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Monday, September 12

Could Hamas’s Haniyeh steer a course to Palestinian freedom?
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Palestinians have truth and justice on their side. Their story must be told with greater energy, amplification and persuasion.


By Stuart Littlewood


A leadership change in Hamas offers a glimmer of hope for Gazans, and possibly all Palestinians, stuck in that Holy Land hell.
At least, that how I view the news that Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh appears to have thrown his hat in the ring for chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, a position held by Khaled Meshaal since 1996. To that end Haniyeh is reported to have left the Gaza Strip for the Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and may remain abroad until the election. The position of Hamas chief requires residency outside the Palestinian territories to allow free movement and cut the risk of assassination by Israel.

Degrees galore

Many Hamas leaders have had a tough upbringing in refugee camps and done time in Israeli jails or exile. But they have overcome. Haniyeh is a product of the refugee camp and was a leading figure in the student movement before graduating from the Islamic University and entering politics. Arrested three times by the Israelis, they deported him to South Lebanon in 1992. He became director of the office of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, a co-founder and the spiritual leader of Hamas who was assassinated by the Israelis in 2004.
Looking through the list of Hamas ministers after their election victory in 2006, I noticed that many had professional qualifications and were better equipped for office than their Western counterparts. Writing about this in 2009 I remarked that Hamas’s foreign minister, hardliner Mahmoud al-Zahar, brought up in Egypt, was a surgeon and headed the nursing department at the Islamic University. He was deported along with Haniyeh to South Lebanon. Targeted for assassination, Al-Zahar’s home was bombed in 2003 by an Israeli F-16, murdering his eldest son and seriously injuring his wife. In 2008 an Israeli air raid killed a second son.
Dr Basem Naim, the health minister, had a degree in medicine from Germany and a PhD in surgery. The minister of national economy had a degree in civil engineering. The deputy prime minister and education minister was Dean of Islamic Studies and Law at Al-Najah University and had a PhD in Middle East Studies from Manchester University. The finance minister had a PhD from Iowa University.
There was even a minister for women’s affairs, a mother of seven with a PhD in Islamic Law. The minister of public works had a degree in civil engineering from Alabama University. The minister of culture graduated from teacher training college in Ramallah and held a master’s in Islamic Law. The minister of planning held a PhD in urban planning from the University of Pennsylvania and was a visiting professor at several US universities. The minister of agriculture had a PhD in Environment and Water from Manchester University and was a fellow of the American Society for Science Advancement.
So, Hamas clearly has a pool of talent that might have governed wisely and peacefully had they been given the chance after winning free and fair election in 2006. But the pro-Israel alliance went flat out to thwart this fledgling Arab democracy and crush it.

