Meeting Report

November 16, 2014

Maureen Keown-Walsh and Don Knutson

Palestine: Its Environment, Its Situation, Its People and Its Products

This meeting was a rare treat: a double header.

First up was Don Knutson, who told our audience of thirty about his visits to Gaza several years ago. After presenting a history of how the victorious Allies divided the Middle East after the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in World War I, Mr. Knutson showed slides of the damage wrought in Gaza by the Israel Defense Force (IDF), especially at Gaza’s airport.

He succinctly summarized the ongoing travesty that is the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians by pointing out that “War needs hatred.” Indeed, there seems to be enough of that on both sides of this affair.

After Don Knutson related his experiences in Gaza, Maureen Keown-Walsh then told us about her involvement in the West Bank.

In 2012, Maureen and her family formed Tully Partnerships, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, to support projects and partnerships in the West Bank of Palestine. One of Tully’s partners is Women in Hebron (WiH), a fair trade embroidery cooperative in the village of Idna. Through WiH, she has met and befriended many women in that unfortunate part of Palestine.

The topic of her presentation, supported by a number of slides, was based on her third trip to the area—June 24 through July 24, 2014—in the midst of the most recent action. She succeeded in giving us some taste of what it’s like to live there. She related that she adheres to the principle, “Live without fear,” which fortifies her resolve to travel in a seemingly dangerous area.

Maureen explained that the situation was very tense during her one-month visit, as the assault on Gaza began along with the resulting ongoing collective punishment in the West Bank. She characterized the assault on Gaza as an example of genocide on a large scale, with what the IDF is doing in the West Bank being “genocide on a daily basis—one person, one house, one village at a time.”

There’s hope, however, because she’s found that many Israelis do not support their government’s policies.

Thank you both, Don Knutson and Maureen Keown-Walsh, for your enlightening presentations.

Report prepared by Roger Zabkie

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