The following is a reflection from World Vision Jerusalem's Director Tom
Getman.  He was in Washington DC last week having hernia surgery as well as
informing people about the situation, but just returned to Jerusalem and
writes another of his awesome reflections.  This is not only a very
insightful, thoughtprovoking and fact-filled reflection, but it comes from
one of the world's most highly respected humanitarian organizations.  The
World Vision office has done amazing things in the Holy Land (and in the
Middle East in general) and have been a great unifying force between people
of all faiths.  They are a good organization to support, if not financially,
then definitely with prayer.

Thanks -
Silvija Klavins-Barshney
Center for Middle Eastern Studies
North Park University
3225 W. Foster Ave., Box 52
Chicago, Illinois 60625
773-244-5786; 773-478-0132
fax 773-583-0858

-----Original Message-----

                         Reflection # 51
                      November  3, 2000

Dear Family and Friends:

Being away from the tragedy of the not so holy land the past two weeks has
been one of the hardest things Karen and I have spite of the
sense that we were able to play a small role in helping UN, NGO
colleagues, and news media people to understand more fully what is happening "on the
ground".  It has been difficult to be away not only because Karen and I
left family and close friends and fellow humanitarian workers in the
line of fire but because one feels an insatiable desire to try to find a
metaphor, experience or key piece of information that would help to
explain this awful explosion of disproportional use of massive force and alert
the world to the fact that it is basically against a defenseless civilian
population.   Looking at and feeling the wounds in my abdomen from
hernia surgery have been of course a pale reminder of the crippling wounds
suffered by now over 6000 people and by the economy and infrastructure
of the aspiring Palestinian state....but it has served to keep me mindful
of the unimaginable level of suffering being imposed by the Israeli
Even the American press is beginning to report this as cavalier and in
violation of international law.

Coming back this past Sunday has even been more painful than we
anticipated.  As I have been trying to put the finishing touches on this
reflection full scale bombarding of the villages of El Khader and Beit
Jala, and the Aida refugee camp,  near Bethlehem began, with Israeli
ground forces moving on civilian areas.   We have wonderful staff people and
projects directly in harm's way.  Then a Peres/Arafat negotiated truce
was declared, followed closely by another deadly car bomb in Jerusalem. We
are used to a regular level of conflict but the extraordinary level of
violence being directed at innocent people is so sickening that we are frankly
besides ourselves with rage and frustration.   Why does the primary
supporter for the third largest military power in the world allow
indiscriminate horrific use of destructive force! knowing there will be
inevitable response?


As of October 31, at least 150 Palestinians and Arab Israelis are
dead...out of a population of 3,200,000.  Fourteen Israelis have died in
the violence as well. If we described the Palestinian number in terms
relative to our own country their deaths are comparable to 13,500 dead
in the last month if roving bands of police, soldiers or settlers targeted
the same percentage of the population in the USA.   The over 6,000 injured,
many crippled for life, are comparable to 540,000.  Imagine how the
strain on medical services has pushed the health facilities to the breaking
And no matter what the public relations machine of the Israeli
government reports about "assisting in the humanitarian effort" emergency
deliveries have been blocked and even threatened with destruction by booby
traps...again in violation of International Humanitarian Law and the
Geneva Conventions, to which Israel is a signatory.  A truck convey of relief
supplies in partnership with the UN that we have tried for 3 weeks to
get into desperate Gaza has been turned back four times at the checkpoint.
The trauma being let loose only lays the basis for more violence in the

How can compassion and mercy be found in the midst of this horror?

One way is to share concern about what the future is bringing for those
engaged in the violence from both sides.   After the tragic deaths of 12
year old Mohammed al Durra in Gaza and then the two undercover Israeli
soldiers in the Ramallah police station,  I went to our Jewish neighbors
toexpress sorrow for what was happening to Israelis.  I expected to be
criticized for speaking up for the oppressed Palestinians.  Instead with
urgency they expressed their heartache for the awful trauma that both
thePalestinian youngsters in Ramallah who killed the soldiers and the
Israeli soldiers who are targeting children are going to face having so much
blood on their hands.  They asked, "how will our young people be able to sleep
peacefully for the rest of their lives?".

At the same time a long time peace activist friend of our manager in
Gaza shared with sorrow that his 11 year old son had come to him the night
before to say, "Father please sell our TV and frig so that you can buy a
gun-machine to protect me from Israelis".

                    "SEPARATION PLAN"

Palestinian and Israeli analysts alike are wondering if there is not
something else going on to rationalize the siege and destruction of
civilian Palestinian centers...and to inspire the brutal push to target
the most defenseless.  With the long range cost to the national psyche and
threat to relations with the West, particularly the enabler USA, these
tactics seem particularly foolish for Israel.   It is being suggested by
several journalists that a purposed ethnic cleansing is the last gasping
effort of a dying Zionist vision in order to sign a death warrant to a
parallel viable Palestinian state.   The double tragedy here not only
undermines Israeli core values but it lays the  base for its own
One of the strangest phenomena is that American Zionist Christians are
pledging support to this anti-biblical effort...even to the point of
signing full page ads in the New York Times and pledging over
$10,000,000 to support the State of Israel "in its time of need"!   It may be time
for Christians who support the State of Israel to recognize they may be
taking "the blood of the martyrs on their own hands".

