July 10, 2014, from Mazin Qumsiyeh in Palestine to Captain Rodney Stich:

Good and bad news: A Luta Continua (The struggle continues)
Notes from occupied Bethlehem by Mazin Qumsiyeh

Thousands of candles are being lit to challenge the darkness every day.
Examples are many. Over 90,000 Palestinians took the standardized high
school test in the Occupied State of Palestine and results are due next
week. We had a first meeting of volunteers on site at the Palestine
Institute of Biodiversity Research and Museum of Natural History (housed at
Bethlehem University). Despite the horrors of the current Israeli assault
on Palestinian civilians both in the WB and Gaza (see below), fasting in
Ramadan (Ramadan Kareem to all), and short notice, 25 volunteers attended
and many others said they will help. Progress is rapid on the ground but
this is a massive project and we could use all the help we can get. The
mission agreed to in the meeting is to research, educate about, and
conserve our natural world, culture and heritage and use knowledge to
promote responsible human interactions with our environment. Let us know if
you are not getting the museum newsletter via googlegroups and we can add
you to the list of volunteers and those interested to help.

Life does go on even under occupation: we celebrate weddings, births, mourn
the dead, treat the injured, build new facilities, deal with corrupt
politicians, hold vigils for the martyrs, demonstrate regularly, and much
more.  Gaza people humble us by their persistence, resilience, and
resistance. The video of a mother saying goodbye to her dead son and just
speaking to him in dignity and compassion gives us pause to reflect on
apathy and collusion by many of the supposed "leaders" (including
unfortunately some Palestinians). The meaning of dignity escapes us when we
see children burned alive both in Jerusalem and Gaza while some talking
heads (unfortunately even some Arab "journalists" and politicians) try to
make excuses. Others like Haneen Zoabi stand for truth and justice (see
below). Demonstrations were held around the world to demand Israel stop its
insane assault on civilians especially in this special month of Ramadan.
While many Western media outlets (influenced by the Zionist lobby) are
trying desperately to parrot Israeli propaganda and hide reality, the
situation on the ground and Israel's criminality are being exposed (thanks
to personal communications between hundreds of millions of people aided by
alternative media including social media).

The BDS movement is growing and is making a difference (notice for example
the rapid decline in Soda Stream stock price) and the Zionist fizzle after
the threats to the Presbyterian church. More people are taking actions -
lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness. See also the good
statement below from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in
Palestine on the situation. It gives us hope in humanity.
 Israel's Criminal Assault on the occupied State of Palestine: Gaza Under

During the latest Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, Israel has
killed 86 Palestinians and injured more than 550. Just as during the
Israeli bombardments of Gaza in 2006, 2008/9 and 2012, the vast majority of
the victims are civilians, including children, elderly and women. This list
includes the killing of several Palestinian families (Haj, Halaby and
Kaware in Khan Younis, Hamad in Beit Hanoun). This Israeli criminal assault
aims at targeting Palestinian national unity, weakening Palestinian
institutions and enforce disconnection between the Gaza
Read the full report at

[[I actually think the main reasons for attacking Gaza every 2-3 years is
because Israeli firms wants to sell more weapons and Gaza provides the
laboratory to test and demonstrate new weapons for potential buyers.  There
is plenty of evidence for that and also for the psychological need to "show
who is boss" and keep Israelis afraid so that they let the elites continue
to profit from wars. ]]

The amazing Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian representative in the Israeli
Knesset being "grilled" by racist and crude reporter on Israeli TV. This is
an example for dignity and standing for principles. I wish Mahmoud Abbas
would learn something from this courageous and decent lady
Thanks to Assaf Oron, Ronnie Barkan & Ofer Neiman for translation & other
technical assistance (via Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam)



Statement from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in
Palestine on the situation: Support Gaza’s Right to Life

“Justice and security are two sides of the same coin. Israel’s security can
never be an excuse for denying justice to the Palestinian people.”

