Olive Branch
Issue No. 155
Saturday, 25 May 2002

Dear Friends, Brothers and Sisters,

Who told you that it is calm? No at all. While I am writing you tonight, I receive the news of a new invasion of Bethlehem area by the Israeli army. This is the seventh time that they enter since the beginning of the Intifada, and every time the leave behind them a big amount of destruction and human loss. They are doing this same thing every where day after day without interruption even if nobody is speaking about it, because simply the media want now more interesting stories to cover, there should be huge destruction and tens of deaths to be a good news! Every single village and town is still under closure and siege: we have visited yesterday a small village nearby Ramallah called Aboud, and we saw that the entrances all the villages we passed nearby were closed by dirt or cement blocks or simply digged, the main road linking these villages with Ramallah is reserved only for the settlers and all the Arab cars should do tens of kilometers or dirt mountain roads to move from village to another or to reach Ramallah. It is simply a collective punishment which lasts since more than 15 months, it is a real and pure Apartheid.. I donít have any other word to describe this phenomena.

Therefore, it is not strange to see what is happening in the other side with all these attacks inside Israel. I donít justify it at all, but they know very well that they cannot control the will or a whole nation, and even Shemon Peres said it yesterday in Tel Aviv University that the Israeli policy with Palestinians is producing the suicide bombers. Finally he said the truth at least this time because he was never sincere at all, and he is hiding the policies of Sharonís government and if he is to be honest he should have quit it soon with his labor party!

Today we attended to the ceremony of the power possession of the new Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem Bishop Gregorious Boutros Malki who replaced the bishop Boutros Abdel Ahad who became the Patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church. He is originally from Syria but was serving the Syrian community in Canada and was ordained the 5th of May in Lebanon and nominated for Jerusalem. He will be the head of this small Church which is not more than 500 people in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Amman. He has one assistant who is Fr. Elias Tabban the only priest ordained two years ago after his studies in our Seminary. We wish the new bishop all the best in his ministry in the Holy Land.
Fr. Raed Abusahlia
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
P.O.Box  14152 - Jerusalem 97500
E-mail address: latinpat@actcom.co.il
Personal e-mail: nonviolence@writeme.com
Patriarchate's Homepage: http://www.lpj.org
Personal Homepage: http://go.to/nonviolence
Fr. Labib's Homepage: http://www.al-bushra.org
My brother's Homepage: http://go.to/samipage