As I write, at least 150 tanks are in Bethlehem. We are very concerned and afraid for the lives of friends and Christians in Bethlehem. I just heard a very sad incident that a mother and her son died and the other son said that for 27 hours the ambulance is not allowed to come to the house
As I write, at least 150 tanks are in Bethlehem. We are very concerned and afraid for the lives of friends and Christians in Bethlehem.
I just heard a very sad incident that a mother and her son died and the other son said that for 27 hours the ambulance is not allowed to come to the house. The Israeli government is calling the reserved as though they are entering a war against mostly people who are unarmed. This is pure madness and uncalled for. The suicide attacks are used as an excuse and is not the real issue. We are very sorry for the suicide attacks, but these are done by individuals (you may call them outlaws) who are brain washed and are not an act of the Palestinian Authority or Yaser Arafat. They and their supporters don’t make 2% of the whole population. In fact Mr. Arafat denied and condemned these attacks against innocent civilians. Even though they are doing this out of frustration, out of anger and despair because Israel would not stop killing their leaders, demolish their homes, confiscate their land, build illegal settlements but mostly denied them any freedom, yet their action is not something that most Palestinians approve of.
The real issue is the occupation. Israel is waging this war to put an end to any attempt of creating a Palestinian State. The occupation of Palestinian land had been going on for over 34 years. Israel is not willing to listen to the UN resolutions that call for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. Israel should divide the land and appease the native Palestinians. Mr. Sharon, who is a native of Russia, wanted to put the Palestinians in cages to control them. In 20 or less years the number of Palestinians will increase from the 3.5 millions to 5 millions and then Israel will have a bigger problem.
It is hard to understand the US policy in the Middle East. America that stands for peace and freedom for all is not willing to listen to the Palestinian cry for freedom.
Bethlehem is a holy city for all Christians all over the world. The army now invades it. This is the third time the tanks enter Bethlehem. This city that received the prince of peace is now seeking its own peace. Inside the Church of Nativity there are now 100 to 150 people including families and Palestinian security forces. I am reminded of the refuge cities mentioned in the Old Testament.
In the book of numbers 35:6 we read “Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone may flee.” See also Numbers 35 and Joshua 20.
The Church in Bethlehem is demanding that these people are under its roof and the church is a refuge for any one to come (but without any weapons) and the church is to protect them. Will Israel respect this? I pray so.
I am dreaming that next time Israel will enter Bethlehem it will be different. It will enter as good neighbor, helping people, create jobs and join hands in rebuilding rather than destroying and creating hatred. That Israelis will come, as tourists to visit the point were Christianity was started and enjoy shopping in Bethlehem. Israel can destroy and it is good in destroying, but it also can show good will.
In ZEC 4:6 we read: ” Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the
LORD Almighty. War is not an answer, there is an option and please pray that
Israel will take the option of peace.
As a Christian, I will not lose hope for better days and for this darkness in Bethlehem and other cities to be lifted up. My hope is in the Israeli people who are righteous and are raising their voices whether in Israel or outside. Their number is in the increase. May God have mercy and may we all be “peace makers”.
Keep praying and keep hoping
Bishara Awad President, Bethlehem Bible College