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Natural history, conservation and politics meet in West Bank museum

The Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability bring Israeli and Palestinians together to preserve knowledge about the ecology, environment and cultivation of Palestine.

BETHLEHEM, West Bank— Located on three acres of land near Bethlehem, the Palestine Museum of Natural History is home to some 260 types of plants, rare butterflies and birds. It is also a place where Israelis and Palestinians work alongside each other to further research, education and conservation.

“Israeli volunteers, who oppose colonialism, Zionism and Israeli occupation, work with us,” Mazin Qumsiyeh, founder and director of the museum and a well-known human rights activist, told Al-Monitor. “They are in favor of peaceful coexistence with Palestinians. They work actively with us to conserve the flora and fauna of Palestine.”

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