send you my best wishes on this Holy Day of the Great Martyr Saint George, our Patron Saint in the village of Taybeh where according to the Julian calendar we will celebrate in thirteen more days at our most precious 4th century ruins of St. George where the first church in our village was built by Saint Constantine and Helen
I send you my best wishes on this Holy Day of the Great Martyr Saint George, our Patron Saint in the village of Taybeh where according to the Julian calendar we will celebrate in thirteen more days at our most precious 4th century ruins of St. George where the first church in our village was built by Saint Constantine and Helen.
We are experiencing the worst of times especially since the new illegal settlement of Amon started to go up last year right across my kitchen window. According to President Bush he sees nothing wrong with the unlawful taking of Taybeh land to build another illegal settlement that will have running water seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day while Taybeh will be shut off from running water at least four days if not five out of the week. As it stands, the illegal settlement of Rimmonim was build on Taybeh land and one of the largest settlements in the West Bank named “Ofra” the Hebrew name for Biblical Ephraim encloses our little village to the point where we might eventually disappear. Right now, more people from Taybeh live in Detroit, Michigan than Taybeh itself. We are 1300 residents in the only all-Christian village left in Palestine.
Yesterday, the children from the Orthodox School in Taybeh for the first and only time in four years had scheduled a trip to go to Jericho, a very basic ten-minute ride. The school bus sat at the checkpoint for over three hours that many of the little children just got off the bus and began to walk home because what was suppose to be a pleasant little picnic turned into a nightmare at the checkpoint just staring at soldiers, jeeps, tanks and cars on all four sides of the crossroad not being able to even get out of the village.
Life for Palestinians is made miserable each and ev ery day with checkpoints that mean hours of waiting to go and come back from work for the very few who actually work since we have over 60% unemployment. These illegal settlements continue to steal more and more land from the Palestinian villages and continue to control all of the natural resources. What type of State will Palestinians have when the settlers have control of all the roads, the airspace and the natural resources in the West Bank. What type of pseudo state is President Bush supporting? It’s like a big joke for us living on the ground experiencing the injustices to hear that settlements can stay.
What type of a just peace is it for people that have been uprooted from their land since l948 and now the new Apartheid Wall is depriving Palestinians from farming their land and interfering with their basic livelihood. The checkpoints were already our psychological prison, now the Apartheid Wall is a very evident and physical prison.
I am watching the settlement in front of me grow day by day and I actually cry because American tax dollars are helping this settlement go up. But when our local church asks for funds to help Palestinian Christians build homes many organizations whether they are Christian or not say they cannot help any exclusive religious group yet the American government has been helping put up illegal Israeli settlements since l967 and they are exclusively Jewish. It is very clear that USAid cannot be used for Christian housing but it has been used for Jewish housing for thirty-five years. Why are newspapers editors angry when I write this sentence? It’s the truth!
Occupation of Palestinian land means that the Israeli settlements have beautiful green grass and swimming pools for Jewish children to play in beautiful parks with swings and slides while the Palestinian children are deprived to even leave their village and see the next Palestinian village minutes away. They are prisoners in an open space with their childhood stolen from them and furthermore the world asks them not to become suicide bombers. We are against suicide bombers but the Israeli policies are encouraging them.
The international community should first give back to Palestinian children their childhood, their land, their basic human rights, their rights to education and these same children will have no reason to become suicide bombers. However, when the Israeli army continues to kill people every day and demolish homes and confiscated farm land for the Apartheid Wall, what exactly do these Palestinian children have to live for? Their brothers, cousins, fathers have been killed by the army. The international community approves of Ariel Sharon assassinating political leaders any time like the recent unlawful killing of Dr. Rantisi and these children are being asked not to use their bodies as weapons. They view their body as the only weapon that they have because Israel has the apache helicopters, the tanks, the bulldozers, the guns, all of the heavy military equipment for war.
If Israel truly wants security, they should get out of the West Bank and
Gaza and secure there 1967 boarders. Instead the army killed 9 children and left one brain damaged in Beit Hanoun (Gaza on 21 April). Twenty-five Israeli tanks backed by Apache helicopters, bulldozers started demolishing homes and uprooting trees. What were the children suppose to do welcome them with smiles for attacking their land and destroying their property. The children threw stones on the troops. Did you hear that a total 20 Palestinians were killed this week?
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shall thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shall be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thy heart.” (Psalm 37)
Truly the Lord is Risen!