From Jerusalem/ Latin Patriarchate

Monday, 20 November 2000

Dear Friends,
I told you last time that it is very difficult to travel from a village to another, and I tell you today, that it is a real adventure to do that in this small county. Nevertheless, I was able to arrive to ABOUD, not because the roads are open, but because I had to do a long round and enter from inside Israel, because it is located near the Israeli borders. People were waiting and doubting if we will arrive. I just would like to tell you that our people are in a very bad situation in that village. Imagine that 300 olive trees were uprooted there, and farmers were not allowed to collect their olives from farms, which are nearby the Israeli settlements, and settlers took over these olive trees (read herewith details of such stories written by Uri Avenery in another village).
While I am writing you now this newsletter, I hear the news about the explosion in the bus this morning, but also the Israeli response by shelling many localities in Gaza. First of all, we are against any attack against civilians, and we understand the reaction of Israelis, but we have to go further and say that the cycle of violence will continue, because in this way, nobody will surrender. Therefore, we have to go to the core of the problem: occupation. If Israel ends the occupation tomorrow, everything will finish. Unfortunately this didn’t happen during years and years of negotiation, for this reason, we have to understand the lesson, that justice and only justice is the best response to the actual cycle of violence. We do pray and hope that this will happen as soon as possible. Because this is the only solution.
Today’s newsletter will be dedicated to some articles and analysis of the actual situation. The most important is that these are almost first hand documents written especially for our newsletter, and it gives a new vision of the events from a different point of view:
1)     Toine van Teeffelen sends us his weekly BETHLEHEM DIARY (5), in which he make a kind of narration about all what is happening in Bethlehem area in particular and in the whole country in general. This is a very valuable personal testimony that we appreciate very much, which was also used by many of you in their reports. We renew our thanks to Toine hoping that this will give you a clear and objective idea from a person who is working for peace.
2)     Dr. Maria Khoury is writing us about the “Shattered Dreams in Palestine”. She is very realistic and somehow pessimistic, but I would like to tell you that we still “hope against any despair”, and we are confident that our dreams, for sure, will become true.
3)     As I am very fond of the olive trees because I am a son of a farmer who adore his land, I found that the story of Mr. Uri Avnery about “Olives, Stones and Bullets”, He is telling us his adventure with the PEACE NOW in helping the villagers to collect their olives. We thank Mr Uri Avnery and all his courageous colleagues from the Israeli movements, because they are saving the moral face an image of their State, and we hope that their number will increase.
4)     Mr. Samir Hodaly “Abu Fouad” is working with us in the latin Patriarchate at the catechism department, he has also his contribution and reflection about “Equal Standards?” that we share with you. He is blaming the double standard policy of the USA as we all do, but still we hope that they will change this policy if they claim to be the honest brokers of the peace process, and would like really to serve Israel’s interests and their own interests in the world also?
      With my best wishes from Jerusalem, and an Olive Branch to each one of you.
                                                                                                   Fr. Raed Abusahlia

November 13-20, 2000
Toine van Teeffelen
 Monday afternoon I join a management meeting, which takes place at the Freres School. There is an electricity cut and the light falls out. For almost an hour we talk in the dark. The school presently lacks a generator. Parents are unable to pay fees and the administration is forced to save on equipment, among other things. Electricity cuts are quite frequent these days. It seems there are different reasons: a rocket may have hit the local supplier, or the electricity company has to conduct repair works due to damages. The cuts add to the regular collapse of daily life routines. Each time when computers or other essential machinery suddenly don’t work, people have to pause and think what to do next.

Traveling requires improvisation or may be impossible. I call Helen Shehadeh, a director of a school for the blind in Beit Jala. Herself blind, she is invited to go to Melbourne in Australia for an international conference of the World Blind Union. However, since Tel Aviv airport is presently closed for Palestinians from the occupied territories, she would have to go to the airport in Amman, a journey which due to local traveling problems is now too difficult for her. Many of her school children live in villages and are unable to attend school. Fortunately, she manages to reassure those children who are present. The school is located in the southern part of Beit Jala, a section that is not exposed to bombings.