Rewriting the charter would be smart

Hamas’s popularity stems largely from its social, educational and healthcare programmes. Armed resistance to Israel’s illegal occupation is of course its right. Meaningful negotiations, it says, will come only after Israel withdraws behind its internationally-recognised 1967 borders, as required by international law and United Nations resolutions. The land of Palestine is regarded as an Islamic waqf (trust) consecrated for future Muslim generations. It cannot be negotiated away by political leaders. Hamas therefore rejects peace moves that involve more territorial concessions.
In his 20 years as Hamas’s political chief, and 40 years in exile, it is hard to see what Meshaal has actually achieved for the Palestinian people. He seems to speak only to other Arabs and not Western politicians and activists, although in 2008 he met with US President Jimmy Carter and reached agreement that Hamas would accept the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip subject to it being ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum. But even Carter couldn’t bring that one off.
Meshaal should long ago have rewritten the Hamas charter, especially where it says: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Admittedly, it doesn’t state that a Hamas government is sworn to destroy Israel, but it includes a hadith (reported saying of the Prophet Muhammad) about killing Jews hiding behind rocks. Such reports handed down from the 8th or 9th century cannot be taken seriously today. And yes, the charter was written well before Hamas had pretensions to government. Nevertheless, inflammatory language has no place in any mission statement of a modern ruling administration hoping to succeed in diplomacy. Hamas’s continued failure to remove it does it no credit and makes it easy for Israel and its allies to dismiss an otherwise legitimate resistance movement as terrorists.
Having said that, the charter is no worse than the outrageous mission statements of Israel’s political parties and racist laws. But why descend to their level? And while the regime in Tel Aviv continues, with impunity, to obliterate Palestine to clear the way for a Greater Israel, Western leaders require Hamas to disarm, renounce violence and accept Israel’s right to exist.
Palestinians of course elected Hamas to uphold their own rights to freedom and self-defence.
And as Omar Abdul Razek, Hamas’s finance minister, said when interviewed by Aljazeera in May 2006:
Which Israel would you want me to recognize? Is it Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates? Israel with the occupied Golan Heights? Israel with East Jerusalem? Israel with the settlements? I challenge you to tell me where Israel’s borders lie.
[Interviewer] …the 1967 borders.
[Razek] Does Israel recognize the 1967 borders? Can you tell me of one Israeli government that ever voiced willingness to withdraw to the 1967 borders?
So, is it reasonable to expect Hamas to renounce violence against a foreign power that violently occupies the Palestinians’ homeland, bulldozes their houses at gun-point, uproots their beautiful olive groves at gun-point, sets up hundreds of armed checkpoints to disrupt normal life, batters down villagers’ front doors in the dead of night at gun-point, builds an illegal “separation” wall to annex their lands, steals their water and isolate their communities, and blockades exports and imports to cause economic ruin?

Topping the terrorist league

The Palestinians had no history of violence until their country was partitioned by the UN and overrun by a brutal intruder whose greed is never satisfied. Demands for Palestinians to cease their terror campaign cannot be taken seriously unless linked to demands for Israel to do the same.
Israel’s demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes for so-called administrative and planning reasons, the wholesale destruction of businesses and infrastructure, the excessive violence against non-combatants, the abductions, imprisonments and assassinations, and especially the programme of blitzkriegs on Gaza slaughtering thousands, including many hundreds of children, wounding or maiming tens of thousands and reducing the whole place to rubble – none of these crimes can be justified on grounds of defence or security. They are so disproportionate as to constitute grave violations of human rights and possibly war crimes; and they add up to terrorism even in Netanyahu’s language. His book, Terrorism: How the West Can Win, defines terror as the “deliberate and systematic murder, maiming and menacing of the innocent to inspire fear for political ends”.
In an interview with Jennifer Byrne in February 2002, Netanyahu spectacularly shot himself in the foot again: “Terrorism is defined by one thing and one thing alone: the nature of the act. It is the deliberate, systematic assault on civilians that defines terrorism.”

