The voice of the TRUTH from Jerusalem
News, articles and documents from the Holy Land
“Peace will be the fruit of Justice and my people will dwell in the beauty of Peace”
Wednesday, 1 November 2000
His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah just arrived today from Rome after his meeting with the Pope during a launch which took one hour and a half, because it seems that the Pope was very interested and attentive, with Msgr Jean Louis Tauran who was taking notes.
Soon after his arrival, 15 minutes later, we went to Cremisan, a Salesian
convent, 1 Km far from Beit Jala. We passed through the shooting and the
voice of bullets from Gilo toward Beit Jala. This terrible situation continued
5 hours until our departure, and during the conference and the mass and
the dinner that we had there, we used to hear terrible voices of all kinds
of weapons, even we saw two helicopters launching missiles toward Beit
Jala. It was a real war, but this time life in front of us not behind the
TV screens like in films. It is a real adventure to return back to Jerusalem,
through the empty streets of Beit Jala and Bethlehem. But more terrible
is to know that the inhabitants of this region are living since weeks in
this same horrible situation and almost every night. It is good to know
that all these attacks of the most modern American weapons are used against
simple civilians, and in front of the whole world who is looking at us
without doing anything.
You will find in today’s report, will find two documents:
1) After more than one month, and the routine of each day’s confrontations, martyrs, injuries, the following article will show you the harvest of the first month. I think that we are paying a very high price, more than 150 martyrs and more than 6000 injured. Those who die become heroes and martyrs, but, according to my opinion, the most dangerous and painful are those who will remain handicapped for life, more than 20% of the injured will stay paralyzed or will loose their eyes, as we saw in St John’s eyes hospital which is dealing with more than 100 cases since the beginning of the actual Intifada.
2) A STATEMENT BY CHURCH-RELATED EUROPEAN & CANADIAN AGENCIES, who visited the country during the actual conflict. I think that it is worthy to read this report, in order to understand why Israel is refusing an International inquiry commission, but only an American one which will be, as usual, biased and will side unconditionally with Israel. A just inquiry commission will reveal all the atrocities and embarrass Israel.
Best wishes from Jerusalem and keep praying for us and for a real peace in the Holy Land.
Thank you, for your support, care and understanding.
Fr. Raed Abusahlia
==========================LAST MINUTE'S STORY============================
Dear Fr. Raed:
In the next few lines I will tell you the story of our next door neighbor
and the same time that the wife, Azzizza, is my aunt.
In 1964 Sleiman Hijazin passed away and left his wife Azzizza with 9
kids, the oldest was 14 years old and the youngest was 10 months old (3
girls and 6 boys).
Life was so difficult for Sleiman and his wife. This family used to
live in a SINGLE ROOM, and this situation continues after the death of
What can we say more about this unfortunate family. Sleiman used to
work for the Custody of the Holy Land who continues their generosity with
this family after the death of Sleiman, and took 4 boys of this family
and put them in their foster home in Jerusalem. Two of these boys trained
in the Industry school which is part of the foster school to become a successful
plumbers and lives in U.S.A, the second one become a carpenter, the other
2 continues their education, one of them become a doctor and the other
one become an engineer who is also lives in U.S.A. The other 2 boys who
stayed with their mother at home become one of them a professional labor,
and the other become a dentist and lives in Germany. The 3 girls get married
in Beit Sahour and Jordan.
This family were able to buy a piece of land and build a house of 4
apartment and lived happily in the past few years.
Yesterday, Tuesday October 31, 2000 is the tragitic day for this family.
Israeli soldiers launched 2 missiles from a tank and destroyed the house
of this family.
Azzizza commented, with the tears in hear eyes: “welcome back to the
This is the story of this family
Latin Patriarchate Schools
P.O.Box 2435, Ramallah
Tel: + 972 2 2957362
Fax: + 972 2 2957360
 Special Report: Statistical Picture of Palestinian Deaths and Injuries
The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
The Emerging Trends
Statistical Picture of Palestinian Deaths and Injuries
October 30, 2000,
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, president of the UPMRC held a press conference today at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem. The purpose of the press conference was to dispel myths and present factual evidence that directly contradicts IDF statements about the current conflict.
