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A Palestinian American in Bethlehem Comments on Obama's Visit to and Glorification of  Israel

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, March 23, 2013

I am a Palestinian from the Bethlehem area but who also happens to hold a US passport.  The latter does not allow me to enter Jerusalem and the US government will not protect this or other rights I have (including family reunification).

Meanwhile, any Jewish American can come and get automatic citizenship and live on stolen Palestinian land in our city.  It is hard to describe the level of frustration that I had watching the theater of media frenzy (devoid of any real substance) about Obama’s visit. 

Obama gave a new lifeline to war and conflict by avoiding human rights and international law. It is the missing ingredient that for the past 65 years precluded peaceful resolution.

 It is the twisted logic that says the insecurity of the thief must be the only thing to be dealt with by ensuring the victims first recognize the legitimacy of the theft and the legitimacy of the need for the thief to first have full security and immunity from accountability for the theft before the victim is put in the room with the armed thief so that they can work out something (vague and without reference to International law). 

That formula has shown to be a disaster and has kept Apartheid and colonization going.   Israel has no incentive to allow a Palestinian sovereign state let alone redress the injustice (e.g. refugees, theft of land and resources etc) as long as it continues to get unconditional check from our tax money and guaranteed veto of the US at the UN protecting it from International law. 

This plus over $12 billion in profits from the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (captive market, natural resources etc.) ensures the occupation continues.  But Israeli and American governments are thinking short term. 

Long term, the changing reality (in the Arab world) and demographics in Palestine will ensure change.  …. *To read more and see videos of activities and situations faced by Obama and little reported in the news, visit*

On the way back from the Bethlehem University yesterday (3/18), we noted a small bulldozer that has removed a stone monument of a map of historic Palestine and the olive tree at the entrance of the city (in Alkarkafa, picture at blog link below).  

This was not Israeli authorities but the “Palestinian authority” (PA) from higher up but via the Mayor of Bethlehem.  Instead of the olive tree and the map, the idea is that Mr. Obama will see a new thing: a dove at the entrance of Bethlehem.  

The people gathered angry and stopped the work. Some said that the PA was acting as a subcontractor for the Israeli authorities; PA security personnel still patrol the refugee camps like Aida to prevent young people from challenging the Israeli occupation and PA security officials still cooperate with the Israeli security officials.  

They arrest Palestinians in the West Bank especially those affiliated with Islamic movements and they ensure that people who get government positions are loyal members of one faction (Fatah). Even strictly financial corruption of many PA officials and even after it is widely documented is not brought to justice.

As I wrote while in South Africa, corruption is everywhere in the world and people need to mobilize against it.  When Abu Jihad (Palestinian hero and martyr of the resistance) was asked about corruption, he answered in the same way as Nelson Mandela answered: we can root it out AFTER liberation.  The experience in South Africa and in Palestine suggest that corruption must be tackled early and forcefully because it is a disease that spreads.  

….For more including action items, messages to Obama, picture of toppled monument, and to leave your comments please go to
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD




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