“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

This Week in the Holy Land

As I was worried about Palestinian education sitting in my Ramallah office on Thursday, October 25th, a bloodbath was taking place twenty minutes away from me. An outright massacre was happening under the orders of Sharon and his army in the village of Beit Rima near Ramallah where they stormed the area with tanks, armored jeeps and heavy military equipment killing ten Palestinians one after the other. The army made an announcement that they only wanted one person in suspicion of the assassination of the Israeli tourist minister but killed all the others in the process and severely injured dozens including women and children. The wounded were lying under olive trees all day because the ambulances were prevented from getting through to the village.

As I was worried about Palestinian education sitting in my Ramallah office on Thursday, October 25th, a bloodbath was taking place twenty minutes away from me. An outright massacre was happening under the orders of Sharon and his army in the village of Beit Rima near Ramallah where they stormed the area with tanks, armored jeeps and heavy military equipment killing ten Palestinians one after the other. The army made an announcement that they only wanted one person in suspicion of the assassination of the Israeli tourist minister but killed all the others in the process and severely injured dozens including women and children. The wounded were lying under olive trees all day because the ambulances were prevented from getting through to the village.

So I thought to myself does it really matter that 115 schools were closed this week in the Holy Land if we can’t even keep the students alive to attend them. Sixty kindergarten centers did not operate in the Bethlehem area this week because the Israeli tanks are destroying this historic city. Does it really matter 120 schools have had a direct missile hit during this Palestinian Uprising just like the one that killed the little girl sitting in her classroom in the Jenin School. Do the human rights organizations know that 50,000 students could not get to school this week in the Holy Land? At least four schools have been occupied by Israeli soldiers and turned into military camps. These statistics are from the Palestinian ministry of education whom also reports the Industrial School in Tulkarim was bulldozed by the Israeli army. Does it make sense to worry about the rights of children and protecting the educational process when the Israelis are just slaughtering Palestinians left and right? This bloodshed is all courtesy of American money and weapons. Does anyone else think that “military occupation is terrorism of the worst type” or I am just losing my senses living in the middle of Biblical Judea and Samaria becoming an extinct living stone.

In the beginning of the Intifada last year, I had to make my opinion a little general so that Muslim and Christian groups can share our Holy Land tragedy. I had to make my opinion a little more specific so Christian organizations can print our daily suffering. I had to make my opinion include teachers and students because I work for the Latin Patriarchate Schools. I had to make my opinion include the affects on the Greek community so the Orthodox could take an interest and bring awareness to this horrible Israeli occupation. Does it really matter anymore whether one is Muslim, Christian or Jew? The respect for human life should be the same. For the love of humanity can readers across the world contact their government officials to help stop these senseless killings? For the sacredness of this Holy Land can the world community please take notice and stop this Israeli aggression.

The sound of bombs all night long in the land where the Prince of Peace was born and died on the cross for our sins seems an irony to the sacredness of this special place. In a land of violence, terror, fear, bloodshed and the daily unknowing, I find it unbearable to be a shinning light for Christ. I have come to the point where I wish to just go to my creator and if He is indeed a God of love to take me away without suffering and pain. I pray for a peaceful passing. Thousands of people that have not died are left behind paralyzed, children without one eye, children without one hand, children without one leg, children badly wounded. And the children that do not have the physical wounds to show have the worst wounds of all. The psychological trauma and the psychological effects that will last a life time. The scars of the heart and soul that affect how you perceive life and people. Furthermore, you have the mothers left behind mourning their dead children.

I actually don’t blame my boss for not believing in English Language Development in the Christian Schools because when I called to speak with one of my teachers today, Ms. Sana Abu Amsha from Beit Jala, we really could not talk about the speech festival, spelling competition and writing contest or any new strategies for the classroom because she just kept saying: “Now…now…they are shooting outside ..right now.” Actually the more we talked, the more I got chills all over my body. She has been stuck inside the house with her three children the last week because it is safer not to go anywhere. “I don’t let them go out…I feel someone will kill them,” confesses Sana. By the way, not stuck inside her own house but living with an aunt because her home was shelled by rockets so she had to escape at least to the other side of Beit Jala where there is electricity and water.

To keep the children busy she encourages them to draw instead of watching Television all day long. There is absolutely nothing to do. It is not as if the children can concentrate and study. She was surprised when her son Nicola (Nicholas) who is seven years old and a student at the Beit Jala Latin Patriarchate School drew a house with a tank right in front of it, two helicopters on top of the house and children hiding behind the chairs. She said: “My husband and I were upset. We don’t want our kids to be like this…when I told him to draw I imagined he will draw a house with flowers or a fish, something pleasant or something he use to draw before…really I was shocked.” And, Sana’s daughter Mariam (Mary) who is eleven years old just keeps wishing to go back to school. She misses her friends.

This wonderful and hardworking teacher is expecting her fourth child and the doctor told her to stay calm because she is at high risk to deliver the baby early from being terrified by this Israeli invasion into Beit Jala. She can not sleep at nights from the constant shooting. She is so worried she does not know exactly what happened to her house since she was not able to return and check it from the disaster in the streets. She left the day the Israeli tanks forced their way into Aida Camp and her street is so narrow that the tanks did not fit down the little road. Thus, they destroyed the walls of many houses and damaged everything in site as fire broke out from the telephone lines. Many people are still without electricity and water. Still you can feel Sana’s faith. She kept telling me: Thanks to God for everything but I don’t know what will happen to my house until now…the Israelis destroyed Bethlehem…the hotels, the houses…the streets…Sharon likes blood and killing. I remember Sabra and Shatilla (Sept 16, 1982 massacre of Palestinians in refugee camps in Lebanon under Sharon’s orders)…I was just fifteen years old. I remember those days…our life now is like you are watching a film and you are in it. Thank God we left home and we escaped.”

As I hung up the phone with a heavy heart I thought that the presence of tanks, armored jeeps and heavily armed soldiers can only have negative psychological affects on children. You face nothing but fear and more fear. Personally, my last dream was inside one of these tanks and the soldiers were giving me a lift through the checkpoint. The dream before that was that the Israeli soldiers shot me to death and I saw them throwing my body inside a huge big trash dumpster. The most frightening dream of all was when I saw our village on fire with a huge explosion and my two children were with me but I could not find my first born son Canaan (Old Testament name meaning the promise land, Palestine). What do you think children are dreaming of in the Holy Land this week? Please make a difference by contacting your government officials to stop Israeli destruction and aggression against Muslims and Christians in the Holy Land. Palestinian children should have a right to have pleasant dreams this week.

2016-10-24T07:35:36+00:00 October 29th, 2001|Categories: News|