Category Archives: West Bank

A Palestinian Nation Building Movement for the 21st Century

A Palestinian nation-building movement for the 21st Century has been born.

(click on any photo to enlarge)

Close to 700 Palestinians came together earlier this month in Bethlehem, the West Bank “city of new beginnings” in Palestine, to plan their own future.

Sponsored by The Center for Human Emergence Middle East, the event inaugurated the “Palestine 21” project which aims to empower Palestinian citizens to design their own state.

The convention was organized by Palestinian leaders inspired by the geopolitical work of Dr. Don Beck, the American founder of the Global Center for Human Emergence (CHE).

“For the political ‘Road Map’ involving Israel and Palestine to be successful, the ‘Palestinian Development Map’ must first be implemented,” Dr. Beck said at the event.

Palestinian participants traveled by bus from Jericho, Qalqyliah, Tulkarm , Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Jerusalem, spending long hours at checkpoints throughout the West Bank.

Elza Maalouf , the Arab-American CEO of CHE Middle East, opened the event, saying “’Palestine 21’ fits within our overall plan to support human and societal emergence in our region, and Palestinians, together with other Arabs, will lead the way.

“It is an honor and a deep source of happiness for me to partner in the Middle East with Dr. Beck, a world-renowned expert on human and societal emergence, “ Ms. Maalouf added. “His work was field-tested during the South African transition from Apartheid and will greatly benefit the transition to nationhood in Palestine.”

Nafiz Rifaee, the Palestinian leader who designed and organized the event with the help of a team of dedicated men and women, urged the audience to focus on the future of their children and the future of Palestine. “This all started when Dr. Beck asked us how were we going to spend the seven billion dollars coming from donor countries. Do we have a sustainable plan for development? Or will the financial aid follow the usual channels?” Mr. Rifaee recalled.

The walls of the convention room at the Shepherd Hotel in Bethlehem were plastered with large sheets of paper filled with the people’s personal ideas and aspirations for their beloved Palestine. Recommendations included the design of a First World public school system, world-class universities, an eco-sensitive transportation plan, universal health care, and representative government.

The full list of suggestions is being compiled in a booklet which will be presented to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, President George W. Bush, Special Envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair, and the United Nations.

Guest Blog: By Maysa Gayyusi-Palestine Integral Committee-Ramallah

“I am burning inside and Gaza is burning outside”

Ula, my friend in Gaza, is now a terrified mother of three, hiding at her parent’s house and hovering over her children to protect them from harm. When I talked to her two days ago, her voice was trembling from shock and disbelief of what was happening in her hometown. With things going out of hand in Gaza, she found no one around to complain to, so she called me to share her despair and an almost primal fear for her kid’s life. For the first time since I have known Ula, she sounded hysterical and confused. “Maysa, I really don’t know what to do or where to go… When I cry I raise my eyes to the sky, it’s the only place where I can look and see no death or blood.” She said sobbingly on the phone. “ brothers are killing their brothers, Muslims are killing Muslims…in the name of what??”

As a Palestinian I am feeling angry and appalled by what is happening in Gaza. This fighting and so-called “coup d’etat” is a self-inflicted set back to our Palestinian cause. Regardless of any strategic trap or conspiracy staged by any superpower or regional power. We took the bait…

“My children are no longer the same” continued Ula, “My seven year old asked me, Mommy, are you Fatah or Hamas. I turned my face to hide the tears. I am raising my children to become good Palestinians, engineers, entrepreneurs, physicist…and the aggression is raising them to become fighters and hostile.” She continued saying “Maysa, I am confused, my husband is unemployed. And we have a family to support. they are going to cut the supplies of fuel and water. It is going to be the end of the world for me and my children”

A sense of helplessness came over me as I was listening to her words, and my heart was bleeding. Sitting in Jerusalem I really was not able to even comfort her terrified emotions. I just listened.
Yesterday, Ula and her family were forced out of their house and had to flee to her parents’ house in the midst of fighting. This was not an option for them due to the fact that her house is near the president’s compound. “we were forced by a gun to my husband’s head to leave the house; I never imagined that one day I will be kicked out of my house by another Palestinian.”.

Before she hang up the phone she whispered to me “Maysa, I am burning inside and Gaza is Burning outside”

Maysa Gayyusi
UNRWA Advisor and a Freelance writer for Palestine Times.

to contact Maysa: M.GAYYUSI@unrwa.org