Today has seen an escalation of violence in the Bethlehem region.
a couple hours of quiet, heavy shooting began as the Israeli tanks again
moved towards the Cinema region of Bethlehem (beginning of Paul VI Street)
around 1 pm. The tanks seem to be driving around as if they are playing chess,
although I'm not sure anyone has a game plan.
Now, in the last 45 minutes, the HOSPITAL in Beit Jala, the main
hospital for the area, has come under attack 4 times. About an hour ago, a man was
killed INSIDE the hospital when it came under fire. Just now, an anesthesiology
technician has been wounded. The director has reported major damage to
the building and that tanks are at the entrance. This is not the first time
shots have been directed there. Yesterday, when the director was being
interviewed on television, a window behind him shattered from gunfire as he spoke.
And early this morning doctors reported looking out the window and seeing a
tank drive into the opening of the complex.
About an hour ago for the first time, a shell or missile landed in or
near Manger Square according to residents nearby. Beit Sahour has also now
come under shelling. And as I'm writing this, heavy shelling has just hit the
area somewhere near the Wi'am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center and is
continuing. Bethlehem University has been suspended until further
notice, as have all the schools in the area.
Israel seems to be upset that Palestinians are shooting at their tanks
and soldiers. Which, I have to admit, at this point, I find absurd. Not
only are their soldiers continuing to occupy Palestinian land in general, but
they are currently in the process of re-invading Palestinian-controlled areas,
firing tank shells and missiles into towns and villages, terrorizing everyone.
What do they think Palestinians are going to do? Serve them tea and
Sharon evidently stated this afternoon that they'll leave the
Palestinian cities when the 'terror' is stopped. And, exactly how does he expect
that to happen while Israel is terrorizing with machine guns, tanks and
helicopters over 70% of the population?
I'm sorry if this sounds a bit hard-edged and not particularly
rationale, but what is happening right now is pure insanity.
For the love of God and humanity, we'd better find a way to stop this
Rev. Sandra Olewine
United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem