Another Empty Palestine Museum Opens

Ma’an News reports on the opening of the Palestine Museum of Natural History.

The Palestine Museum of Natural History and its botanical gardens at Bethlehem University in the southern occupied West Bank opened to the public on Saturday, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Bethlehem University professor and founder of the museum Mazin Qumsiyeh said at the opening ceremony Wednesday that work on the project began in August 2014, as part of the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) at the university.

The opening ceremony was reportedly attended by officials from the Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority, the ministries of agriculture and education, university officials, and others.

The “national accomplishment,” Qumsiyeh said, “is a dream come true to arrive at this stage, a culmination of countless hours and countless volunteers,” Wafa quoted him as saying.

Our plans going forward are ambitious. We plan to build our PIBS to offer degrees (diplomas and higher degrees) in areas like environmental conservation, permaculture, and museology.

We plan a future green museum building of nearly 2000 square meters right here where we are. We plan a mobile museum to go to remote villages,” he said.

Qumsiyeh added that in future, “We plan to have a virtual tour of the museum so that people around the world can visit Palestine and learn about areas like its fauna, flora, ethnology, history, and the human spirit that guides us. We will develop museum exhibits that are interactive. We will develop an animal rehabilitation unit. We plan to develop our botanical garden to be a permaculture research facility and a place for ex situ conservation of wild plants and some animals threatened with extinction.”

Notice how there is no description of what the museum actually contains. No description of exhibits, just of plans. And the only photo is the one above, taken from the museum’s website – which incidentally, does not have any photos of any exhibits.

That is because there are currently none.

There are dynamic and experimental exhibits being built in the museum to ensure they reflect the mission and goals of the museum.

Although they claim there was one in 2014 – year’s before today’s opening! (go figure)

In November, 2014, the Museum, in conjunction with the Qattan Foundation, hosted a public exhibition themed “Science Fair Festival”.

In other words, this museum sounds as empty as the $24 million Palestinian Museum that opened last year.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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