Shrinking Map of Palestine, Aging Politicians, and More


Mazin Qumsiyeh – TRANSCEND Media Service

4 Sep 2020 – Yesterday the Palestinian factions (all of them) held a meeting to try to get their act together in light of the main challenges facing the Palestinian struggle. The meeting was moderated/led by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) who gave a speech that true to form was interjected every other sentence by his own commentary on his speech (unscripted notes) so went far longer than necessary. He also showed the same shrinking map of Palestine he showed at the UN and other venues.

He did not know and maybe few in his audience know that the map was first drawn by my son Dany when we saw the shrinking map of the US as Europeans colonized it in stages and remaining natives ended up in reservations.  On positive aspects everyone agreed we face an existential struggle and that the US/Israeli Imperialism/Zionism threatens to liquidate the case of Palestine and to dominate the Middle East (Western Asia) and far beyond. They all agreed you need a representative PLO to include all nationalist and Islamic factions, independents, and voices of the new generation. They all agree that we have points of strength and resistance is important (though some think popular resistance plus armed resistance while some think only popular resistance).

But true to form, they still formed committees and took no positions that surprised anyone (me, native Palestinians, Zionists or the world at large). They did set a time limit of five weeks for the committee on reform/restructuring the PLO. So we keep hope alive but we do need revolutionary change. My suggestion is that the Palestinian people say to these elderly leaders that unless you do this PLO restructuring by a certain date that we will create a new representative PLO ourselves. Young professionals and independents must be represented.. If a cause is not advancing, it is time not to abandon the cause but change the leadership.

Our ship has been drifting for three decades and if the leadership can’t get its act together, we should not abandon ship, we should change captains. Enough is enough.

Life continues to be busy here at the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability, Bethlehem University ( with projects and research, education, conservation and other  actions leading to sustainability of our species and our planet.  Individually and
collectively also we continue to have meetings (online) to advance causes of justice and peace against all odds.


Mazin Qumsiyeh, associate professor of genetics and director of cytogenetic services at Yale University School of Medicine, is founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation and ex-president of the Middle East Genetics Association. He won the Raymond Jallow Activism Award from the national Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1998. He is co-founder and national treasurer of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and has written extensively about the Middle East. Qumsiyeh is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, author of Sharing the Land of Canaan and Popular Resistance in Palestine, a professor at Bethlehem University and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History in Bethlehem.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 7 Sep 2020.

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