Hamas must do better

The burden of leadership in Gaza has fallen not on Meshaal but Haniyeh who has operated under the constant bombardment and other horrors inflicted by Israel on that overcrowded strip of land. In 2006, within days of being elected, he offered long-term peace if Israel recognised Palestine as an independent state on 1967 borders. Previously, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which officially represents all Palestinians, had “recognised” Israel without requiring any reciprocity by Israel. The Oslo accords were supposed to end the occupation and give Palestinians independence, but all they got was “more settlements, more occupation, more roadblocks, more poverty and more repression”.
Hamas’s win at the polls was not only unexpected, it was highly inconvenient to Israel’s plans and the West’s designs on the Middle East. Obstruction was their immediate response. And when Hamas finally ejected bad losers Fatah from Gaza to secure their right to rule at least that tiny coastal enclave, the blockade was cruelly tightened.
In late 2007 I was lucky enough to be with a small group that met Ismail Haniyeh and some of his senior colleagues in Gaza City. It was useful to have such a close-up view of the man in those early days of Gaza’s siege, which has now lasted 10 years (and still counting) while the international community stands idly by. Ordinary men would have crumbled. But not these Palestinians. They are forged in the white heat of resolute resistance.
At the other end of Palestine’s political spectrum, in the West Bank, sits wobbly Mahmoud Abbas, boss of Fatah, whose term as president of the Palestinian National Authority (and now the nebulous state of Palestine) officially ended in 2009. His election in the first place was farcical and probably illegal, and he has overstayed his welcome by seven years, his backside super-glued to the presidential throne. Elections have just been postponed, thanks most probably to backroom deals preventing Abbas losing his grip and thus his position as the West’s useful idiot. Let us not forget that the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory (the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the Old City) is also under permanent blockade: nothing and no-one can come or go unless Israel says so, and the people are caged within Israel’s evil Matrix of Control and subject to arrest and imprisonment without trial. Abbas’s people do much of Israel’s dirty work.
Meshaal’s successor needs to do a much, much better job. Why do I feel optimistic at the prospect of Haniyeh taking charge and roaming free? He struck me as an approachable man and not without charm, yet a hard-boiled patriot; also a moderate in Islamic terms and respectful of the Christian community in Hamas’s midst. After our meeting he told the cameras: “We are Palestinians first, and Christians and Muslims second. We face a common enemy together.”
He has a reputation for being pragmatic. If that’s the case, he will waste no time in turning Hamas’s charter into a document fit for purpose in the 21st century. He might go further with reform and open proper communication channels to the West. Palestinians have truth and justice on their side. Their story must be told with greater energy, amplification and persuasion. Rivals Fatah, who control the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, fail miserably in this duty as in so many others.
How will the West receive Haniyeh if he takes the job? In a saner world he’d most probably be welcomed as a hero into the diplomatic drawing rooms of London, Washington, Paris and Berlin.

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Israeli Black Operations in the USA – Operation Honeypot
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They usually target anyone who they deem to be antithetical or non-supportive of Israeli domestic and foreign policy.

It is well known that the Israeli Mossad using their Sayanim network in the United States routinely engage in Black Operations (“Black Ops”) against US Citizens here in the United States.
They usually target anyone who they deem to be antithetical or non-supportive of Israeli domestic and foreign policy.
They routinely target senators, congressmen, politicians, celebrities, CEOs, academics, intellectuals, journalists, diplomats, or anyone of relative importance in American society.
Their favorite mode of operation against male targets is to hire prostitutes to engage in “honey-pot” operations wherein that hooker links up with the target romantically/ sexually, and then uses the VAWA Laws enacted by Joe Biden and Bill Clinton to ensnare that target in a false domestic violence case, sexual assault case, extortion or blackmail case, or even worse, a false rape allegation or even murder.
Once the male has been ensnared and entrapped, the Israeli/Zionist-controlled media begins to blast, 24/7, 365 days a year, the defamatory, slanderous, and libelous allegations against their target, effectively convicting and destroying their target in the online and written press.
These women, considered protected and supported by society at large, are then encouraged to destroy the target by various Feminist groups, also on the payroll and integrally intertwined with Israeli Intelligence, and together they prosecute and torture that target using Sayanim-friendly detectives, judges, child protective workers, and prosecutors.
“Are you sure the Mossad didn’t contact you, Madame Lewenski?”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) rarely if ever gets involved because they are thoroughly infiltrated by Israeli Intelligence from the top on down, and 99% of the time, they actively support these clandestine Israeli operations on US Soil because of the tight grip Israeli lobbying has on the jugular of the American Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches of the US Government, as well as both organizations were created and funded by the Freemasons.
There is virtually no escape from this type of black op once a target has been selected.


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Netanyahu’s Land-Grab Strategy
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Behind the smokescreen of the broader Mideast chaos, Israel pursues a strategy of gobbling up Palestinian lands to establish de facto control of the West Bank while confining indigenous Arabs to isolated cantons, explains Alon Ben-Meir.

By Alon Ben-Meir


Israel’s continued settlement activity — whether retroactively approving “unauthorized” outposts or advancing plans for new units as was recently announced — represents yet another nail in the coffin of the peace process. The settlements have become nothing but Israel’s self-entrapment, threatening its very existence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners, however, are not concerned about the prospective dire repercussions of settlement activity. They put the sanctity of the land above any other consideration, and view the settlement enterprise as the prerequisite to repossessing the entire historic “land of Israel.”