The secretary at the Institute, Shireen, tells that her mother presently sleeps at a friend’s home in Beit Safafa, an Arab village which after the war of 1967 was included within the Jerusalem municipal boundaries. Usually her mother travels daily from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to go to her work as a cleaner at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. However, traveling to Jerusalem is barely possible these weeks. Shireen hopes that her mother can manage to come back for the weekend. Her family originally comes from Jerusalem. Her mother is formally registered as living in Jerusalem, and the family pays the “arnona”, the municipal tax. Residents of East-Jerusalem are eligible for social security and health allowances - an important asset in an area that lacks basic social services. However, her family (she, her mother, and an aunt who stays with them) cannot live in Jerusalem because the rents are too high. Shireen’s father, who died before she was born, was Armenian; her mother is Syriac – both parents likely descendants of people who came to the Holy Land for refuge. She would like to know more about her family history and is presently in search of good literature.

I myself encounter traveling problems when taking a taxi to Jerusalem. While the journey between Bethlehem and Jerusalem is normally some 7 km, the taxi takes a detour of probably some four times that distance, moving along rocky and unknown paths. Each time upon meeting another car, the driver asks “Is there army here?” He is quite nervous and wants to return, but the passengers – almost all elderly Moslem believers who wish to pray in Jerusalem – encourage and advise him. The extra pay helps, too. After arrival in Jerusalem I do an errand for the family, the buying of medicines in the Western part of the city. The Israeli pharmacist is very helpful and he takes time to call a Bethlehem doctor to check the prescription. It is good to feel that there are at least some friendly and helpful Israelis. Back in Bethlehem, I’ll meet my colleagues who have their own road stories to tell.
Ishmail Muqbal, a school principal, came that morning with ten students from Al-Arroub refugee camp near Hebron. Not all his students could come because last evening a youth was killed in a neighboring village, and the resulting tensions led some parents to keep their kids at home. The story itself is depressing, like almost all stories nowadays. Driving in his car, the youth, who wanted to enter the village, apparently became trapped between demonstrators and soldiers. He did not obey the soldiers’ command to get out of the car, and in reaction he was, it seems wantonly, shot in the head.

Ishmail presently works not in his own school, which is located in an Hebron area under continuous curfew, but in an United Nations school in a village outside Hebron. Although just a few kilometers far from home, it takes him more than 1,5 hour to travel. Without a car himself, he has to take collective taxis, which are not allowed to pass the several checkpoints on the way. He has to get out, show his UN pass to the soldiers and walk through the checkpoint to take another taxi a hundred meter further. Many of the camp inhabitants, especially builders who used to work in Israel, are presently unemployed. Ishmail estimates the unemployment rate in the camp at 30%. Those who still have work are primarily staff of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, the UN organization which works among Palestinian refugees. Many are teachers. They gather early in the morning near the camp’s entrance, uncertain whether they will reach their work in time or indeed whether they will reach it at all. As for his students, only 200 of his former 700 students can make it to the new school location. He tells that one of his students, eight years old, lost his way a few days ago. He unintentionally entered an Hebron area under curfew, and was forced by soldiers to lie down on the ground. He then was spat and kicked. Ishmail says that the journey back home is especially difficult for students and teachers. Usually tensions increase later on durng the day, and soldiers may announce the closure of an area. On Tuesday it happened that the tyres of about 30 taxis were shot near the camp’s entrance, and the car keys confiscated. Ishmail adds that the soldiers perhaps act out of a basic fear. In a similar story, told by my neighbour, it happened that an acquaintance of her, a truck driver, was stopped and, after not showing the right papers, was confronted with the choice to either drive his truck against a wall or to have all his tyres shot. Since his tyres were very expensive, he choose to drive against the wall and damage the truck’s foreside. After doing so, the soldiers shot his tyres.

Sawsan Hadweh, a computer teacher at Talitha Kumi in Beit Jala and Ph.D. holder in chemistry, was for some days unable to come at the Institute. She knew Dr Harry Fischer well, the German physiotherapist living in Beit Jala who was killed by a rocket on Wednesday night while trying to help and rescue a neighbour. She says that before leaving home, Dr Fischer told his Palestinian wife that he, as a German, would not run any risk when helping others. Sawsan tells that he was much loved within the community. She herself teaches his son and daughter, both peaceful and moderate youth. The doctor’s house has always been a place for hospitality, also during the Intifada of ten years ago when Beit Jala was, unlike now, a kind of “safe haven.”
During that same night of heavy shelling (till four o’clock in the morning), Sawsan’s house was damaged by a rocket which horizontally flew over the roof of the house breaking the solar heating and water tanks. It took her a day to collect the debris and find her concentration again. During the night she stays in bed with her mother, reading the Bible for her. Sawsan says that now over two hundred houses in Beit Jala are seriously damaged, a few of them completely destroyed. (Beit Sahour may count a similar number of damaged houses). The Millennium Hotel in Beit Jala has opened its doors for inhabitants who cannot or do not want to stay at home anymore.

