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Human Rights Newsletter: Invasive versus biodiverse, by Mazin Qumsiyeh | ODS

Mea culpa: I shared as part of my last email an anecdote about what Hillary
Clinton said in a letter to Saban. In that letter Clinton asserted her
opposition to BDS but did not say she supports killing Gaza children. The
latter part apparently was a news item of a satirical nature.  I am sorry
for this error. Clinton and Trump and Sanders remain strong Zionist
supports and have not challenged Israel’s ongoing genocide of native

Now on ongoing matters, a ceasefire was declared in Syria brokered by the
US and Russia which is a good thing. The twin rogue regimes of Israel and
Saudi Arabia are not happy. The former rattled its military wares and
killed a few more Palestinians. The Saudi regime cut off aid to the
Lebanese army while dumping more weapons on civilians in Yemen. Personally
I was reflecting on issues of Invasive Species. Here in Palestine we see
more and more invasive species: crows, mina birds, Zionist settlers and
European Pine and Australian "ornamental" trees they brought that are
taking over vast areas of the country and damaging native flora and fauna.
530 native villages diverse in customs and culture and religion were wiped
out to make space for the invasive species. Biodiversity shrunk in the face
of the onslaught.

Many human beings especially those who look at life from a narrow
perspective (sometimes called fundamentalists) view diversity as harmful
and want to create a more homogeneous society with their group/idea
dominating it. The Pharisees of 2000 years ago were a powerful sect mired
in ritualistic traditions which predated by some 300 years the evolution of
Rabbinical Judaism. Jesus challenged them for their orthodoxy of thought
that he considered disconnected from reality and needs of the people. In
the past 2000 years similar ideas opposing diversity were resurrected from
crusaders to Islamic fundamentalism, to white supremacy, to genocide od
Armenians by Ottoman turks, to Nazi atrocities of murdering millions, to US
genocides in Cambodia and Vietnam, to apartheid in South Africa, to Rwanda,
and most recently to Zionist genocide of native Palestinians.

Working and adapting to changing landscapes is based on diversity whether
in natural world (Darwinian evolution) or in human societies (cultural
evolution). This is a key to survival but the reverse is also true: most
isolationist ideologies that refused to accept concepts of diversity are
extinct or almost extinct. Zionism will thus also end. I am beginning to
wonder if the ultimate trajectory of Jewish colonization of Palestine is a
complicated ritual (sacrificing the native Palestinians) to arrive at a
culminated predictable mass suicide (ala Samson or Masada).  I say this
with some trepidation because all my life I have been working hard to
insist that there is a way out based on human rights and international law
that guarantees mutual survival and mutual respect for all people and ideas
in Palestine.  I still think it is possible (although that window is
closing very quickly thanks to Israeli actions) to return Palestine to a
multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural society (albeit with now a
far more prominent Jewish and Hebrew presence).   Zionists insist on their
program that is analogous to the program of the crusaders to “Christianize”
Palestine and make it this fictional “Christendom.”  Zionists want to
transform the country to a Jewish state and their relentless program to do
that is now focused on Jerusalem and strengthening the Jewish only colonies
built around it on Palestinian lands.  When the Crusaders were defeated,
Christian presence here continued and actually flourished (my family is
descendants of Canaanites who converted to Christianity in the 3rd century
AD and lived through that tumultuous era as Arab Eastern Christians).

Intrinsically, people recognize that there is beauty and harmony in
diversity.  Every human being recognizes that spring is beautiful because
of the diversity of textures, flowers, animals, smells, faces, and foods.
From childhood we recognize that we do not like monotony and we like things
that mix colors or change routines.  That is also why jokes are funny as
they provide the unexpected punch line. I started to think that the same as
applies to considering the natural world of animals and plants beautiful
must also apply to diversity of people. Zionism and Nazism’s main failure
is that they wanted to create homogeneity.  Homogeneity is ugly by
definition even without considering the attempt to exclude what originally
made the place beautiful: the natives.

Stay human and help the natives

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