Netanyahu is not deterred by the criticism and condemnation from the international community. He takes the position that building new housing units is largely in settlements that will eventually be part of a final status deal in exchange for land swaps, as if he has the right to unilaterally decide which settlements will be incorporated to Israel proper without an agreement with the Palestinians.

As he sees it, Israel has been building settlements for nearly five decades, and in spite of that it has not suffered any adverse consequences for its defiance of the international consensus against the settlements. Why should he worry about it now, when the international community is preoccupied with so many other conflicts in the Middle East and is unlikely to take any punitive measure against Israel other than expressing the usual indignation?
Netanyahu is even less concerned about the Palestinians’ claim that Israel’s creeping annexation of their territory creates irreversible facts on the ground that would deny them a state of their own under a two-state solution.

Netanyahu counters this argument by repeating his slogan that Israel is prepared to enter negotiations unconditionally, and that the settlements do not represent any obstacle to peace. In the same breath, however, he publicly and repeatedly states that the Jews have an inalienable historic right to the entire “land of Israel,” especially the West Bank. As such, he asserts, Israel is not an occupying power and has the inherent right to establish settlements on any part of its historic land.

Divided Arabs


Netanyahu is also not bothered by the reaction of the Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, as on the surface settlement activity puts them on the defensive precisely when they are reaching out to Israel.
This is not the case, Netanyahu insists. The Arab states are more concerned about Islamic radicalization and in particular the prospective Iranian nuclear threat. In fact, he claims the Arab states are seeking cooperation with Israel in spite of ongoing settlement expansion. They share a common cause with Israel and are focused on their own problems, viewing the Palestinians as nothing but an added burden.

Netanyahu’s message to the Israelis, especially the settlers, is that the construction of illegal outposts will retroactively be legalized, thereby signaling that they can continue this practice with impunity.
It takes Netanyahu’s typical chutzpah to call for demolishing Palestinian villages like Susiya and other housing units built on their own land while retroactively legalizingillegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land that were expropriated by Israel, which is nothing less than a travesty.

What message does that send to the international community, and how does that square with Israel’s presumed moral standing among the community of nations? This does not seem to bother him in the least.

Netanyahu dismisses the prospect that his policy would inadvertently lead to one state, as Israel will then face two choices: one, maintain its democratic form of government by granting the Palestinians full citizenship, but in the process lose its Jewish majority and its national identity as a Jewish state; or two, deny the Palestinians citizenship, whereby Israel becomes a de-facto apartheid state, reviled and potentially sanctioned by the international community.

This, however, is not how Netanyahu and company see it. From their perspective, settling a million Jews in Israel will indeed create irreversible facts on the ground, but this is precisely what they want to realize as that would not translate to giving Palestinians Israeli citizenship and equal political rights.

Confining the Palestinians



What Netanyahu has in mind is for the Palestinians to establish their own cantons in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, Jericho, and other cities, governing themselves as they see fit as long as they accept their lot quietly while Israel maintains overall security throughout the West Bank.

In so doing, Israel will indefinitely remain in control of the West Bank, managing the conflict on a day-to-day basis and dealing with Palestinian violence as it occurs. For him, a state of constant tension is preferred over relinquishing the land.

Netanyahu, however, is totally blinded by his messianic mission, ruling out the possibility that the Palestinians will sooner than later rise, as they are willing to die because they have little left to lose.
In the illuminating new book The Suicide of the Jews (a must read), the futurist Tsvi Bisk describes how the various Zionist branches rationalized the occupation and eventual annexation of all Palestinian land because they truly believe “that compromise on the land issue would not only endanger Jewish redemption but the redemption of all humanity. … For religious Zionists, fidelity to the land was a divine directive and even talk about dividing the land with another people was sacrilegious.”

