Conflict and Sustainable Development

Column
Mazin Qumsiyeh

One of the dozens of workshops held in 2015 at the Palestine Museum of Natural History

One of the dozens of workshops held in 2015 at the Palestine Museum of Natural History

I published a book called “Sharing the Land of Canaan” in 2004. The text was written a bit earlier (2002 and 2003). Much has happened in Palestine since I wrote these things and my own emphasis has gone towards environmental justice and environmental conservation. I wanted to share this one chapter (chapter 10) with you on the Conflict and Sustainable Development and seek your thoughts because this is an area we are currently focusing on.

The situation on the ground has gone from bad to worse but there are occasional lights of hope in the grim picture (e.g. I mentioned we even started an environmental biology master program and we at the museum are working with ministry of health and the Environmental Quality Authority to improve environmental health). In the past 12 years we have published a number of research papers on environmental issues in Palestinian areas.

While this earlier book discussed both diagnosis and the only available solution (one democratic secular state), in my later book on “Popular Resistance in Palestine” [2012] I discussed how we Palestinians have resisted Israeli colonial onslaught and painted an optimistic outlook for our future which we are now realizing despite the horrific political elites “leading” our societies (I should say destroying our societies).

In political news, human rights organizations are finally beginning to speak out about repression in “Saudi Arabia” and “Israel”.

Mahmoud Abbas and his security chief made statements defending their continued security collaboration with Israeli apartheid forces. Most Palestinians agree with the decision by the PLO Central Committee to end such security coordination.

Gaza continues to be besieged and most of the eastern portion of it is a disaster area (suffering even more from rain and cold weather).

The forces of darkness from “Saudi Arabia” are still bombing civilian areas in Yemen and through Turkey still supporting violence in Syria. But there are signs of a diplomatic push to end the two conflicts, but not for Palestine.

Mr. Abbas says there should be an international conference on Palestine but he does not see that this requires an actual stalemate or at least strengthening (not suppressing) resistance to give Israel a reason to comply with International law. At present there is only reasons to continue colonization (very profitable, 55% of Israeli budget depends on continuing status quo).

In good news, BDS movement is growing and more and more people are being informed of the reality.

We at Bethlehem University (and the museum) are receiving almost daily delegations of interested people (local and international) who want to help. We finished the workshop on aquaponics at the museum. To keep up with our activities, we are posting in our timeline on facebook under Palestine Museum of Natural History.

Please join us.

“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“People do not find the courage to fight continually against as powerful an army as Israel’s without some reservoir, some deeply and already present fund of bravery and revolutionary self-sacrifice.” Edward Said

Stay Human

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