Bishop Younan called at 7:30 a.m. EST today to report that the ELCJ’s Dar al-Kalima school near Bethlehem was occupied by the Israeli military at approximately 7:00 a.m. EST. It is believed that three tanks are in the school compound and that the facility has been severely damaged. Details are difficult to confirm, of course, because no one is allowed to approach the area

Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs Washington, DC

March 9, 2002

Dear colleagues:

Bishop Younan called at 7:30 a.m. EST today to report that the ELCJ’s Dar al-Kalima school near Bethlehem was occupied by the Israeli military at approximately 7:00 a.m. EST.  It is believed that three tanks are in the school compound and that the facility has been severely damaged.  Details are difficult to confirm, of course, because no one is allowed to approach the area.

Former ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the school in January 1998.  The school receives substantial support from Wheatridge Ministries.

The following description of the school is from the Web site of The International Center of Bethlehem:

“The first of its kind, the Dar al-Kalima Model School of Bethlehem, is an initiative of the International Center of Bethlehem’s Dar al-Kalima Academy, which is an integral part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Through its innovative programs, the Dar al- Kalima Model School is preparing its students to face the challenges of the 21st century. The Model school offers its students modern spacious facilities, which gives them more room to move and grow. The teachers at the Dar al-Kalima Model School, the number of whom is 21 full-time teachers and 7 part-time teachers, implement the concept of holistic learning, where students are introduced to self-based learning that enables them to discover their creativity, potentials, talents, abilities and interests. Accordingly, the Model School, which is coeducational from the kindergarten until the 10th grade and has an enrollment this year of 237 students, aims to provide a new and innovative educational system that will develop the individual holistically.”

For more background information, go to:    http://www.annadwa.org/

ACTION NEEDED:  Your intervention is urgent.  I encourage you to call (or send an e-mail) and leave a message at the Israeli consulate nearest you stating your concern about the escalation of violence and the Israeli military occupation — once again — of a humanitarian institution.
Israel has consulates in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New England(Boston), New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

For contact information for Israeli consulates in the USA:
http://www.israelemb.org/sanfran/AboutUs/usconsulates.htm

Bishop Younan calls on international partners to contact their governments to put pressure on the Israeli military to leave this educational and cultural center.

Contact Secretary of State Colin Powell by e-mail at Secretary@state.gov
or by fax at 202-261-8577.  The mailing address is:  U.S. Department of
State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520.

Contact your Member of Congress via the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or go to http://thomas.loc.gov/home/legbranch/legbranch.html for e-mail and other contact information.  The mailing addresses are:  U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510 and the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.

Mark B. Brown