A Palestinian’s New Year’s Message

To all those who yearn for peace with justice  

from Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh

Happy new Year 2015. May it bring all of you peace (internal peace at
least!). We Palestinians have one top wish for 2015 as in every year
since 1917: freedom. Freedom means self determination, it means
refugees will be finally allowed to return home. Freedom means I can
go to my city of Jerusalem without having to hide from checkpoints and
walk around walls. Freedom means my students will arrive on class on
time without being harassed by soldiers. Freedom means having students
from other parts of Palestine at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities
where I teach. Freedom means not being discriminated against, not
having to apply or be denied passes (ala apartheid South Africa pass
system) to move around simply for being not Jewish. Freedom means
having a functioning economy not stolen by the occupier who took over
our tourism, our agriculture, our industries, our natural resources.
Freedom means not having friends and relatives killed or homes
demolished because they are not Jewish.

2014 opened with it being declared by the UN an ‘International year of
solidarity with the Palestinian people’ and closed with the UN
Security Council under pressure from the Israeli-occupied US
government rejecting affirming their own resolutions on applicability
of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories! In
between thousands of Palestinians were massacred in 2014 including
over 500 children by the racist apartheid system. The Egyptian army
shot and the Israeli army shot Palestinians to open the new year 2015.
Western politicians and other talking heads want to obfuscate the
reality that solving this colonial conflict here in Palestine is key
to bringing peace to Western Asia (aka “Middle East’). I wrote a book
over 12 years ago which lays out why peace has eluded us all these
decades and the only and inevitable solution going forward. The book
is titled “Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli
Palestinian Struggle”. “It is indeed a journey of awakening at the
individual level that is not only spiritual, but also require concrete
action to bring true peace and justice to fruition. We Canaanites, who
invented the alphabet, domesticated animals and developed agriculture,
and made this arid land into a land of milk and honey, surely can do
this. An Arab poet wrote “Itha Asha3bu yawman Arad al-7ayata fala
budda an Yastijeeb al-qadar. Wala budda lillayal an Yanjaili wala
budda li-thulm an yankasir.” Roughly translated, it means: If the
people one day strive for life, then ultimately destiny will respond
and the night will give way and the injustice will be broken. The path
to peace is not served by the creation of more states or unjust
“fixes” to perceived demographic “problems.” It has to do with
justice and implementation of human rights and international law. It
requires grass root action to accelerate its arrival but it is the
only solution possible in the long tern. We can either remain locked
in our old mythological and tribal ways or we can envision a better
future and work for it. The choice is obvious.” You can read that
last chapter and more on this link (I believe this is still the only
path towards peace we have): http://qumsiyeh.org/chapter13/

 

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh from Beit Sahour in Palestine is a Palestinian author, activist and educator who teaches at both Bir Zeit and Bethlehem Universities. He is the director of the new Palestine Museum of Natural History .

 
tags: Israel/Palestine   
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