Palestinian Christians: Volunteers empower work on the ground

Posted on Sep 17, 2018

Professor Mazin Qumisiyeh writes in the Palestinian Christians newsletter.

The relentless attack on lives and livelihoods of the native Palestinians goes on. I am so glad that some of us try to counter all the negativity with some solid positive and empowering work on the ground. I am so proud of the team and volunteers at our Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability for their hard work and dedication.

This is a team that has grown significantly in the past few weeks. Partly this is due to donations from many individuals and also to our success in getting grant support (from National Geographic, Darwin Initiative, Rotary, British Council, City of Geneva, and many more). I continue to be mostly a volunteer (getting a small amount from part-time teaching and consulting).

We are stretched since the amount of work before us is so high. For example we will be collecting data on tangible and intangible cultural heritage related to nature and the environment. We will also be working on Al-Makhrour valley (part of Battir area world heritage site). We are doing school awareness campaigns on climate change and how we all need to act. Workers are now preparing the infrastructure for a community garden and a playground. We all stay very, very busy: Research, education, conservation, administration of the museum, garden work etc.

“Israel” denied entry in the last year to five volunteers from abroad. Thus, we could use more volunteers (please come as a tourist if from abroad, no problems if local). You can see information on volunteering at https://www.palestinenature.org/volunteer/

Here is an example of our earlier research: a series of articles on Wadi Quff area http://www.rscn.org.jo/latest-issue-vol3-2016
and more research papers can be found here: https://www.palestinenature.org/research/

Our work on conservation can be accessed here: https://www.palestinenature.org/conservation/

This week, we commemorate the sad 37th anniversary of the massacre of Sabra and Shatila. I published a review of perhaps the best documented book about this massacre: http://qumsiyeh.org/sabraandshatila/

And the 25th anniversary of the second Nakba: Edward Said wrote a remarkably accurate portrayal of the level of capitulation that was done via the so-called Oslo accords. His article, “The Morning After” published 21 October 1993, is remarkable and still worth reading.  Oslo II of 1994 was even worse and we have seen the ramification of all of this in the past 25 years [no wonder the Trump administration cut all aid to Palestinians except the money for the “Vichy style” PA security services (Dayton forces)].

Stay Human

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Founder, and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University