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Jul-01-2010 18:20printcomments

Reflections: Italia-Palestina

Life moves on and people live and let live. But the situation in Palestine is only heating up.

Italy and Palestine
Flags of Italy and Palestine

(BETHLEHEM) - Like in Palestine, a traveler discovers in Italy common characteristics found in all ancient civilizations: hospitability, pride of place, joy of life, a strong sense of history without a need to exaggerate, and a general sense of continuity of past present and future.

Unlike colonial states, there is also a strong sense of provincialism that transcends state nationalism.

The dialect spoken is only a part of this since there is much more to this sense of bonding to place. People are born, raised, and have extended families in one place. This is not true in the old colonial states like the United States or in the newer colonial entities like Israel.

People are connected to the land in ways that are hard to describe to those who are not of the place.

In Campania, the district in Italy that includes Napoli, we find villages and towns that are really ancient, built in respect of the local landscape, and not trying to dominate or subdue.

Only abandoned castles of invaders are on top of hills and provide only a reminder of the folly of humanity. Similarly, our Palestinian Arab towns blend seamlessly with the landscape: Akka, Jaffa, Nazareth, Haifa, Beisan, Beit Sahour, Nahhalin, Nablus, Gaza, or Hebron.

Zionists took over some of these towns but generally their initial activities and later much of their activities have been to build enclaves/colonies in ways that are as predictable as the crusaders.

Tops of hills, strategic locations to dominate and control. This is expected from foreign invaders who always worry about the day they will be removed. The land is violated and the countryside dominated.

One is only comforted to note that these unnatural phenomena usually do not last long whether they were Spanish colonies in Italy or Crusader cities and castles in Palestine. The local people hold no bitterness about any part of the complex history.

In Positano along the Amalfii coast, the local people had the legend of Turkish Pirates establishing a colony here but local festival actually reenacts this episode in fun and many locals joyfully play the parts of the Turkish invaders.

In Palestine, many people joyfully tell of the fact that there are families who trace their ancestry to reminants of the crusaders and many even prefer that blondish look of ‘European’ Palestinians.

Life moves on and people live and let live. But the situation in Palestine is only heating up.

In the USA, the native people were severely decimated (including by European diseases that they were not resistant to) and were in any case less densely populated and had a much shorter history and civilization than elsewhere.

The remaining native Americans still struggle to maintain their identity and even try to reclaim some of their rights. Most European Americans have come to realize the injustices committed and some now seek wisdom from the philosophies of ancient tribes.

Israeli colonization in Palestine over the past 62 years came rather late in the history of humanity after most countries abandoned colonialism. It has all the usual characteristics of colonization but also required the added ‘feature’ of being built on layers of religious and other mythologies.

The Zionist movement convinced enough Jews (and many gullible non-Jews) that Judaism represents not just a religion but a “peoplehood”.

To peddle this bizarre mythology, data from science fields including genetics and archeology were discarded or distorted or even manufactured (see my book on “Sharing the Land of Canaan” for some explanation). Other classes of distortions and genres of mythologies were developed to justify the unjustifiable (see for example qumsiyeh.org/liesandtruths/).

But the bottom line is not so hard to fudge: Palestinians have been dispossessed from most of their lands (7 of 11 million are now refugees or displaced people, the remainder has access to less than 8.3%) and an artificial racist state rules with military might and occasionally lashes out violently at any and all opposition internal or external (e.g. in Lebanon in 2006, Gaza in 2008/9 and against the humanitarian aid ships in International waters).

The Zionist state has agents acting on its behalf in many countries around the world and thus feels it can get away with gross violations of International law including committing crimes against humanity. But the irrational behavior of this rogue state has caused its Western sponsors significant problems.

My lectures in the West (including at NATO Defense College) shows that Westerners are increasingly aware of the dangers posed by this rogue state. After all, if we cannot have International law/humanitarian law applicable in the case of Israel, then the Arab and Muslim world is right to ask: why have such law if there is only the rule that ‘might makes right’. For what we risk by allowing Israeli exceptionalism to basic norms of decency is not merely sacrificing Palestinians but sacrificing International order. This conclusion is evident from any rational and even cursory examination of issues like terrorism, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thus, as I try to explain in my lectures, this issue of Israel/Palestine is critical for all. If we want our lives to be meaningful, we cannot ignore this issue. We are fortunate in being able to effect a change in history at this critical junction. I thus want to thank our hosts and other Italian people for the great hospitality, warmth, sympathy, and solidarity that we witnessed here. It has given us much energy to even work harder. For all of them and all others on this list around the world, we welcome you to visit us in occupied Palestine and help make history.

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Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD (formerly of Yale and Duke universities) teaches at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine and chairs the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People. Professor Qumsiyeh has authored over 110 scientific papers in areas of mammalogy, biology, and medicine including mammalian biology and evolution, clinical genetics, and cancer research. He has published over 100 letters to the editor and 30 op-ed pieces in International, national, regional and local papers on issues ranging from politics to environmental issues. His appearances in national media include the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others. He is the founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation and ex-President of the Middle East Genetics Association, and Prof. Qumsiyeh won the Jallow activism award from the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1998. Those are just a small list, visit Mazin Qumsiyeh's amazing and informative Website to learn more: qumsiyeh.org, and also pcr.ps.




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Anonymous July 1, 2010 7:38 pm (Pacific time)

Memo to President Obama and the US Congress: Iran is developing a power station! Nothing more; nothing less. Iran, as a member of the NNPT, has the right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes, such as developing nuclear energy. As a signatory to the NNPT, Iran has had its nuclear facilities rigorously inspected by the IAEA. To date (at least, until the UN slapped sanctions against Iran for having conducted its nuclear program by the book), no nuclear material has been found to have gone missing, and the enrichment performed has only been enough for isotopes for medical use, which is a 20% enrichment. Weapons grade enrichment would require over a 90% enrichment. Israel, on the other hand, which does have nuclear weapons, refuses to sign the NNPT, or to have their nuclear facilities inspected. The US is forbidden by law (the Symington Amendment, among others) to send any aid or money to any country which possesses nuclear weapons, but refuses to sign the NNPT. The US sends Israel billions of dollars illegally every year. This colossal double standard of the US's having sanctioned Iran, which does not have nuclear weapons, and yet continuing to fund Israel illegally, which does have nuclear weapons, is truly amazing. Michael Rivero whatreallyhappened.com

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