As Christians we glorify God unceasingly but especially on Sunday it’s typical to pray in Church. Sunday, Nov. 12th was not going to be a typical Sunday in Bethlehem anyway. By Maria C. Khoury, Ed.D. As Christians we glorify God unceasingly but especially on Sunday it’s typical to pray in Church. Sunday, Nov. 12th was not going to be a typical Sunday in Bethlehem anyway. The surrounding Beit Sahour and Beit Jala Christian communities have been devastated by nightly shootings, bombings and a total destruction of their homes which in this country is a complete loss of a life savings due to lack of house insurance. It was not going to be a typical Sunday because the Palestinian massacre continues with over 200 dead and more than 7000 severely injured. Our students in the Christian schools of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala have been traumatized by the brutal Israeli attacks. A great number of children have moved out of their homes because the missiles that American tax dollars send to Israel keep falling in their neighborhoods and terrorizing them. Our Beit Sahour 8th grade student George Hijazeen had his home totally destroyed by Israeli bombs as have hundreds of other Christians in the area. Our Beit Jala 8th grade student Jadallah Emil Khamamshta tried to escape the missile attacks by moving with his family to his uncle’s house. However, on Sunday as he was walking home after attending church services he was seriously injured when a missile suddenly exploded near St. Nicholas’ Church. He sustained head trauma as the shrapnel hit his head. Jadallah, in Arabic meaning, “as God gives” lies in the intensive care unit at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem after a major operation to save his life. His Uncle Sammy survived the missile attack and was also shot in the shoulder. Nine innocent civilians were reported wounded in this broad daylight attack after Sunday worship. The next day in school who will concentrate on math? English? Science? Certainly none of the children that were walking home after church and were lucky enough to survive the brutal and unnecessary explosion that took place near St. Nicholas Church. Certainly not the children that listened to the all night bombing in their neighborhoods that lasted until 3am. Did these children even sleep enough to concentrate on any lesson? They did not have electricity to do their homework or review any of their studies. Jadallah’s brother, sixth grader Jimmy says that these bombings are not fair and he is so scared that the Israelis “just want to kill us all.” He also said that he can’t concentrate on what the teacher says in class. Many children report that they are scared from the night because of the bombings and shelling of homes and they are scared from the day because of the killings of innocent civilians. On October 12th, Jadallah wrote in his English classroom journal: “I feel so angry. The bullets hit the yard and the balcony of our house. The tanks on the mountain surrounded Bethlehem area. The settlers attacked the Palestinian villages and the houses and burn the houses. The helicopters shelled the houses with rockets. This is a catastrophe to Palestinians. I feel angry, I can’t sleep or study. All the time I think a missile or a bullet will kill me.” And, he is blessed to have survived. Jadallah’s English teacher, Ms Sana Abu Amsha, confirmed that it was not a typical Sunday. She attended Church services in Bethlehem and as she left the church with her children she saw the Beit Jala bombings and houses burning in the explosion. She got stuck not being able to return to her home until 5 p.m. However, she was one of the lucky ones because she did have a home to return too. But not true for her uncle Mr. Nasri Jarayseh, a devout Christian who had his Beit Sahour home burned completely. The Israeli soldiers prevented the fire engine from reaching the home to extinguish the fire. One fireman was shot in the leg and the other injured. The very beautiful villa and clinic of a prominent Christian Gynecologist was also destroyed. During the week we saw the tragic death of a well-known German physiotherapist Dr. Harry Fisher. It really was not a typical Sunday in the Holy Land, the peaceful Sunday that we yearn to have as a day of worship. The American government can stop the Israelis from carrying out these atrocities. Please contact your senators and representatives to stop these crimes against humanity. This sacred land where our Lord and Savior established our Christian roots deserves peace and a Christian presence. Editor’s Note: Dr. Maria C. Khoury, a Greek-American lives in Taybeh, the only all-Christian village remaining in the Holy Land. She works in teacher training for the Latin Patriachate Schools, Jerusalem.
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