Monday, January 16, 2012

Palestine-Israel: 20 Basic Historical Facts

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

While I'm trying hard to make most my posts shorter, I want to leave this intact as is with references I haven't been able to find for awhile for the record. I heard Dr. Qumsiyeh speak in North Carolina a few years ago. He is one tireless, knowledgeable man. As a Christian, he's rare in that he has remained a resident among Palestinians in his homeland (to my knowledge) -- while most Christians continue to move permanently aboad -- leaving few to continue to speak for justice and peace among their sisters and brothers (of a variety of faith persuasions) in the homeland.


FROM: Mazin Qumsiyeh Human Rights Newsletter Saturday, January 14, 2012 3:12

20 Points that are made in Dr. Qumsiyeh’s speech (Palestine-Israel in brief)

1- Palestine is the Western part of the Fertile Crescent: an area that
includes Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. In this Fertile
Crescent the first human agriculture developed. Here the first
domestication of animals (e.g. goats, donkeys, camels) and plants (e.g.
wheat, barley, chickpeas, lentils, olives) happened.

2- This is also where civilization began including development of the first
alphabet (by Phoenician Canaanites) and the first laws. It was where we
first developed sciences like astronomy, engineering, and mathematics.

3- The original inhabitants of the Western part of the Fertile Crescent were
called Canaanites and the original language was called Aramaic which Jesus
spoke (he was born in the country called then Palestine and thus he was

4- The old Aramaic language gave rise to derived languages including Syriac,
Arabic, and Hebrew and this language group is called Semitic languages.

5- Arabic alphabet evolved in Southern Canaan (today’s Jordan and Palestine)
while the Latin alphabet evolved in Northern Canaan (Phoenicia, present day
Lebanon and Syria). The Alphabet used in Europe today came from our part of
the world.

6- The people of Southern Canaan including Palestine endured (so) many invasions
of armies ... nearly 15 times that local people were ruled by kings or
emperors (Persian, Roman, Umayyad, Abbasid, Israelite etc).

7- Local religious ideas evolved over the ages from Canaanitic Pagan ideas
to monotheistic ideas to Christianity (first century), Rabbinical Judaism
(3rd century), Islam (7th Century).,

8- Palestine was always (a) multi-cultural, multi-religious society despite
attempts to homogenize it in certain periods (e.g. the Crusaders killed and
exiled Jews, Muslims, and Christians of other sects).

9- Jews of today, like Christians and Muslims of today, come from various
ethnic and cultural backgrounds. They are thus genetically (biologically)

10- Before the wave of European Jewish immigration, Palestinians were of
various religions: about 85% Muslim, 10% Christian, 5% Jewish and others.
For hundreds of years Palestinians of various religions lived in relative

11- Zionism is a political idea that spread among a minority of European
Jews who adapted to the European notions of ethnocentric nationalism and
thus claim Jews of today should gather in Palestine and create a Jewish
state because of discrimination in Europe. Socialist Jews and other Jews
believed in fighting for equal rights. Zionists thought that anti-Jewish
feelings in Europe serve(d) their interests and thus even collaborated with
racists. There was a transfer agreement between the third Reich and the
Zionist movement. Zionists also lobbied Western governments not to take in
European Jewish refugees so that they all go to Palestine.

12- Zionism started in the mid 19th century with formation of the “Jewish
Colonization Association” and became an international movement in 1897 at
the first World Zionist Congress. To achieve its goals, its leaders
advocated transferring the native non-Jewish Palestinians.

13- The United States and other Western countries under influence of a
Zionist lobby pushed for the creation of a “Jewish state” of Israel in
Palestine despite the wishes of the native people.

14- Between 1947-1949, 530 Palestinian villages and towns were completely
destroyed and their people made refugees. This process of forcing
Palestinians out of their land continued in other forms since the founding
of Israel in May 1948. Today 70% of the 11 million Palestinians in the
world are refugees or displaced people.

15- Current day Israel has a set of discriminatory laws that fit the
descriptions given in the International Convention on the Suppression and
Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. Every month, the Israeli Knesset takes
on more such racist laws.

16- In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank (including the old city of
Jerusalem) and Gaza strip. Together these two areas are 22% of historic
Palestine. Israel began immediately to build Jewish colonial settlements in
these Palestinian lands. Contrary to International law, there are now over
200 settlements on our lands housing over half a million Jewish colonial

17- Israel has built walls around the remaining Palestinian enclaves
(ghettos, people warehouses, cantons, reservations) and isolated them from
each other and from the rest of Palestine. These walls separate
Palestinians from their lands, from other Palestinians, from schools, from
hospitals etc. As an example, the Bethlehem district houses 180,000
natives, some 50,000 of us living there are refugees from 1948 period. All
of us are restricted now to develop and live on only 13% of the original
Bethlehem district size. 87% of the district is now under control of
Israeli settlements, military bases, closed military zones etc. The
Bethlehem people are isolated behind a wall and even Jerusalem (6 km away)
is off-limits to us.

18- Colonialism involves violence. Over 80 massacres were committed against
native Palestinians. Over 60,000 Palestinian civilians were killed by
Israeli forces and settlers. This is ten times more than the number of
Israeli civilians (most colonial settlers) killed by Palestinians.
Palestinians resisted colonialism over the past 130 years mostly by using
non-violent popular resistance something not widely discussed in the Western
countries because of attempts to vilify the victims.

19- Palestinians and other Arab countries in conflict with Zionism have been
“unreasonably reasonable” as one diplomat described it. We accept all
elements of International law` and all UN (United Nations) resolutions on
the issue. Israel by contrast, violated over 60 UN Security Council
resolutions and over 200 UN General Assembly Resolutions. Without the USA
using its veto power to shield Israel from International law at the UN SC,
the number would have been doubled.

20- We Palestinians demand and are struggling for our right to return and to
self-determination. We call for a democratic pluralistic state for people
of all religions in our historic homeland of Palestine. We call for
equality and justice. People in Europe and around the world can support us
by using education, by coming to visit us, and by Boycotts, Divestments, and
Sanctions (BDS). This is a collective human struggle similar to what
happened in challenging apartheid in South Africa.

There are many books and references available to document each point
20 punti toccati dal Dr. Qumsiyeh nel suo discorso

Find the above list also here:

I, the blogger at nomorecrusades, am adding these other Sites/Publications without links so that they will be easier to cut/paste for some readers.

More startling facts and figures here as well:

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