The Dutch Representative Office for the Palestinian Territories who announce that they will organize their regular St Nicholas party in December calls me, I cannot withhold a laugh, but the spokeswoman explains that such a party would be very helpful for the children. I have to agree. Jara and I now sing St Nicholas songs every evening. Few means are so helpful for releasing tension as singing. All the time I wonder what Jara feels these days. There are so many parents who are worried about their children. At one point during the week, Israeli airplanes broke the sound barrier above Bethlehem and the loud bangs scared the kids. While we were playing, Jara too was scared. Should we go inside the house? I decided to continue playing, as if the noise was only a minor nuisance. On occasion Jara shows more “political” understanding than I thought was possible at her age (almost three). She likes to imitate and when listening to the BBC news, she takes her little chair and sit next to me, seriously watching the radio. I ask her: “Do you know Clinton?” “Yes.” “Do you know Arafat?” “Yes, and I also know Koffi Anan.” “Do you know Barak?” “No,” she says, “he is ‘mish mniih’ (not good).” Mary laughs. Somehow I have the feeling that Jara transfers the moral schemes she learns from fairy tales onto the reality around her.

On Saturday, Bethlehem is suddenly full of people who do shopping. It is a surprise to see them laughing and relaxing. Ramadan is coming soon. There is news that confrontations may subside, at least for the moment. Who doesn’t want that? But later on, there is news of an attack on an armed Israeli school bus in Gaza, with two passengers being killed. Will there be any let-up during the weeks leading to Christmas?

Shattered Dreams in Palestine

By Dr. Maria C. Khoury
Latin Patriarchate Schools

Many in the Palestinian Diaspora dream of possibly returning to their homeland and holding on to their roots of a strong Palestinian Christian identity. Few, however, can actually manage to make such dreams come true. A few families in the Ramallah area, thought to have the best of both worlds. To obtain education, knowledge and skills in the West and return after the Oslo Agreement to contribute to the growth of Palestine, make history, boost the economy with our investments and maintain our Palestinian values and traditions for our children. We were begging other rich expatriate Palestinians to do the same and head home to Palestine.

As Palestinian Americans are achieving cultural assimilation by knowing the English language, values, and other modes of cultural discourse that predominate the American society, they are becoming more and more acculturated. However, to be assimilated into the mainstream American culture does not necessarily mean you have to abandon your Palestinian heritage. You can cherish it and keep it on the priority list with all of the other American ideals. However, this becomes hard to do when you start to lose the Arabic language within the generations. Many experts say that language and culture are intertwined. Thus, to have a strong Palestinian cultural identity one should speak and write Arabic. So, the dream of returning home to Palestine develops.

In order to accomplish such a dream, you leave your middle class home and neighborhood in the West and return to your childhood memories of a beautiful Palestine. However, the Palestine you know and love has changed in reality. Palestine after the Oslo Agreement is not the same innocent virgin country you experienced as a ten-year-old.  The Palestine in your heart and soul that has made everlasting imprints in you spirit has been affected by the occupation, 1967 Invasion, settlements, closures and curfews, the Palestinian Uprising, the Palestinian Authority and the general multicultural habits that Palestinians brought with them as they returned to their beloved country with foreign spouses and inter-faith marriages from all over the world.

Palestinians returning from abroad felt they can deal with this multiculturalism that started to emerge in the Palestinian society because the most important thing was to allow their Palestinian identity pattern their thinking, feeling and behavior in obvious and subtle ways for themselves and their children. As long as the home and family were the most important element in life everything else will set in place. Thus far, the dream to preserve and pass on a strong Palestinian identity to your children is worthwhile because you believe these strong roots will give your child a great deal of strength to sustain ones self against the various pressures that occur in everyday life.

Most daily elements after the Oslo Agreement, although not perfect could be worth waiting far in the hopes of peace and prosperity in Palestine. Most positive and negative aspects of life in Palestine could be accepted in the name of establishing a strong Palestinian cultural identity with English and Arabic language skills that would make your child an active and powerful member of the new global economy. After so many years in the frozen peace process the possibility still existed that the sleeping giant of overseas Palestinian wealth and expertise can dream of coming home.