To date, 149 Palestinians have been killed and approximately 6,000 have been injured as a result of Israeli actions.
One myth that has surfaced recently is that Palestinians are using their children as shields in clashes and purposefully sending them out to demonstrate. However, the statistics prove otherwise. While a disturbing number of children have been killed, the majority have been adults. Palestinian deaths according to age are:
* 13.8% below the age of 15
* 20.3% age 16-18
* 50% age 19-29
* 8.7% age 30-39
* 3.6% age 40-49
* 3.6% 50-59
Many of the children who were killed were not involved in clashes. For example, 13-year-old Muayyad Usma Jawarish was shot and killed by Israeli sniper fire in Bethlehem. He was on his way home from school and was not within a clash area. Similarly, 18- month-old Sara Abdul Azeem was shot in the head by a settler. She was returning home with her father and was not near a clash site. A six-month-old infant was also killed.
The reality is that the IDF is attacking unarmed Palestinian civilians with deadly accuracy, creating a situation Dr. Barghouthi describes as "warfare without a war."
Major causes of Palestinian deaths are:
* Bullets - 92%
* Tear gas - 1.4%
* Torture - 1.4%
* Prevented access to medical treatment due to the closure - 2.2%
The locations of wounds which caused the deaths:
* 48.1% in the head and neck
* 50.4% in the chest and abdomen
* 1.6% in the lower limbs Injury statistics are telling as well. Locations of injuries have been:
* 26% in the head or neck
* 70% to the upper body
* 58% to the upper body if injuries to upper limbs are excluded
These figures show that, counter to IDF claims, the Israeli army is shooting to kill unarmed Palestinians. Other groups like the United States chapter of Physicians for Human Rights agree with this assessment. Ninety-five to ninety-eight percent of the clashes occur between Palestinians armed only with stones, and Israeli soldiers armed with rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas, live ammunition, tanks, helicopters, and 50 caliber bullets. The IDF claims that soldiers are acting in self-defense, but the numbers show that many Palestinians have been shot in the head, some in the back of the head while trying to run from the soldiers' fire. Snipers have also been used to assassinate Palestinians, an act that is not consistent with the 'self- defense' argument. Dr. Barghouthi explains that Israel is escalating the status of the situation from an occupation to a one-sided armed conflict in an attempt to justify the suppression of Palestinians and exempt the army from any accountability.
Israeli attacks have harmed a substantial proportion of the Palestinian population. If the same proportion of civilians in the US were killed and injured, approximately 433,000 Americans would be injured and 7,500 would be dead.
The UPMRC repeats its appeal for international protection for Palestinian civilians from Israeli attacks.
To view all of the UPMRC's Emergency Appeals and updates regarding the Israeli army's use of force against Palestinians over the past month, visit the UPMRC website at http://www.upmrc.org. For further information please contact Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi at 050-254218 or the UPMRC office at 02-583- 3510/ 02-583-4021.
The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
P.O. Box 51483
Tel: +972-2-583-3510 Fax: +972-2-583-0679
(2) STATEMENT BY CHURCH-RELATED EUROPEAN & CANADIAN AGENCIES
From 27 September till 16 October 2000, we, the Middle East representatives of Bread for the World (Germany), Christian Aid (UK), Church of Sweden Aid, DanChurchAid (Denmark), EZE (Germany), ICCO (Netherlands) and InterChurch Action (Canada), visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.
We visited the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Arab-populated areas in Israel and spoke extensively with partner organizations, members of churches and church-related organizations, members of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, medical personnel who were eye-witnesses to the violence, as well as victims of the violence.
The most vivid impression was the fear we observed in ordinary Palestinian people. They fear the excessive violence of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and they fear violence from armed Israeli settlers and civilians under the protection of the Israeli army and border police - directed not against street protests but against people going about their daily lives.
