Immediately after it was announced on our local T.V. station, Al-Mahed, that an Israeli solider had been shot by a Palestinian sniper in Manger Square Bethlehem on Feb. 11th , we heard the noise that had been almost forgotten by us, but not quite; it was the sound of tanks driving from the Israeli military camp in Beit Sahour to Bethlehem, announcing total curfew and that who ever comes out will be shot.
Immediately after it was announced on our local T.V. station, Al-Mahed, that an Israeli solider had been shot by a Palestinian sniper in Manger Square Bethlehem on Feb. 11th , we heard the noise that had been almost forgotten by us, but not quite; it was the sound of tanks driving from the Israeli military camp in Beit Sahour to Bethlehem, announcing total curfew and that who ever comes out will be shot. Curfew had been lifted for the past few days so people were out, wandering around and tending to their business but they did not have the slightest idea what was going on. We started rushing around trying to get to our homes, not knowing what had happened. It may be a disaster for Israel that one of their soldiers was shot by a Palestinian sniper, but is the life of an Israeli soldier worth so much more than that of a Palestinian? An Israeli wearing the uniform of an occupying army is killed and we are back under harsh military, tanks filling our streets, the threat of death hanging over us constantly. Palestinian civilians are routinely murdered by these soldiers of occupation but we are not allowed to protest, to demonstrate, to have justice.
For the past few days now we have been under strict curfew lifted only every three days for a certain period where the Israeli bulldozers have closed all entrances in and out of Beit Sahour; the roads are piled high with dirt, preventing all cars and lorries, and of course including emergency medical vehicles, from coming in or out. This is the continuation of the Israeli policy of isolating us totally from the world outside whilst the United States embarks on its vicious war against Iraq. Who will pay the price? Death and destruction will destroy humanity on this earth and the impoverished and innocent will suffer, not Bush, Blair or Sharon.
Since eyes are now concentrating closer on the coming war, the deaths, disruption to our infrastructure and destruction of Palestinian land and lives continues unabated, but no one seems to care. It is normal for us to be under curfew and normal for Israel to bomb a hospital in Gaza. It is normal for our children to cower in fear at night, terrified of the soldiers banging on our doors, throwing bombs and shooting. It is normal to be locked in our homes, knowing that if we try to go outside we could be killed. We don’t hear much news anymore; I receive news about us through forwarded email from my friends abroad.
Who can prevent this disastrous war from happening? It is time to raise our voices louder and louder in opposition to prevent this catastrophe from becoming a reality. For those of you who have stood alongside us in the hope to see justice prevail in the region, please continue raising your voices for the sake of all of us to allow a just peace for the sake of all humanity.
Demonstrations are being held worldwide saying a resounding “No” to the United States Government and its allies, “you do not have the right to start this immoral war, causing greater injustice to millions”. I wish we could join you in your demonstrations; sadly we are forced to be imprisoned in our own homes. We are with you in spirit though and fully endorse all of your efforts to help us and other innocent people suffering at the hands of state sponsored war and aggression.
International Public Relations Officer