However, such dreams were shattered on September 28, 2000 when Israeli War criminal Ariel Sharon sparked a violence of the worst type. The atrocities and cold-blooded murders of Palestinians were not even immediately broadcasted to the world. This terrible massacre of Palestinian children and brutal bombings are yet another cruel act of the long Israeli occupation. It is unthinkable that in this new millennium military occupation should exist in our world. These terrible crimes against humanity must stop because our children deserve the same rights as all children of the world.

Our dreams of peace and prosperity might be momentarily shattered by this Israeli brutality but our hope and ultimate dream of a free and democratic Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital will reign forever in our hearts, until God, for the sake of our children, makes this dream come true.


Olives, Stones and Bullets

Uri Avnery 18.11.00

Suddenly I noticed that we were quite alone on the road. A wonderful road, six lanes wide, parts of it still in the building stage. Completely empty.

This is a bypass-bypass road, an invention of the occupation. First, they built the cross-Samaria road, from Kafr-Kassem to Ariel and beyond, so as to by-pass the Palestinian villages. But the Palestinian village of Bidia, which, on Saturdays, has become a shopping mall for Israelis, slowly crept up to the road. In anticipation of the next intifada, Benjamin Nethanyahu and Ehud Barak (each in his turn) decided on an even more sterile, bypass- the-bypass road. Again great stretches of Palestinian land were expropriated, again we demonstrated together with the Palestinian villagers (November '98), again we were tear-gassed (one does not shoot at Israelis), again to no avail.

But now the road is empty. Only from time to time we meet groups of cars. The settlers are driving in convoys for fear of stone- throwing children. But we were lucky. Here and there we saw stones lying around on the road, remnants of previous stone-showers, but we passed unmolested.

On the previous evening we received a SOS call from the villagers of Hares to please come there. This Palestinian village, near the big Ariel settlement, is cut off from the world. The army is blockading it, no one is allowed to enter or leave. The olives, the only product of the village, are going to rot on the trees, especially in the orchard bordering the Revava settlement. Anyone trying to harvest there is in mortal danger. A 14-year old boy was shot and killed there only three days ago, when he was alone in the orchard with his father. The villagers hope that the presence of Israelis will restrain the settlers and soldiers, allowing them harvest the olives on which their livelihood depends.

A woman from the village also called. She cried excitedly that at that moment the soldiers had opened fire on the village and on her. She begged us to come the next morning. Until darkness, she promised, there is generally no shooting.

Hares is situated on a hill, 100 meters away from the road, at a stretch where the bypass-bypass joins the bypass road. The stretch is an ideal place for throwing stones, and therefore the settlers are angry. We know the landscape well, because in March 1999 we helped a family in the next village, Kiffel-Hares, to build a house demolished by the army.

It was not easy for us to decide what to do. It was clear that this is a war zone. In order to get to the place, we had to risk being stoned or shot at by Palestinians, who would think that we are settlers. On the other hand, our presence would be like a red rag to the settlers. The army would consider us breakers of the occupation laws. All this in order to pick olives a few dozen yards from a settlement Gush Shalom activists who can come on a workday include youngsters in their teens and elderly people. Men and women. Was it responsible to advise them to enter a war-zone?

On the other hand, in these difficult days, in the middle of the Palestinian war of liberation, it is very important that the threads still connecting Israelis and Palestinians are not broken, as extremists on both sides would wish. It is also important to show the Palestinians that there are peace forces in Israel who want to display solidarity during their hardest hour.

These arguments won. It was decided to mobilize by phone the activists who were ready to leave their work on a working day and to take part in the action. Within two hours, 20 volunteered. And so, on Friday, we were on our way from Tel-Aviv in a minibus driven by an Arab-Israeli. From Jerusalem, another contingent, led by the "Rabbis for Human Rights" group, were also on their way.

We arrived at Hares without mishap. On the way we did not encounter any army checkpoint.  Even the checkpoint which was located for years on the green Line, near Kafr Kassem, had mysteriously disappeared.

We entered the village by foot, climbing the hill, crossing a field of desolation - old olive trees cut down, ancient terraces destroyed, apparently to enable the army to shoot without hindrance.

From the direction of the mosque we heard the Friday prayers as we crossed the quiet village by foot and left it by the western entrance, on the way to the plantations. There the army stopped us with armored jeeps and heavily armed soldiers. A tough major (or perhaps lieutenant-colonel, the bullet-proof vest made it difficult to be sure) quickly filled out a prepared form, signed in advance by the C/O Central Command for all occasions, declaring the Hares plantations a "closed military area". We were requested to leave.

We refused, of course. We pointed out that the settlers, who were shouting slogans and cursing us, were allowed to pass freely in their cars. Then a superior officer, a lieutenant -colonel or perhaps colonel (as above) appeared. We were told that he was the brigade commander.

We argued with him. He was a sympathetic, intelligent officer, with a sense of humor, one of those who are called "regular fellows", which made what he said sound even more objectionable. Why the discrimination between the settlers and the Palestinian villagers? Well, it's because the villagers throw stones. Why punish a whole village for the deeds of a minority? "I am not sure it's a minority." It was quite clear that his heart is with the settlers, whose life, as he said, "had become hell." For him, the Palestinians were enemies, no sentiments attached.

Why does he not permit us to harvest olives? "Because you came here to provoke the settlers”. We answered honestly that we had no such intention.

While this argument went on, our activists started to infiltrate into the plantations one by one. The brigade commander had to choose between several alternatives: he could   call for reinforcements to get us out by force, or he could allow us to harvest olives. Wisely, he chose the latter course.

The next six hours were an experience taken straight out of an old Zionist propaganda film. We picked olives, one by one, from the trees nearest the settlement. We used our hats as containers, until buckets were brought. We climbed trees in order to get at the higher branches. Hard work, but really enjoyable. On the hill, opposite us, at a distance of some fifty meters, a cluster of angry, bearded, scull-cap-wearing settlers had gathered, but soldiers prevented them from approaching us.

When the villagers saw us working, families of the tree-owners dared to come and harvest too. Friendships developed quickly. Everything was done at a hectic speed. The Palestinians knew that they could work there only as long as we were there. They chose work methods that were damaging to the trees, hitting the branches, gathering the olives on nylon sheets spread on the ground, in order to gather as many olives as possible in a few hours.

At 3 p.m., when we were about to finish, we received a call on the mobile phone. We were asked to come as quickly as possible to the other side of the village, where a confrontation was developing with the army. The villagers wanted to use the presence of Israelis (those who had come from Jerusalem) in order to remove the roadblock put up by the army to prevent them having contact with the neighboring village and the world at large. The Palestinians calculated that the army would not open fire in the presence of Israelis and foreign TV crews. Since the situation was deteriorating rapidly, we were asked to come and try to prevent a fatal clash.

We boarded the minibus and drove into the village. Along the main street, a lot of children were standing around. At some distance, children were playing (training?) throwing stones at each other. Some local youngsters volunteered to walk in front of our bus and tell the children that we were not settlers. Proceeding this way we were nearing the place of the clash when we were stopped by the village head and a very authoritative looking young man. The head said that the confrontation had ended and that he would show us the place. The young man said that the confrontation was still going on and that we should not go on any further. It was clear that he was the boss. He strongly suggested that we go by the way we had come. But first he gave as a short, passionate speech, in which he called Ehud Barak some highly uncomplimentary names from the animal kingdom.

The village head volunteered to show us the way, so that we could view the site of the clash from the army side, from the main road. But as we were leaving the village, we encountered an army jeep. A sergeant with Russian features stopped us with a movement of his hand generally reserved for Arabs. One of us asked him to be polite. He became very angry and told us that we could not leave the village. A blockade was in force; no one comes in, no one goes out. He doesn't give a damn whether we are Israelis or not. Orders are orders.

Only with great difficulty did we convince him to call his superior, who told him, of course, to let us pass. We reached the main road (the cross-Samaria) and had to drive behind a convoy of settlers, when suddenly we were hit by a shower of stones. At some distance we saw a group of small children. Fortunately, only the body of our bus was hit. At lightning speed police and army jeeps appeared on the scene and took up firing positions opposite the village. But the children had already disappeared.

In the meantime, we were told over the phone that the confrontation was really over, so we decided to make for home. On the way, the village head (a renovation contractor active in the Tel-Aviv area) alighted. We waited for a few minutes, to make sure that he got home safely. He started to climb the hill, but before he had gone no further than a few meters, soldiers ran after him, rifles ready to shoot. We got down from the bus and convinced the soldiers that the man was not a dangerous terrorist, but a villager who had been kind enough to show us the way. They let him return to his village. But in the meantime, police had stopped near our bus and made out a traffic-violation ticket, because it was standing on a part of the road where it was not allowed to stand. A stubborn young policewoman refused to yield, but we finally convinced the Druze policeman at the wheel to relent. After all, the bus had been standing there only because we were talking with the soldiers.

