A Catholic priest  attacked by settlers
October 10, 2000

I have asked our Office in Jerusalem about the situation in the Holy Land as I heard that some churches and preists have been attacked and

Here is the Answer of the Latin Patriarchate.

Fr. Labib Kobti

October 10, 2000
Dear Fr. Labib,

We heard also this news... which is not totally correct. The truth is the

I called Fr. Firas Hijazin who is the Parish priest of St. James Church, Franciscan s of the Holy Land, in Beit Hanina, which is in the Franciscan Housing project also..
He Told me that last midnight more than one thousand settlers from Pisgat
Ze'ev and Neve Ya'akov had spilt violently into the streets in the darkest hours of the night, and they attacked the neighbouring Arab houses throwing stones and smashing cars..

They couldn't enter the quarter St James Church because it was closed, and they
only throw stones.. There was a very strong confrontation between Arabs and
settlers until 4 o'clock of that morning. Soldiers and policemen came but
they were only protecting the settlers and shooting on the Arabs.

This is not new at all, because since more than five days, these settlers
attack many Arab quarters in Beit Hanina, Shufat, Al-Ram, Sheik Jarah,
Betunia, Hizma.. and elsewhere.. and they destroy properties of the Arab
population... These same settlers block all the streets of the west bank in
the darkness of the night only and they stop all the cars, and if it is an
Arab car they destroy it..

The last example we had, is that Fr. Ibrahim Hijazin himself, Parish priest of Ramallah, was returning form Nablous toward Ramallah at six o'clock evening, settlers stopped him, and told him to go out of the car, he showed them his Vatican Laissez-passer, but they recognized that he is an Arab even if he is Jordanian and drive an Israeli car with yellow target. They smashed the glace of his car, and thanks God that they didn't harm or kill him. He continued to Ramallah, and at the
first police station, he told them what happened with him, but they told
him: we cannot do anything.

The questions are:
- Why these settlers attack the Arab civilians during the night only?
- Are they afraid of day confrontations of the Arabs?
- Or they want to terrorise the Arabs?
- Are they afraid to be caught be the cameras of the journalists?
- Why the Israeli soldiers and policemen are protecting them, and they don't
even shoot tear gas on them but they shoot live bullets on the Arabs?

I do not have answers to these questions?!!

Best wishes from Jerusalem and pray for us.

We pray for PEACE and RECONCILIATION of course but also for JUSTICE and

Fr. Raed Abusahliah
Secretary of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Roman Catholic Archdiocese and patriarchate of the Holyn land