Letter: Misinformation in “Holy Land” article libels entire communities

(Michael Stack | Special to The Tribune) The Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem at the end of the Jewish Sabbath, Saturday April 16, 2022.

The article by Peggy Fletcher Stack on Sept. 11 about Palestine (“In the Holy Land, a place divided by religion, we discover how it is — and isn’t — like LDS Utah”) was very disturbing and loaded with misinformation and generalizations that libel entire communities.

My family is a Palestinian Christian family. Stack did not interview any leading Palestinian Christians (or Muslims) on either side of the 1948 green line and was content with giving us only Zionist views about what Christians (which she called incorrectly “protestant”) feel or think and about “riots” on what she calls the “Temple Mount” (Al-Aqsa mosque compound which Israeli occupation forces regularly storm while people are in prayers).

The article is loaded with colonialist-orientalist language about the natives. For the record, Palestinian Christian and Muslim villages were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and we continue to be removed from our land, our houses demolished. Eight million Palestinians are refugees or displaced people (10% of whom are Christian) thanks to U.S.-backed apartheid system intent on taking a multi-religions, multi-cultural society called Palestine and turn it to a Jewish state called Israel.

My 90-year-old Christian mother still remembers her friend Hayah Balbisi killed in the Massacre of Deir Yassin April 9, 1948! And we Palestinian Christians reject the innuendos directed to members of The Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My sister who happens to belong to that church wrote a whole book relating to her life under Israeli occupation (see Sahar Qumsiyeh, " Peace for a Palestinian: One Woman’s Story of Faith Amidst War in the Holy Land”). Please read it to see if she was “intimidated” by fellow Muslims. Next time we would welcome objective reporting and actual meetings with us, the descendants of the first Christians, instead of projecting Zionist ideas to your readers.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, founder and director of Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability, Bethlehem University, West Bank

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