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

Israel Confiscating More Christian Land in the Shepherd’s Field (Beit Sahour)

As you are all well aware the political situation in Palestine is deteriorating rapidly, and the curfew imposed by the Israeli military has now entered its 5th week. Beit Sahour, the town of the Shepherds’ Fields, is just one of the Palestinian cities that is suffering from the increased brutality and disruption at the hands of the Israelis.

As you are all well aware the political situation in Palestine is deteriorating rapidly, and the curfew imposed by the Israeli military has now entered its 5th week. Beit Sahour, the town of the Shepherds’ Fields, is just one of the Palestinian cities that is suffering from the increased brutality and disruption at the hands of the Israelis.

Beit Sahour, with a Christian population of 80% from the 13,000 inhabitants, is facing yet more theft of our land by the Israeli forces that are illegally occupying our land.

In 1995 a large area of land was confiscated from citizens of Beit Sahour, many of who are Christians. Jabal Abu Ghnaime lies to the north of Beit Sahour. It was a beautiful mountain, covered with trees and full of nature. Families would spend their Sunday there, enjoying a picnic together, but no longer. The illegal settlement of Har Homa has since been established there and we are not allowed near. I remember very clearly how strongly and fiercely we protested against the confiscation. Owners of the land protested daily, holding sit ins to prevent the Israelis from taking their land, but in the end Israeli soldiers with their bulldozers took what was once ours using brutal force. They started to build their settlement. Now, instead of beautiful, green land, a huge, illegal Israeli settlement is being built and it looks directly on to Beit Sahour. It has been constructed on what was once a peaceful and tranquil place and transformed it in to an eyesore and a constant reminder of the threat from Israel against us and of their desire to take all of our land.

I feel very angry and frustrated every time I look from my house to the settlement, I feel furious that no one could help us prevent our land from being confiscated by the Israeli government.

Now I call on you all to take action and to stand with us to help us in preventing more theft of our lands.

Beit Sahour has received another court  order to confiscate land measuring about 50 dunams(1 dunam is 1000m2); land that belongs to about 20 Christian families. As always, they claim it is urgent to take these lands for the security of the illegal settlement of Har Homa. We have also learned that the illegal settlement will be inhabited within the next month and settlers will move into the new houses that overlook all of Beit Sahour.

Our main worry and concern is that in the future they will keep expanding for “security reasons” and they will force us from our homeland. It is very terrifying to live under a settlement like this. I know many Christian families who are saying “we have no future in this country,” and many are seeking to emigrate for the fear of the future of their children.

Situated next to the illegal settlement of Har Homa is the Greek Orthodox Housing project established in 1997. This project consists of 8 buildings each housing 8 apartments. These 64 apartments will give 64 young Greek Orthodox families a decent home. The location where the housing project has been established was also in danger of confiscation by the Israeli authorities but, because the land belongs to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch and was given to the community for the housing project, and because the project has now already started, we were able to save the land from the hands of Israel.

Eight buildings are already built, and 18 families have finished their apartment sufficiently to move in. They have managed to borrow electricity from nearby homes as no proper infrastructure has been established.

The project has no main electrical system yet and the main road that leads to the homes is in urgent need of repairs and full infrastructure needs to be set in place to serve the homes.

I would also like to give you a small brief about the economical situation in Beit Sahour. Most people think that the city of Beit Sahour is not suffering as much as other Palestinian cities and the refugee camps, but the reality is far worse than it may appear. The citizens of Beit Sahour are suffering in many different ways; most have no income to support their families with the basic living requirements.

All of the problems that our citizens face are directly related to the brutal siege imposed for the past 19 months, and with the absolute curfew which has been imposed for the last month. Most people have little or no work, therefore they have no income. With no income many families are experiencing severe financial hardship where many are unable to fulfill their financial obligations for their apartments. Before this crisis, the plan was for the families to move into their new apartments but this political turmoil has set us back at least 5 years in achieving our goal.

The new order of land confiscation refers to an area behind the housing project and we fear that we will eventually loose the project. When the settlers feel “threatened” by the Palestinians next to them and once they decide that they want these lands too for expansion, I know that no one can stop them, especially as the homes are not yet finished structurally and are not fully inhabited.

We are in urgent need of all Christians in the world to help our Christian community in Beit Sahour in implementing this vital project to its conclusion, and to ensure that the area remains a Christian community for our children to grow up in.

For how long will the Christian world stay silent? Until the Christian community here emigrates from the birthplace of Christianity in the Holy Land? We can’t sit with our hands tied and do nothing. Unfortunately, under these most difficult circumstances, the worst we have faced for many years, we are left with no choice but to seek help from the free Christian world.

I would like to extend my invitation to you to visit us here in Beit Sahour and to have the opportunity to introduce you to the situation we face and to see the housing project. I very much hope to further strengthen our cooperation and to look for ways to help the Christians of Beit Sahour to give them hope to believe in a good future in the Holy Land.

I am more that happy to provide with any more information you may require and I hope to receive you in the Shepherds’ town of Beit Sahour at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Suzan Sahori
HCEF Representative in Beit Sahour
Holy Land

 

 

 


 

 

2016-10-24T07:33:48+00:00 May 1st, 2002|Categories: News|