The judgment of many is this is the final push to completely dominate,
subjugate or expel the Palestinian population.  Ironically the recent
heavy bombardments seem focused on the Christian population which  has its
roots back to the time of Pentecost, although the real reason is because of
the gunfire directed at nearby Gilo and "Har Homa" settlements from these
neighborhoods.  Beit Sahur and Beit Jala have been particularly hard hit
by tank and helicopter missiles for the last several weeks.   The siege has
also targeted Ramallah which has become the economic and business center
of Palestine.  These areas are where the largest middle class and educated
populations of Palestine reside who have the strongest connections to
the West and are being targeted to encourage further diaspora.  These towns
are also where many American expatriates or dual passport holders reside.
The not so secret plan appears to choke off any viable future for the
Palestinians with or without a state.

This crisis is rooted in the 33 year occupation and the disappointing 7
year Oslo process but was fanned to flame with Ariel Sharon's
provocation on the Haram al Sharif.  It has been now over a month since bread winners
have been able to go to work, with an estimated loss by the UN to the
Palestinian economy of $295 million.  Also because of the road blocks to
humanitarian food and medical deliveries including booby trapped
barricades on roads to our project villages thousands of people are reaching the
point of desperation.   One sympathetic Israeli journalist made the point well
by observing, "what a shame that cutting off electricity and starving a
population doesn't photograph well.  It is not a question of humanity,
but of television aesthetics".

In the final analysis, the real violence here is because of the
occupation and a desperate Palestinian population's desire to throw it off by any
means...sadly including with what little force they have, even if at a
great cost.  Many patriots in the past history including Americans and
Israelis have come to this very same juncture because they  desired
freedom from  colonial powers.  Oslo did not work but rather deepened the
Settlements in the West Bank and Gaza did not become bargaining chips or
security buffers but rather red flags and objects of frustration for the
increasingly dispossessed.  Justice and the world moral order require
that people of compassion recognize the real root of conflict and do their
part to correct the record and cry out for resolution....for the sake of the
crying children!

For his part David Grossman, author of Yellow Wind, summarized the
situation this week by saying:

     It is hard to imagine that many people in Israel today are prepared
to listen to what the Palestinians  have to say, especially when they accompany they words with brutal
acts of terror, menacing behavior and bloodcurdling threats.  And yet those who truly seek a solution
must listen.

     Anyone who talks today to Palestinians in key positions is forced
to admit that much of what they say is true.  A glance at the Palestinian map which was supposed to
have been made permanent by the Oslo Accords, the sense of humiliation that it would have
engendered in every Paleestinian heart , the realization that after the bloody battles, the Palestinians would
have ended up not with a real state, but only a few blots of land, ringed and bisected by the presence
of the Israeli occupier -- all these truths and many more have created a situation in which Israel must
resort to the most convolute logic (not to mention moral acrobatics) in order to defend itself.

                    WHAT YOU CAN DO

Please do you what you can with your contacts to  counter the massive
propaganda campaign that is rolling unobstructed through Congress and
less discerning or poorly informed church communities.   Join us in prayer
too for the Spirit of God to give courage and grace to the knowledgeable
Jewish community, illustrated by those who write in the attached articles.   \
It is increasingly clear they must bear the largest responsibility in alerting
the world to what is occurring in their beloved and morally threatened

Also if your company, church, synagogue or community group would
consider a donation to our mounting emergency effort (now costing nearly $200,000)
please let me know and I will forward to you details of how to be
involved with cash gifts or intervention teams (eg: trauma counselors).  You can
also send contributions to the World Vision International address below.
As you can guess we are stretched to the breaking point in our relief
and operational activities.

As well the considerable loss to the economic stability of the
Palestinian community is increasing daily.  We have had requests from the Atfaluna
School for the Deaf in Gaza, some of the women's embroidery  groups in
the West Bank and Beit Sahour olivewood carvers for help  regarding sales of
their crafts in Christmas Fairs or other Relief Sales.  These groups
have the capacity to mail a package directly to you which could reach you
within two weeks.  If you are interested in this sort of solidarity effort,
please contact <>.  Karen will help to connect you directly to
the craft producers or assist by selecting a dollar amount of inventory for
you to give or sell in your local area.  One irony related to this is if the
items are mailed from Israel, they are duty free because of the "special
relationship" between Israel and the US.

Thanks for your continuing concern and action...and to those of you who
have already responded!

Desperate for real peace,

Tom Getman
World Vision
Box 51399
East Jerusalem, Palestine
via Israel

972-2-628-1793  (office)
972-2-626-4260  (fax)

For the "Jerusalem Emergency Fund"
% Jim Canning
World Vision International
800 West Chestnut Ave.
Monrovia, CA  91016-3198