We witnessed the impact of the violence on Palestinian children not only numbers of children killed or injured but also the psychological after effects. Many of our partners are preparing counseling sessions for children to cope with nightmares and traumatic experiences.
The portrayal of these events in the media fails to reflect many aspects of what we witnessed and heard. By demanding a Ścease-fire¹ the impression is created that there are simply two armed parties that receive orders to fight and that can also be ordered to stop. This is not the case, on one side is the sophisticated Israeli army and on the other, predominantly Palestinian civilians and some police and militia members with small arms. However, partners also expressed their concerns about some specific acts of violence carried out by Palestinians, specifically the destruction of Joseph¹s Tomb and the mob deaths of two soldiers in Ramallah. Partners highlighted the negative impact such actions have on world opinion, making it possible for the media to talk about violence on both sides and equate what has happened to the Israelis with the vastly greater violence done to Palestinians.
We met with Israeli partners who are committed to peace, equality and justice. We stand by them at a time when they are facing isolation within Israel and even direct threats against them. They are encouraging us to taken an active role in advocacy to promote the idea that peace can only be achieved through respect for international law.
We share with our partners their uncertainty for the future of their on-going economic and social development work. Once again long-term programs aimed at improving the lives of those most in need of new prospects and stability have been thwarted by yet another crisis. We must remain open to providing support as it is most needed by local partners as they adapt to the present situation, including providing emergency funds, changing project goals or redirecting resources.
In our view, the present events mark a turning point in terms of the peace process. It will be impossible to return to the Oslo framework. We are convinced that at the core of a just peace must be self-determination and independence for all Palestinians. We also stress the need to continue working alongside our Jewish and Palestinian Israeli counterparts as they work to build a more equitable democratic state.
Since the violence began, the IDF has been deploying excessive and totally disproportionate force against street demonstrations comprising mainly unarmed Palestinian civilians. The IDF crossed the line from controlling demonstrators - for which it could have used teargas, water canons, or avoiding direct confrontations to prevent violence - to waging war using
sharpshooters, tanks, helicopter gunships and naval bombardment.
The most urgent need is to stop the killing and give protection to the
Palestinians. The unequal forces involved are reflected in the number of
deaths and injured on both sides. While a total of 5 Israelis have died
in the violence 4 of them soldiers as of 19 October, a total
of 97 Palestinians were killed including 29 children under the age of 15,
injured including 1148 children. Most casualties have injuries to the head and other upper parts of the body, demonstrating a shoot-to-kill or do maximum harm¹ policy of the Israeli army. Many of the injuries are serious, involving the loss of eyes and limbs and brain damage.
A further dangerous escalation of the violence is the attacks being carried out by armed Jewish settlers and Jewish-Israelis on Palestinian homes and Palestinian civilians including children. Several Palestinians have been killed by Jewish settlers. The perpetrators are Israeli citizens and the Israeli government should be held accountable for their actions.
Palestinians in the occupied territories are asking for a normal life and freedom from fear. The seven years of the Oslo process have not brought this normality. Israel has continued to dominate in most spheres of life and to impede freedom of movement. Only 11 per cent of the West Bank and 60 per cent of the Gaza Strip have been transferred to full Palestinian control. Since 1993, Palestinians have witnessed the inexorable expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. As of last year, there were 158 settlements in the West Bank, at least 16 in East Jerusalem and 19 in Gaza with a total population of 364,000.
In the current crisis, every village and town has been cut off, making travel between regions impossible. This closure has a severe impact on the health system, the transport of food and other supplies, and exacerbates the high unemployment and economic stagnation that already characterize the territories.
Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up 20 per cent of the total
population, have reacted with the shock and bewilderment at being fired
on by their own police force, leaving 13 dead and over 500 injured. They
have also been attacked by armed Jewish Israeli civilians. There have been
hundreds of arrests of Palestinian citizens who are being held without
charge or bail.
Palestinians everywhere have responded to this crisis with an increased show of unity, and especially greater mutual support between Palestinians in the occupied territories, inside Israel and in Lebanon. This has become an uprising for Palestinian independence, the implementation of the right of return for Palestinian refugees and the creation of a Palestinian state comprising of all territory of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Frequent visits to the region and discussions with our partners over the years since 1993 led us to warn that the Oslo process was fatally flawed and that it failed to address basic issues necessary to achieve a just peace. The Palestinian people have expressed once again their frustration over the ongoing occupation. The recent events have hardened the view among
Palestinians that all Israeli settlements must be completed dismantled.
A major danger is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over land and peace could turn into a broader Western/Israeli Palestinian/Arab/Muslim conflict or even war over religion that neither side could win, and that would result in further and more widespread bloodshed.
The international community including Canada, the European Union and its member-states must share responsibility for the failure of the Oslo peace process. They have allowed Israel to continue with its settlement policy and have failed to put pressure on Israel to implement UN resolutions 194, 242 and 338.
Palestinians genuinely desire peace but a new and broader framework for negotiations is needed. This includes a much more prominent political role for the European Union and Canada since the US cannot be considered an 'honest broker' between the parties. The negotiations should focus on how to implement UN resolutions and the outcome should not be dependent on the balance of power between parties to the negotiations.
The key issues remain:
land for peace including East Jerusalem compliance with key UN resolutions, especially UNGA 194 (the right of return of refugees), UNSC 242 and 338 (Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories). an end to all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories international protection for the Palestinians and internationally sponsored investigation of the current violence
1. International investigation and international protection The Sharm El-Sheikh deal will not lead to real independent investigation as parties are requested to investigate their own misconduct meaning that there is a need for real independent investigation based on the framework of the 4th Geneva Convention protecting the rights of civilians and aiming to:
a) investigate violations of the 4th Geneva Convention during this period
b) measures and mechanisms to protect the civilians in the immediate and longer term future
2. Immediate need to address the real causes of the violence; the impossibility
of returning to the Oslo process, therefore the need for a new framework
a) implementation of UN resolutions 194, 242 and 338. The key question is not if this should take place but how and when.
b) a new framework should not be brokered by the US only, as they have lost credibility as an impartial mediator. Rather, other international bodies or countries should play a fuller political role, such as Russia, the EU and Canada.
3. The EU member states and Canada must consider effective enforcement
measures of International HR law. In addition, the EU as body should
ensure that Israel complies with all aspects of the Association Agreement,
particularly Clause 2, which requires Israel to respect and protect HR.
Effective enforcement measures should include freezing existing economic
agreements between Israel and the EU.
European and North American governments¹ must be called to account
for their actions on two issues:
a) why they voted against the resolution of the UN Human Rights Commission concerning ³grave and massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel², agreed during its emergency session on October 19th 2000
b) why EU member states (including Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Norway) as well as Canada abstained from a recent UN General Assembly resolution condemning illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Alison Kelly, Head of Middle East, Europe and Central Asia Team, Christian
Sue Turrell, Programme Manager Israel/Palestine, Christian Aid UK/Ireland
Harry Derksen, Desk Officer for the Middle East???, Netherlands
Corrie Roeper, Desk Officer Israel/Palestine, ICCO, Netherlands
Marjorie Ross, representative of InterChurch Action, Canada
Kjell Jonasson, Middle East Secretary, Church of Sweden Aid (Svenska Kyrkan)
Uffe Gjerding, Desk Officer??, DanChurch Aid, Denmark
Sieglinde Weinbrenner, Desk Officer???, EZE??, Germany
Jorg Isert, Desk Officer Israel/Palestine???, Bread for the World (Brot fuer die welt), Germany.
Fr. Raed Awad Abusahlia
of the latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Personal Secretary of H.B. Patriarch Michel Sabbah
P.O.Box 14152 Jerusalem 97500
Tel. 00 972 2 6282323/6272280
Fax 00 972 2 6271652