Olive Branch - Issue No. 142 -
Thursday, 4 March 2002

Dear Friends, Brothers and Sisters,

I know very well that everybody is worried and concerned in what is going on in the Holy Land especially in Bethlehem and in particular inside the Nativity Church. This is true, because we are facing a really from the most armed army in the Middles East against civilians some of the armed with guns and with the will to win at the end their freedom and independence since they have the power of the truth not the power of weapons.

I will not give you more details because you will find it in all the media allover the world and in the following documents that I send you in this Olive Branch. We were very busy all these last days and still until this crisis pass through. But I was in particular working on the following case that AFP reported in these terms:

“Fear has gripped the West Bank town of Bethlehem after Palestinian witnesses said a mother and her son were shot dead when they refused to open their door to Israeli occupation troops. The bodies of shopkeepers Sumaya and Khaled Abda lay twisted and blood soaked Wednesday in a small shop on Fawagreh Street as a family member recounted the previous day's drama, when the army seized the town.

Soldiers first opened fire on upper floors of the Abda family home, forcing the couple to take refuge in the grocer's shop below. The soldiers knocked at the front door but 64-year-old Sumaya and Khaled, 37, refused to open up “because they were scared,” a son who escaped, Sami Yacoub Issa Abda, told reporters. Behind an iron door pierced by 18 bullet holes, the mother's body lay on the ground while Khaled's was on the edge of a bed, with his head dangling backwards. “They came at eight o'clock yesterday. They fired and fired, but why? This is a home, a home,” cried Sami”.

I was in direct contact yesterday until this morning at 2.30, because I wanted to insure that after the evacuation of the bodies of his mother and brother to the hospital by the Red Cross, I had to help him go out of the hell of his damaged house in which he lived for 30 hours with the dead parents and 11 members of his family… We didn’t ask the army to do miracles, we just wanted them to allow the ambulance of the Red Cross to transfer this family of Sami Abda from their damaged house to his brothers house in another part of the city in order to find a safe shelter and food… In fact, we only managed to obtain the permission at 2.30 a.m and he reached his bothers house at 4.00 a.m. This is one of the most dramatic stories what happened during the current invasion and we still have to discover other sad stories when they will leave the city when they finish their brutal job.

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
My brother's Homepage: http://go.to/samipage