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September 18, 2022

One letter to the editor was published today. Many comments. See them here.

September 17, 2022

On September 11, 2022, the Salt Lake Tribune published In the Holy Land, a place divided by religion, we discover how it is — and isn’t — like LDS Utah, by Peggy Fletcher Stack. Below are letters of rebuttal to the editor that were submitted to the Tribune.

Dear Editor (please consider for publication)

The article by Peggy Fletcher Stack 9/11/2022 about Palestine was very disturbing and loaded with misinformation and generalizations that libel entire communities. My family is a Palestinain 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 US-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 9 April 1948! And we Palestinian Christians reject the innuendos directed to members of the Church 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 Professor, Founder, and Director
Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability and

Letter to the Tribune, 9/15/2022

The Tribune article regarding the Holy Land, noted that Christians, Muslims, Jews and others can and do live together in peace in Israel/Palestine. But the Tribune erroneously reported that violence in Israel/Palestine is only occasional and mostly due to right-wing extremist Jews or Muslims.

That position completely dismisses the profound daily violence experienced by Palestinians living under Israel’s endless war, occupation and controlling system of apartheid— whether  in Israel proper or the Israeli occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel’s apartheid system was recently documented by over ten major institutions including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Human Rights Council. Under Israel’s apartheid laws, only Jewish Nationals are permanently entitled land, water, other resources and superior economic rights in any part of Historic Palestine.

The Tribune states that Israel’s Palestinian citizens, 21 % of Israel’s population, live peacefully within Israel’s Jewish majority. What the Tribune missed is that those same Palestinians citizens, 21% of the population, are restricted to less than 1.7% of the land and do not enjoy the rights, privileges and economic benefits given to Israel’s  designated superior status people, “Jewish Nationals”. That is a daily violence.

In 2008, I, along with two other Utah women, visited Israel and the Occupied Territories. One evening we entered the al-Jalameh checkpoint connecting the Territories with Israel.   Other than we three women and one Palestinian man, the checkpoint was empty.  Israeli soldiers detained us for some two to three hours and with nothing else to do we found ourselves watching and listening to the discussion between the soldiers and the one Palestinian man. He had been informed that his wife was seriously ill. He wanted to get through the checkpoint to reach her. The Israeli soldiers refused permission. For an hour or more this Palestinian man again and again got on his knees and begged to be let through. He was unsuccessful and I have never been able to forget this small piece of violence against this one man. It helped me see the unbelievable yet mostly invisible violence against all Palestinians.

Israel could not maintain this system of war and apartheid without U.S. political and financial support. When are we Americans going to tire of giving Israel 3.8 billion dollars every year?  When are we going to understand that we are not behaving as our ‘brother’s keeper’ when we provide the funding for ‘our brother’ to carry out such atrocities. Have we forgotten our values?  When will we insist that we do not want our dollars spent on endless wars, occupation and any apartheid system anywhere in this world?

Frances ReMillard, Co-Founder and President of UJPHL, PO Box 431, Kamas, Utah, 84036,

Published by ujphl

...a coalition of civil and human rights activists promoting peace with justice in Israel- Palestine.

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