Netanyahu is a willing hostage to coalition partners he assembled that include staunch proponents of the settlements, such as Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Leave it to him to use his coalition government to provide him with the perfect excuse to continue with his policy; tragically, he is inviting disaster by putting the land above Israel’s national security, if not its very existence.

Repeated polls strongly suggest that a vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians want to end their conflict based on a two-state solution. Yet, as long as the opposition political parties cannot unite with a specific and coherent political framework based on the Arab Peace Initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Likud may well form the next government in 2019.

Likewise, as long as the Palestinians remain divided, with many of their leaders steeped in corruption, they play directly into Netanyahu’s hand. They, more than anyone else, will destroy their own prospect of realizing a statehood.

To be sure, unless Israel’s opposition parties coalesce and create a popular movement for peace, and the Palestinians organize their political affairs and negotiate with Israel in unison, it may well be too late to save them both from their own self-inflicted deadly wounds.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. alon@alonben-meir.com           Web: www.alonben-meir.com


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Sunday, December 20

Spanish University Boycotts Israel
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The deanship at the Central University of Barcelona (UAB) announced the official boycott of Israel, with the cut of all kinds of communication and relations with the Israeli universities and institutions which are related directly or indirectly to the occupation.

Please support our 2016 appeal for funds and help us grow, any contribution big or small goes along way and is greatly appreciated! 
 

The university agreed to be a part of the global initiative "places without racism", which included hundreds of municipalities, institutions, universities and organizations in the world.

This achievement, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, comes in the context of the achievements derived by the Boycott movement network (BDS), operating in dozens of European countries and the Americas, Africa and Australia, which has become a real worry for Israel.

In Spain, the BDS movement was formed in 2007, and promotes many activities with regard to the faciliataion of solidarity and awareness. The movement acts effectively against Israeli lobbying through business, cultural and academic sanctions, and has harvested many achievements in these areas.

The Canary Islands adopted the boycott of Israel two weeks ago, during a visit by Ambassador of the State of Palestine in Spain, Kefah Odeh, in celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Seville and dozens of other Spanish cities have adopted the boycott movement in support of the Palestinian cause, and the BDS activities.
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Israeli forces shoot 9 university students on Tulkarem campus
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TULKAREM (Ma’an) -- At least 9 Palestinian students were shot and injured on Sunday when clashes broke out with Israeli forces outside a university in the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem.
Clashes erupted after a group of Israeli soldiers deployed at an Israeli military base illegally set up on the campus of Palestine Technical University- Kadoorie, locals told Ma’an.

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Soldiers reportedly advanced towards university buildings where they were confronted by students throwing stones.
Palestinian medical sources at Tulkarem’s public hospital told Ma’an that several students were evacuated in Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances following the clashes.
Four of the victims were hit with live ammunition in their lower extremities and five others were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets, medics said, adding that a paramedic was injured by a rubber-coated steel bullet while evacuating students.
Dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, medics added.
An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on the incident.
Violence on the campus of Palestine Technical University has been near-daily in recent weeks.
Following student-organized marches that started in October to protest Israeli violations and raids onto the university campus, administrators reported that Israeli forces had positioned themselves at a temporary base on university property.
A head administrator of the university, Dirar Elayyan, told Ma’an earlier this month that non-students then began to enter the campus and throw stones at the Israeli base, prompting violent clashes that have severely interrupted normal campus life and left several students seriously injured.
The university reportedly began preparations to build a wall to prevent the entrance of outsiders last month, however Israeli forces stopped the construction and confiscated a bulldozer, assaulting workers, Elayyan said.
Palestinian leadership has recently requested international protection for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory amid a recent increase in violence, but concrete moves have yet to be made to address the request.
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ISIS- Israeli Secret Intelligence Service?
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2016 special appeal for funds - Please help us grow, any contribution big or small goes along way and is greatly appreciated!

