Mazin Qumsiyeh

Who wrote this and when: “I have been keeping up with the situation in Egypt, and as you know this is one of the most important issues in world today. It will determine whether we live in peace or whether we will die in war. Naturally my sympathies are with Egypt, rather than with the Western Colonial and imperial powers.”

Answer: Martin Luther King, Jr., letter to Jimmy Bishai, 7 January 1957 in context of tripartite (France, England, Israel) aggression on Egypt (http://www.qumsiyeh.org/martinlutherking). A translated version of a 50 years old comic book relating the non-violent civil disobedience movement of Martin Luther King, Jr. was distributed throughout Tahrir Square in Egypt.

In Egypt on 11 November 1918, Saad Zaghloul and other grassroots leaders asked the new British occupation forces to permit the development of an Egyptian leadership with a view to independence. When this was rejected, these leaders collected over two million signatures which endorsed a new leadership anyway. The British responded by arresting the leaders and this led to general strikes and massive demonstrations; a popular uprising. This accelerated in 1919 and continued until 1922 when the British finally allowed the formation of an Egyptian constitutional government, albeit ruled by a monarch friendly to British interests. But today, the Egyptian people will only accept a government of and by the people.

I received so many calls and hundreds of emails from fellow activists in Palestine saying Mabruk (congratulations) about Egypt.  We rightly feel validated, elated, gratified, and happy because an end of repressive and corrupt regimes allied with the US Israel would finally make governments accountable to people. Egypt and Tunisia together are a quarter of the Arab world (Lebanon is also democratic so that is nearly a third down, two thirds to go).  Algeria, Yemen, and Bahrain are starting now. People demand not only an end to dictatorships in their countries but  an end to their governments’ acquiescence in apartheid policies.  And when the support for Israeli apartheid from the West ends, democracy will be easier to spread to countries like Iran and Syria (that pulls a major leg of popular support for them).  It will be hard to predict sequence of change but my guess is that Israel and its western backers may come later in the game of popular revolts.  A new intifada/uprising is due here in Palestine against Israeli colonialism. There is a god likelihood of a global uprising this year or next.  Israeli right-wing government is trying to act ahead of that by outlawing boycotts and by shooting and jailing nonviolent protesters; they just passed a law in the “Knesset” to levy heavy fines on Israeli citizens who call or promote the boycotts (See last item below). Israel still holds hundreds of political prisoners. To respond we must intensify our popular uprisings everywhere including using boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS, see http://www.bdsmovement.net ). The 21st century will be the century of popular revolts. By the end of it, concentration of wealth in the hands of a few while billions live below poverty lines will be ended.  Wars will be ended. And we will address the environmental problems that face us that our governments and corporations created by their greed.  We are charting a path to the future.  You can either join us, fight us, or get out of the way.

Rallies throughout Occupied Palestine in Solidarity with Egypt and Tunisia by Hanadi Omar and Mazin Qumsiyeh http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/oq060211.html

(about the first demonstration in Bethlehem)
In Solidarity with Egypt, Fifty Gather in Bethlehem’s Nativity Square
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?Itemid=59&id=9515&option=com_content&task=vi
ew

(about the second demonstration in Bethlehem) Despite Police, Palestinians
Celebrate Egypt’s Revolution in Bethlehem http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9552
(in Arabic) http://www.alquds.com/node/327141
(In Arabic) http://www.fateh-voice.ps/arabic/?action=detail&id=24634
(In Arabic) http://www.maannews.net/ARB/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359640
We will gather also Saturday at 2 in the Nativity square

Miftah Editorial: The Winds of Change Should Shift Our Sail Too
http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=23155&CategoryId=3

Sout Al Horeya صوت الحريه Amir Eid – Hany Adel – Hawary On Guitar & Sherif
On Keyboards

Names of Egyptian martyrs of the revolution
http://www.box.net/shared/e0zar7kcar

Pictures of the uprising in Egypt http://1000memories.com/egypt

A Birds eye view of the Tahrir (Liberation) square that helped topple a regime. Click on the locations, and see details of the arrangements. Excellent and makes you feel you were there walking around the square
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12434787

Mubarak Regime Orchestrated the Church Blast to Please USA &Israel
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/02/13/dr-ashraf-ezzat-mubarak-regime-orche
strated-the-church-blast-to-please-usa-israel/

Hostages to Zionism by MARK BRAVERMAN on FEBRUARY 14,
2011http://mondoweiss.net/2011/02/hostages-to-zionism.html#more-36234

Knesset committee approves bill allowing Israel boycotters to be fined: Bill calls for heavy fines to be imposed on Israeli citizens who initiate or incite boycotts against Israeli individuals, companies, factories, and organizations.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/knesset-committee-approves-bill-allowin
g-israel-boycotters-to-be-fined-1.343596