Over the phone we heard that two activists from the Jerusalem group had been arrested during the clash at the roadblock. (Neither of the two belonged to Peace Now, as was erroneously reported on the Israeli Channel 1. Peace Now had taken no part in the events of the day.)

This is how the reality of the occupation, November 2000, looks.

We returned home tired but content, as they say. The time was 4 p.m., the hour shooting usually starts.

For me it was a long day. An old friend of mine had invited me to a dinner-party in Caesarea. The elite of the elite was there, financiers, doctors, senior bureaucrats, media people and artists. Wonderful food, excellent wines. I had no strength left to get into arguments. So I just sat aside, looked and wondered about what was happening at the time in Hares, some light-years away.

At midnight, on the long way home, I heard on the news that a settler woman had been slightly wounded by stones near Hares village.

 Equal Standards?

Is the United States of America practicing equal standards in judging on events? I think no. We can notice this from the declarations done by the American politicians through the different kinds of media.

-         First of all, they describe the Intifada as an act of Violence, “an Israeli version”. The people that wants freedom, and used hundreds of peaceful means, at the end he uses the stone, “David against Goliath”, so that the whole world would hear their cry, their appeal for a just and insured bread and life. Houses have been demolished, bombed at, with American made missiles. So what kind of nation that supports killing of children and bombing houses on one side and on the other one asks the attacked people to stop “Violence”? I need an answer. The last alleged attack on Gilo settlement, south of Jerusalem, built on Palestinian lands, appeared to be occurred by a Jewish human mistake. It was described as an attack by Palestinians, and minutes after the alleged attack, Beit Jala town was attacked at, houses were destroyed, young children had to flee away, leaving their houses. Israel did not admit it, and did not apologize for this mistake. So what about USA? The USA should not be bios to anyone; it should be side by side with peace and justice for the oppressed.

-         How come that only the Jewish children have the right to live and have good education, whereas the Palestinian children should be deprived from every mean of decent education?  I like to ask Mr. Clinton to come and visit the country and see the destruction that was done, and cry, as he did when he visited Gaza, unless, during his visit, his tears were only vague! He should come and see the shocked children, those who live outside their destroyed homes and judge. Also I would invite his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, to see and then judge!

-         The USA demands that other governments who practice injustice against their people or against occupied people to practice justice and freedom, what about Israel? Unless Israel is not included in its list! Maybe because it is acting as this saying: “America don’t worry, Israel is behind you”. So when peoples ask for an international protection they should get it at once. Ex-Yugolsavia and the surrounded countries are no better than the Palestinians!

-         Did President Clinton get the real picture of the situation in the Holy Land? Does he watch television, especially the foreign media, and not only the CNN? So he should not judge? Palestinians are not using their helicopters or tanks to bomb Israel !!!

-         Many other inequalities are practiced against the Palestinians. The voice of the Israeli government is heard clearly whereas the Palestinian one is shut down. Why? Because they, the Palestinians, are considered as an undeserved people to live and have its own real land.

                                                                                                                            Abu Fouad



You will find hereby a letter in Italian; I received from an Italian Journalist who is telling me that the media in Italy is not any more interested about what is going in the Holy Land. But I wonder why all the TVs broadcasted today’s attack against the Israeli Bus in a full and direct coverage? Why they are not interested about all the daily aggression against the Palestinian people? I am now more convinced than anytime before that the media is controlled and looking for excitement and interesting stories more than the TRUTH…!!!!! If you have any other explanation or opinion, please let me know it.

Caro Don Raed,
leggo con apprensione i messaggi che mandi in rete, e prego per le vittime della guerra in corso in Terra Santa. Mi preme, pero', dirti che i mezzi d'informazioni occidentali, anche quelli italiani (compreso la tv dove lavoro), hanno oramai poco interesse per quanto sta avvenendo in Palestina. Le notizie di nuovi scontri e altri morti non interessa piu' molto giornali e giornalisti. Anche tu avrai notato che il numero dei corrispondenti stranieri, soprattutto italiani, da Gerusalemme e' calato rispetto  alle prime settimane di Intifada. Purtroppo.
Fr. Raed Awad Abusahlia
P.O.Box 14152  Jerusalem  91141
Tel.  00 972 2 6282323/6272280
Fax  00 972 2 6271652