By Ludwig Watzal

It's all over town: The British and American intelligence, as 
well as the Mossad, worked together to create ISIS. As a 
rumor goes, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a Jewish 
Mossad agent-actor by the name of  Simon Elliot/Elliot 
Shimon. That would mean that the Western powers are 
fighting against themselves and continue their genocidal war.
Yossi Melman/Dan Raviv referred in their book "Every Spy a 
Prince" (1990) about the Israeli Intelligence Community that 
the Prime Minister's office referred to its subordinate 
organization the Mossad as "Israeli Secret Intelligence 
Service" (ISIS) [1].
How come that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said in a 
speech at Tel Aviv University that "ISIS is good for Israel". 
During a visit to the occupied Golan Heights defense minister
 Moshe Ya'alon said that neither ISIS nor al-Nusra front 
poses a threat to the security of Israel. The real aim of ISIS is
 Mecca and Medina. 
According to a secret "Memorandum of Understanding", that 
was published by WikiLeaks there exists a massive 
exchange of intelligence information between the NSA and 
the "Israeli SIGINT National Unit". (SIGNIT= intelligence-
gathering by interception of signals).
The NSA shares sensitive information with Israel on a regular
 basis, including information relating exclusively to American 
citizens. The Israelis can do with this information, what they 
want, as long as they do not violate US law.
"This agreement is not intended to create any legally 
enforceable rights and shall not be construed to be either an
 international agreement or a legally binding instrument 
according to international law." The Israeli side is obliged to 
"destroy upon recognition any communication contained in 
row SIGNIT provided by NSA that is either to or from an 
official of the US government." The NSA did not comment on
 specifics of these regulations.
Again, these documents are an embarrassment to the NSA 
and the American Government. The NSA scandal continues 
unabated and nobody seems to care.

- See more at: http://mwcnews.net

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On Banksy’s Christmas Card Joseph And Mary Can’t Make It To Bethlehem Because of Police State
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2016 Appeal -Please help us grow, any contribution big or small goes along way and is greatly appreciated!

Banksy’s classic Christmas card shows a picture of Joseph and Mary crossing the desert on their way to Bethlehem and are blocked by the infamous apartheid wall that separates Israel from Palestine and the West Bank. The card has recently gone viral again because of theholidays, but it is actually a few years old and seems to circulate around this time every year.
The piece first appeared at Santa’s Ghetto exhibit in London in 2005, which followed Banksy’s trip to the middle east.
Regardless of when the image was created, it sends a powerful message about how divided the middle east is on racial and ethnic lines, creating a massive refugee crisis, and widespread ghettos in many parts of the region. This current reality is obviously highlighted by the biblical story of Joseph and Mary, two refugees themselves who were said to travel across those lands thousands of years ago.
When the state of Israel was created instead of integrating the Arab and Jewish cultures together, the ruling class put policies in place that would force the Palestinian people onto unfertile ghettos, separated from water sources and food growing lands by giant walls. The Palestinians were also not given the right to organize, own property, or work, and without these basic freedoms, they remain refugees. Thesepolicies would result in a growing hostility between the two groups which eventually flared up in physical violence. This violence has spreadall throughout the oil-rich Middle East and has allowed the western establishment to have a permanent involvement in the region’s affairs, just as they planned.
The Palestinians have been tossed out into the wilderness, displaced from their homes and most of them are only asking for the ability towork, trade and own property. To be given this freedom would prevent them from being displaced again and would establish a proper economy so the Palestinian people can have a fighting chance to become a thriving society. The American government, which is also a banker backed colony, used these same policies to wipe out the native people that inhabited North America. The Native Americans were also treated as exiles on their own land and were pushed further and further away from their homes until the only places left for them were small reservations that were mostly in the desert.

This article (On Banksy’s Christmas Card Joseph And Mary Can’t Make It To Bethlehem) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.
John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his websitewww.JohnVibes.com
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2015-->2016 Palestine
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Throughout 2015 we shared with you general news and action items weekly. As 2015 comes to a close, we wanted to share with you our successes in 2015 and our new year resolutions for 2016 as well as our wishes for you.

Please help us grow with our 2016 appeal for funds, any contribution big or small goes along way and is greatly appreciated!
 