The Israeli judges of the “supreme court” today seemed at first sympathetic to the plight of the villagers of Al-Walaja whose houses are being surrounded on all sides as they get separated from their agricultural lands (and all their water sources).  But the system was clearly stacked against natives.  Half the people who were slated to go from Al-Walaja to the court were denied entry to Jerusalem where the court is held (this includes people impacted directly like farmer Abu Nidal, the village council head, other members of the village council, and me!).  The judges ruled to postpone for another hearing in 45 days and allowed the apartheid government to continue building the wall in the meantime! This is to give the government time to come-up with confiscation orders for land that will be now on the other side of the wall (maybe even the graves of Abu Nidal’s family members).  My wife and many international observers attended the hearings but it was all in Hebrew and so they could not understand much of what was going on.  With Israeli Zionist judges using Zionist laws (contrary to International law) and judging between the Israeli Zionist government and native occupied Palestinians, it is hard to be optimistic about the legal discourse (but it is attempted anyway and must be accompanied by other actions).  There are other cases of abortion of justice in the past week:

[Israel] Supreme Court ruling allows Jews-only housing in Jaffa [Arab] neighborhood
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/supreme-court-ruling-allows-jews-only-h
ousing-in-jaffa-neighborhood-1.323421

Israeli court in Haifa continues the charade and killing prospects of justice for murdered Rachel Corrie (a victim of the apartheid state). http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/08/world/middleeast/08corrie.html?_r=1&ref=wo
rld

And the Israeli government just approved tenders for 1300 new buildings in illegal Jewish colonial settlements in Arab East Jerusalem (contrary to International law including the fourth Geneva Convention and a number of UN Security Council Resolutions.  This while Netanyahu is visiting the US demanding they attack yet another sovereign country (Iran) to please his agenda.  Meanwhile, the human and material cost of the Zionist-inspired wars on Afghanistan and Iraq continue to escalate.


The past two days witnessed further Israeli war crimes from shooting at unarmed protesters in Gaza, to destruction of land and property, and to raids in the middle of the night. But we also had a good first day of the International conference in Bil’in.  It was so good to meet with dear
friends (e.g. Neta Golan, Huwaida Arraf, Lubna Masarwa, Iyad Burnat, Mohammed Al-Khatib, and so many more) and make many new ones.  Hundreds of people attended on the first day from many countries.  Speeches were delivered from dignitaries (e.g. Archbishop Atallah Hanna) and politicians (e.g. Salam Fayyad).

There were representatives of all political factions (Hamas, Fatah, PFLP, DFLP etc) and all perspectives.  But the most interesting of all was the video-uplink with Gaza.  Facilitated by Lubna Masarwa on this end and our dear friend Dr. Haidar Eid in Gaza. The site of the video uplink was a destroyed three story residential building whose residents still remain homeless. We also heard from a daughter of one of the abductees (many activists were abducted by the occupation soldiers and are still held in the gulags of the fascist occupation army).  We also heard from relatives of the martyrs (murdered mercilessly by the occupation
authorities).  Everybody especially remembered the wonderful positive spirit of Bassem Abu-Rahma murdered one year ago at peaceful demonstration against the apartheid wall.

My excitement about the achievements in Bil’in was needed to balance the pain as we watched the Israeli bulldozers destroy a family’s front yard (the family of Mitri Ghneim in Beit Jala).  The olive trees did not stand for two long. Nor did the children’s playground.  The carefully tended garden lasted even less. Feelings of anger,sadness, pain, misery and more fluctuated but the emotions settled always on a sense of betrayal.  Why is the world letting this happen.  Israeli soldiers behaving like sadists dragging internationals out of the way and preventing all activists from getting close to victim’s family as they ravaged the yard. Six activists managed to get through and were beaten.  They included two Palestinians. One international was taken asnd the others released on site later.  My eyes welled up with tears as I watched two of the family’s children return from school and look in horror at what is happening to their gardens.

In Al-Walaja village, the fascist Israeli army uprooted over 50 trees as it bulldozed areas around the illegal colony of Har Gilo.  Much of the Land of Al-Walaja (near Beit Jala).  On Wednesday, the illegal Israeli colony of Etzion poured its sewage on the grape vineyards of of the Palestinain village of Beit Ummar. For days, the Israeli army had closed the roads to the village at the main intersection as an act of collective punishment for the peaceful protests of land confiscation.

There will be demonstrations today (Friday) after mosque prayers at Al-Ma’sara, Al-Walaja, Bil’in, and other places throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.

Some photos of the ongoing apartheid http://www.flickr.com/photos/activestills/

Video: Hope demolished in Al-Khadr village near Bethlehem (village named after St. George)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NReVRkkp48
Video: Night raid in Bilin the night before the conference

Inside the “Green Line”  (areas occupied in 1948), there was a lot of activity also.  There, according to speakers at the Bilin conference apartheid has long been entrenched in the system of laws and regulations in addition to the persistent ethnic cleansing and land loss by the native
Palestinians.  But those who are “on the inside” also continue to resist and refuse to give-up their basic human rights including the right to return to their homes and lands.  Uri’s video and pictures of the return march touched us here in the West Bank even though we could not enter through the walls and checkpoints to join them this time.

The march is from Tira to Miske, one of 510 ethnically cleansed villages and towns. The march of Native Palestinians coincides with Zionist “celebtrations” of this ethnic cleansing which they call “independence day”.  A refugee from Miske explained that the reason for the coincidence is that the march was not allowed by the military rules for many years so Miske families took advantage of lax rules on the day of Israeli celebrations to march back to their village during these years and then this became a tradition.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/31383164@N06/sets/72157623772852961/

Video: “Al Nakba”–The Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948

A bedouin a cyberspace, a villager at home (and whose tent now is pitched in
Rome)

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