In the spirit of the living God who sanctifies all life and in keeping with
our faith and its teachings we appeal to all people across the world to
work with their fellow citizens and governments to end Israel’s Operation
Protective Edge and the brutal military siege that has been going on for
the past seven years which includes a naval and economic blockade. Gaza has
no port or airport thus no way to import or export its products.

This not a war. This is only vengeance and collective punishment. A
responsible authority works to stop useless vengeance and violence.
Instead, it fosters general atmosphere of incitement, in order to please a
Palestinian hating population, and not knowing what to do, the
irresponsible Israeli Authority, just kills Palestinians and demolishes
their houses, in order to please their people. We acknowledge the voice and
action of the few Israelis who expressed themselves against this policy of
their government.

This is not an escalation or a war. Gaza has no military or ability to
protect itself other than to fire some homemade rockets. The 1.7 million
people, mostly children (2/3 of the population) are also mostly refugees
(1.1 million) from areas of 1948 and 1967.  Furthermore under the 4th
Geneva Convention Palestinians, as a militarily occupied people, have the
right to defend themselves.

Our justice loving God demands us to speak out on behalf of the security
for all people. In the name of the Advocate Spirit, we ask you to speak out
now to call a halt to this long term offensive operation which aims to wipe
out a lonely, besieged and unarmed people. Whether you think the new unity
government is viable or not, or if  Hamas is a terrorist organization or
not, or whether you think they might have been behind the death of the
three Israeli teens murdered near Hebron, (which is not proven so far)  it
is against international law to collectively punish or target an already
besieged 1.7 millon population. It is inhumane. It is a war crime.

As of July 10th, the date of this Appeal Israeli military struck 430
targets across the Gaza Strip. 77 people have been reported dead and more
than 500 wounded.. The majority of the dead are civilians. 18 are children
including a baby one month old.

We pray for the memory of those killed. Each of them has a name and a
family who is suffering great loss. We also pray for all those wounded or
injured in body, mind, or spirit. We pray for solace and comfort also for
the families whose homes, businesses, agricultural fields, or fishing boats
that have also been destroyed. We pray for the people of Gaza and ask that
God be with them.

Support Palestinian’s right to life by joining with Christians throughout
the world in their call for a just peace in this land that all call holy.
We have been down this road one too many times and know what will happen if
we fail to act. Please join us through letters and petitions to your
government officials to raise awareness about this offensive military
operation and Gaza’s ongoing siege. Ask them to pressure Israel to stop its
brutal assault or face sanctions from the international community.

Support Palestinian’s right to life, say with a loud voice: stop killing
and demolishing houses.  Join with Christians throughout the world in their
call for a just peace in this land that all call holy.

Quote from article by Jeremy Corbynn,, “Who Mourns for Palestine"


· Arab Catholic Scouts Group
· Arab Orthodox Society – Jerusalem
· Caritas- Jerusalem
· Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees- Middle East Council of
· Greek Catholic Sayedat AlBishara Association
· International Christian Committee
· Laity Committee in the Holy Land
· National Christian Association
· Pontifical Mission Palestine
· SABEEL – Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
· Seeds of Better life
· Union of Arab Orthodox Club - Jerusalem
· Young Men’s Christian Association –YMCA
· Young Women’s Christian Association –YWCA

NECC office

Bethlehem (NCOB)
Network of Christian Organizations in Bethlehem
· The East Jerusalem YMCA /Beit Sahour Branch
· The Arab Educational Institute,
· Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem
· Wi’am Center, Bethlehem
· Saint Afram Assyrian Society,
· Holy Land Christians Ecumenical Foundation, Bethlehem
· Al-Ihsan Arab Orthodox Society, Beit Jala
· Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Sahour
· Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Jala
· Arab Orthodox Club, Bethlehem
· The Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Beit Sahour
· Bethlehem Bible College
· Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies
· Alternative Tourism Group, ATG, Beit Sahour
· Senior Citizen Charitable Society
· Environmental educational Center, Beit Jala
· Saint Vincent Charitable Society, Beit Jala
· Shepherds' Children Society, Beit Sahour
Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director of the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity Research
and Museum of Natural History
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