Yesterday I saw my house from a new perspective, the ceiling seemed so big and the floor so cold… I have to raise my hat to the power of them flying machines, those series of 15’s and 16’s do scare you of the sound they generate well before they start spitting to their guts. Four, of what experts call intelligent rockets hit our vicinity, the presidential neighborhood in Bethlehem
Yesterday I saw my house from a new perspective, the ceiling seemed so big and the floor so cold… I have to raise my hat to the power of Israeli flying machines – the fear grows in your stomach long before the helicopters and fighter jets actually reach you, since you can hear them long before they start firing on you. Four “intelligent rockets” hit our vicinity, the presidential neighborhood in Bethlehem. What an experience. You feel yourself as a sitting duck … no quacks, or the hunters will find you. Everything around you is vibrating to odd and profound rhythms. Actually, they were not rhythmic at all, but we did have to dance, moving form one corner to other holding hands and praying. The kids, Nadeem and Kameel, were sound asleep. Maybe children’s ears are not sensitive to such sounds. Maybe the angels were whispering in their ears. I know that many children in my neighborhood lie sleepless in their beds at night.
The last time the IDF forces invaded Bethlehem, I was in the United States for the HCEF conference. Then, I experienced how, in America, occupation as a concept does not exist. There were reports in the newspapers, but no sense of urgency. There was certainly no sense of the feelings I am writing to you about in any of the reports I saw on television or in American newspapers and magazines. Now I am here and am sharing a bit of what my family had to go through back in October. How I wish I could spare them all of this uncertainty and violence.
However, confused, restless, and in pain … with a strong sense of the anger and hatred surrounding us, last night we prayed. We asked forgiveness for our trespasses and forgivness for those who trespass against us. God is the judge as well as the companionate. In love we hope to see this situation resolving. In justice we hope to see all receiving their rights. And in God we put our faith.
I hope tonight is calm night for all the inhabitants of this area and this world.
On the fourth day of shelling …. Moshe said to me, “Duck!” This time it was early in the morning when I heard the first one. I thought I was dreaming, but shortly, the second one hit. It was a confirmation of the sad reality. We are “in action” once again. This time Nahida and the kids woke up. Kameel, even through he does not talk yet, was mumbling many words in anger. Even Kameel, the one year old, finds it crazy. Sharon, the king, in his raging, said all the children to slay…. He announced that “I will keep hitting till the Palestinian people come begging ON THEIR KNEES for mercy…..” Well, we only kneel when we receive communion, as a sign of emancipation, not slavery and fear…
On the positive side of things, we woke up early today, had coffee and went on, each to his and her daily chores. Yet 35 families in the vicinity of a two kilometer diameter had other things to do — broken glass, broken doors, burnt up houses, burnt up cars. Those who slept away from their homes yesterday (out of fear of the violence), came to inspect the damages at 6 AM. Adv. Antony Salman, Khader Kanawati, Joseph Elias, Teodore Giacaman, Georgette Bandak, Violette Smere, Dr. Elias Salssa, Fadi Fadoul, Roland Fadoul, Issa Nassar, Bashir Sakaan, Elias Ghattas, Michel Sleibi, the Freres School, the White Nuns Sisters, Jack Elias …. all my neighbors … my school, Nadeem’s Kindergarten, our small church, all in shock and dismay. The worst part is that no one knows how long it will last.
Pray to the lord that this will not last long ….and till then, bless ya all.
As of 5:30 this morning, Bethlehem is surrounded with tanks, bulldozers and
army carriers from the east west, north and south. The Israeli occupation
army went into the refugee camps of Dheisheh and Aida, and they have announced a
curfew in Beit Jala,a Christian town to the west of Bethlehem. Its 11,700
inhabitants are bound to their living rooms until further notice! I am in Beit Sahour now. Things are quiet here, but nobody knows what could happened next.
George Ghattas is the chairman of HCEFâ€™s Holy Land Coordinating Committee. He is the Head of Program Development for the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, and he lives with his wife and two children in Bethlehem. He has written the following four reflections in an attempt to describe his familyâ€™s perspective on the last several days of violence in Bethlehem.