As you know the biggest project for us in 2015 was the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University. This was the first full year of actual operation and we published many research papers and two chapters in books (and one of my books came out in German), we held a science festival, we had over 3000 visitors, gave talks in Palestine and in five other countries that reached thousands more (our email list is now tens of thousands), built our infrastructure (aviary, a greenhouse, an animal room, new asphalt pavement for driveway and parking, beginnings of a botanical garden, bee keeping, animal room etc.), we hired two team members (one for outside and one for inside), we contracted a management consultant, we applied for funding (to supplement the start up funds we contributed) and received significant donations in money and in-kind, and we added over 2000 specimens and objects to our collection (for research and exhibit) through field work and through networking (see also http://www.palestinenature.org/achievements-first-year/). Of course we continue to suffer locally and watch suffering globally and we even lost friends and colleagues. But the best preventive cure for despair is action and we continue to act.

Our plans for 2016 are even more ambitious and we intend to redouble our efforts and expand (with volunteer and student help). I, with help of my graduate students and guest lecturers will be teaching five courses this spring: in biodiversity (at Birzeit University), in eco-tourism and molecular biology (at Bethlehem University), and in research methodology and in conflict resolutions and peacemaking (at Bethlehem Bible College).  My own plans are also to get the two books I have been holding backs finally edited and submitted for publications.Our plans are to have an actual opening of the museum with exhibit rooms and the botanical garden. Our plans also include doing and publishing new research (on clinical areas like cancer and spontaneous abortion, on genotoxicity of Israeli weapons, on decline of biodiversity, on reptilian biodiversity, on birds, on snails, and much more). Our plans are to do further research and development on permaculture and aquaculture and transfer this knowledge to farmers and potential farmers (even those with only a balcony can do something). We have many volunteers without whom this would not be possible. But we need many more supporters (time, resources, donations etc.) to get to our goals faster and with less pain. So please visit these links to see where you fit
Donations: http://www.palestinenature.org/support-us/
Many other ways o volunteer and help: http://www.palestinenature.org/support-us/volunteer/
and we went ahead and put our video encouraging volunteering on the first or homepage of http://palestinenature.org

Our 2016 New Year resolutions:
We will strive to respect ourselves more, respect others more, respect nature more
We will strive to especially respect women, children, elderly people and handicapped
We will strive to minimize own environmental foot print (reduce, recycle, repair)
We will strive to “think globally and act locally”
We will strive to reaffirm the humanity of all people regardless of their religion or ideology
We will not hate or denigrate anyone but merely challenge oppression
We will refuse to let those who occupy us physically occupy our mind
We will refuse to give satisfaction to those who oppress us by having our obedience
We will strive to love all humans even we do not love or obey their violent actions
We will strive to respect all humans even as we resist the actions of greedy minority
We will strive to honor all lives lost and not just those of the privileged few
We will thus strive to pay more attention to the thousands suffering and dying globally
We will strive to give of ourselves more to help those in need
We will grow more of our own foods
We will work harder for BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) 
We will work harder for ODS (one democratic state)
We will redouble our efforts not only to challenge injustice & war but for justice & peace
We will “comfort the afflicted” and make the privileged greedy a little less comfortable 
We will thus redouble our efforts to build even in the middle of horrors *
We will strive to improve ourselves to achieve at least 20% more this year than last
We will use words like “I love you” and “I appreciate you” and “I thank you” more
We will think more positive thoughts and translate them to positive words and positive actions
We will strive to have more “joyful participation in the sorrows of this world”

* our own little projects of a museum of natural history and an institute of biodiversity and sustainability in Palestine is one such example; there are hundreds more

With utmost love and respect and thanks to all colleagues, friends, and supporters of peace with justice. Have a Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all who celebrate this or other holidays this season. May 2016 be better for all of us especially those most in need or suffering around the world.

Stay human and come visit us in occupied Palestine.

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University (also Birzeit and BBC)
Occupied Palestine
http://qumsiyeh.org
http://palestinenature.org
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