in person in AlBireh with
live teleconference in Gaza) and articulated brilliantly why peace with the
Zionist ideology and the “two-state solution” are both impossible. He
articulated the need for a  new strategy based on human rights including
return and self-determination in one democratic state.

Now we are in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Gaza families are fasting
like others even with the meager foods they have to break their fast and
they have to do this next to their demolished houses (tens of thousands are
without their homes after the genocidal assault last summer). Millions of
Syrian and Iraqi refugees (of all religions) face similar conditions of
deprivation and misery thanks to the conditions created by the Israeli
lobby’s push for the war on Iraq in 2003 that cascaded into ISIS and other
horrors. Looking around us, we miss the rational voices of colleagues like
Edward Said and Faisal AlHusseini. Here is one of my favorite prophetic
writings of my friend Edward Said:

As for Faisal Al-Husseini, he was born in Baghdad on July 17, 1940 during
his father's forced exile from Jerusalem. In 1944, his family moved to
Mecca where they lived for one and a half years, and from there moved to
Cairo where Faisal pursued his elementary and secondary education. His
father Abdel Qader Al-Husseini was a leader in the armed struggle in
Palestine and fell a martyr defending his homeland in the battle of
Al-Qastal in 1948. Faisal passed away during his visit to Kuwait on
31/5/2001 and was buried on 1/6/2001 in the courtyard of Al-Haram Al-Sharif
beside his father and grandfather. With tens of thousands attending his
funeral (at least for that one day, the barriers around Jerusalem
disappeared). Here is what he wrote after one of the many Zionist massacres
that shows the level of his humanity and it is appropriate in this holy

Oh God, the chest is replete with bitterness… do not turn that into spite.
Oh God, the heart is replete with pain… do not turn that into vengeance.
Oh God, the spirit is replete with fear… do not turn that into hatred.
Oh God, my body is weak… do not turn my weakness into despair.
Oh God, I your servant am holding the embers… so help me maintain my
Oh God, faith is love… Oh God faith is forgiveness… Oh God, faith is
Oh God, do not put of the flame of faith from my chest.
Oh God, we wanted for the Intifada a white one, so please protect it.
Oh God, we wanted freedom for our people, we did not want slavery to others.
Oh God, we wanted a homeland for our people to gather them, we did not want
to destroy states of others, nor to demolish their homes.
Oh God, our people are stripped of all things, except their belief in their
Oh God, our people are weak except in their faith and in their victory.
Oh God, grant us conviction, mercy and tolerance in our ranks, and not make
us war against ourselves
Oh God, turn the blood that was shed into light that will guide us and
strengthen our arms, do not let it turn into fuel of hatred and vengeance.
Oh God, help us over our enemy so that we can help him deal with himself.
Oh God, this is my prayer to invocation, so listen to it and grant
us our supplication and guide us to the right path.

This past week we had good activities with many volunteers. If you want to
see our activities, please follow us on facebook under Palestine Museum of
Natural History and do Come visit us anytime.

Meanwhile.. stay human

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

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