"One Year After Your Historic Visit, We Still Call for International

OPEN LETTER by Deheishe Camp Residents to POPE JOHN PAUL II
March 23, 2001


Your Holiness, Pope John Paul II, God bless you,

Our peaceful greetings to you

We are sending you our genuine sentiments, your Holiness, to say
that...another year from the Palestinian calendar of pain has
passed...deprived of having anything in the Land of Peace that is
shedding blood and tears...full of sadness for the children of
Palestine...the children of Bethlehem...the children of the camp who
continue to be killed despite your efforts and commitment to see love
and peace prevail.

A year has passed since your historic visit that carried deep
importance that will continue to exist in the memory of every child,
mother and elder in our camp. Deheishe camp, which you blessed by
your visit, has been suffering on all levels, humanitarian and

We assure your Holiness that we, despite the pain of the deadly,
terrifying and suffocating closure, still believe in peace and
continue working for it...the peace that offers us the right to
freely live in dignity...the right guaranteed by all religions...and
by all customs and international law which affirms our right to
establish our independent state, our right to return to our towns and
villages stolen from us, the same places that you mentioned in your
historical visit: "...you are carrying painful memories because of
what you left behind, not only the material properties but also your
freedom, relatives and the places where you were raised...".

Your Holiness, in the shadow of cumulative subjugation and aggression
applied against our Palestinian people in general and the people of
Bethlehem in particular, we call upon you to help provide
international protection to Palestinian children, women and elders,
to guarantee the desired peace in the Land of Peace.

Residents and organizations of Deheishe camp
Popular Committee