All of you have heard about the assassination attack by Israeli helicopter
gunships in the heart of Bethlehem on Tuesday afternoon. This attack came
in a heavily populated part of Bethlehem, little more than 400 meters
downhill from the Church of the Nativity. As usual, the Israeli government
explained that they were 'liquidating' men who were planning a major Hamas
'terrorist' attack in Jerusaslem in the coming days. Although every major
government in the world, even the often silent US, has called on Israel to
halt these political assassinations, Israel has announced it will increase
these types of 'security actions.'
One of the things which rarely happens following one of these killings
questions about Israel's labeling of the target as terrorists. No evidence
has ever been made public about any of the nearly 40 people the State of
Israel has assassinated since the beginning of the Intifada. Many news
agencies take their information from the official Israeli report and may do
little to follow up. So, I suspect that often people in the world shrug
their shoulders and say, "Oh well, just another terrorist...."
But, such thoughts are not worthy of any of us!
And this time, while 2 of the men were members of Hamas, although no
that they were actually planning attacks has yet been offered, two were
not. And, besides the men targeted, at least 10 bystanders were wounded,
including a 10-year old girl who lost an arm.
Because the rocket attack was close to the home of a friend, I called
make sure the family was safe. They were, I was told, but one of the men
killed was a teacher in their son's school, Terra Sancta, which is run by
the Latin Catholic Patriarchate in Bethlehem.
Following is a short story about Isaac Saada, 41 years old, a husband,
father of 11, teacher and one of the four men killed. The writer, an
Israeli - Gershon Baskin, calls him also a man of peace. As you read this
account, may it encourage you to always ask about the story untold, the
human face behind the political rhetoric.
In prayer for all the innocent who have been killed,
Rev. Sandra Olewine
United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem
Isaac Saada (1950 - 2001)
Wednesday, July 18, 2001
Yesterday, our friend and colleague, Isaac Saada from Bethlehem, was
by an Israeli missile fired from a helicopter. The target of the missile
was Omar Saada, Isaac's brother, whom the Israelis claim was a Hamas
terrorist. Omar Saada was killed together with two others on the impact of
two rockets fired from the helicopter. Isaac ran out of his house when he
heard the explosions in his bother's yard and was then killed by a third
missile fired to make sure that the first two "did the job". Isaac left 11
Why am I telling you this story? It happens almost every day!
was a teacher involved in IPCRI's Peace Education Project. Just one day
before being killed, Isaac spoke to Nedal Jayousi, the Palestinian
Co-Director of the Peace Education Project. Isaac asked Nedal how he could
be more involved.
Today at the same hour that he is being buried, Isaac was supposed to
IPCRI participating in a joint seminar with Israeli teachers. Isaac had
just completed with his Israeli and Palestinian colleagues work on a new
Peace Education Curriculum on conflict resolution and negotiations for
Israeli and Palestinian 11th grade classes. In fact, I have a check on my
desk for him for the work he had done.
I remember sitting with Isaac over lunch at a joint teachers seminar
took place after the Intifada began. Isaac was telling me the troubles he
was having trying to teach his own children to love and want peace. He
talked about the terrible things that his children had witnessed over the
past months and some of them questioned how their father could still work
with the Israelis. He told me that he was very firm with them, telling
them that we had to believe in peace and that peace would eventually come.
He told them that the worst thing that could happen to them and to the
Palestinian people would be if they filled their hearts with hatred.
Isaac has been presented in the Israeli and International media reports
one of four Hamas terrorists killed. I am very angry at this lie. I have
attempted to correct this falsehood with my media contacts. There was one
short sentence in the report by Amira Haas in Haaretz today stating that
Isaac was involved in meetings with Israeli teachers. Israeli TV News
Channel One's correspondent Oded Granot also indicated that Isaac was
involved with the Israeli-Palestine Center in peace education activities.
We want the entire world to know that Isaac was not a terrorist;
he was a
man of peace. I only hope and pray that his 11 children will not learn the
lesson of revenge which is all too easy to understand. We expect and
demand that the Government of Israel issue an apology to Isaac's family and
a recognition of the tragic error that was committed and that the
Government of Israel recognize and acknowledge that Isaac was a man of
Isaac was from a poor family. He lived in a poor neighborhood
Bethlehem. He supported his wife and 11 children on the salary of a
teacher in the Terra Sancta School in Bethlehem. Today there is no one to
provide the few sheckels that he brought home each month.
We would like to ask all of you to make a contribution to the welfare
Isaac Saada's children. We would like this collection to be a legacy for
the peace that Isaac dreamed and worked for.
Please send your contributions to the address below in any amount and
any currency to IPCRI in care of Isaac Saada's family. We will make sure
that the money gets to his children.
Gershon Baskin, Ph.D.
IPCRI - Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information
P.O. Box 9321, Jerusalem 91092
Temporary Facilities: Tantur -On the Jerusalem-Bethlehem Border
Telephone: 972-2-676-9460 Fax: 972-2-676-9011
Office Address: Laham Building, Palestine Street, El-Doha, Bethlehem,
Home Page: http://www.ipcri.org
IPCRI General Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gershon Baskin: gershon @ipcri.org
Zakaria al Qaq: email@example.com
Environment and Water Program: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace Education Project: email@example.com
Marwan Darweish: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nedal Jayousi: email@example.com
Anat Reisman-Levy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robin Twite: email@example.com
Amjad Jaouni: firstname.lastname@example.org