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

BLAMING THE VICTIMS – Reflections # 50

The resilience and courage of faithful people is a great gift to the ecumenical and inter-faith community here that believes in and tries to follow a just, merciful and compassionate God. By Tom Getman World Vision Jerusalem

Dear Family and Friends:

The resilience and courage of faithful people is a great gift to the ecumenical and inter-faith community here that believes in and tries to follow a just, merciful and compassionate God. Many are risking their lives to save others both by being in harm’s way to encourage increasingly endangered and hopeless Palestinians and by speaking prophetic truth about the criminal behavior of those handling enormous firepower (mostly American made!).

Our staff and hundreds of other humanitarian workers have continued to come to work or move through conflict areas and tight checkpoints and closed military zones even under gunfire. And I must tell you that I am sick and dizzy with grief over what is swirling around us. And the massive propaganda campaign to blame victims, even the now famous 12 year old little Mohammed al Durra, or the even younger child by the same first name that was shot in the back yesterday, is one of the most evil things I have ever witnessed. Far more blatant war crimes than I ever saw in South Africa. It is becoming more like Uganda under Idi Amin! However thank God, in spite of a run, according to a journalist friend, of heavily censored text and anti-Arab photo articles, now even the conservative Israeli presses are reporting a bit more candidly, at least yesterday and the day before, about military and government excesses and provocation, and the embarrassment of Ehud Barak’s disingenuous focusing on Palestinian “shooting” in Paris. I’ve seen the very lightly armed Palestinian “army” up close. Even Hogan’s Heroes were more adroit. They certainly are less well equipped than the police in Washington, DC.

Because of the preparation for our appeal for the emergency medical, food and ambulance repair need, I was present for two hours on Tuesday at the infamous conflict zone at Netzarim junction with our Gaza manager Yasser Toshtash and our trauma counsellor and dear friend Canon John Stewart from the St. Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne. We got within 75 meters of where it is like Israeli howitzers are shooting sitting ducks in a still pond! Mostly the crowd was made up of young people and small children who were like moths drawn to a flame. There were absolutely no, I repeat not one,Palestinian military or police near this area that we could observe. They were back up the road trying (not hard enough it turns out!) to keep the curious children from converging through the dunes and orchards on that awful fortress that is there only because it is adjacent to an illegal Israeli settlement housing 60 families taking a huge tract of land in the second most crowded area in the world.

As ambulances ferried the dead and wounded we spent nearly an hour in the Red Cross/Red Crescent triage center where skilled medical staff were working under the protection of the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to stop the bleeding before the casualties were taken to hospital operating rooms or morgues. Most of the wounds were from American Apache helicopter gun ships or snipers. Several people far from the onerous fortress intersection dropped to the ground from head wounds as we observed from less than 30 meters. The only explanation is that snipers from a 1000 or more meters were picking people out of crowds from hill or roof tops. Like the evil shooters from Snipers Alley in Sarajevo.

Four of the awful gunships kept flying over the residential area spraying it with machine gun fire and directing LOW antitank missiles at homes and apartment buildings. The guilt and shame already being felt was only increased when I discovered that the shell casings are clearly marked with serial numbers indicating American sources.

There has been an avalanche of truthful stories and photos now finally flooding the world as if people have just awakened to this continuous 50+ year effort at ethnic cleansing. Rather than try to write anything more myself I have attached several of the most cogent of the hundreds of pieces I have read in the last week…just in case the escaped your attention.

“We call upon our political leaders, Palestinians and Israelis, to continue their search of a just peace, and we call upon the international community to help both parties to reach what is just and right according to the international legitimacy….we call upon you to pray and to contribute in reaching tranquil times, for the glory of God and of man in this land which God has blessed. We ask God Almighty to give you light and strength, and to give all the leaders in this land light and strength to do what is right and what is just. For all we pray, for Palestinians and Israelis, for Christians, Muslims and Jews, may God inspire justice and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of all. Amen.”

With courage and grace for such a time as this,

PS: 4PM Friday
We have just been informed by our friends at the UN that a “phase II” emergency has been declared and all UN personnel are confined to their homes until 10AM tomorrow. Live ammunition is being used in the streets of Jerusalem and 15 triage medical centers have been designated around the city to receive the wounded. Please take seriously our request to pray.

Tom Getman
Box 51399
East Jerusalem
Palestine via Israel

ph: 972-2-628-1793
fx: 972-2-626-4260

For the “Jerusalem Emergency Fund”
World Vision International
% Jim Canning
800 West Chestnut
Monrovia, CA 91016-3198



The Martyrdom of Innocence
By Anita Fast

The stories of firebombs, bullets, rocks and injuries fill the newspapers. Live ammunition is replacing rubber-coated bullets. Officials and civilians alike are quick to say that things have rarely gotten this bad. But there are stories that continue to go unheard. Stories of regular people who don’t want to go out and join the violent struggle, but who get caught in the cross-fire nonetheless. They have not been walking in the streets and chosen the wrong alley-ways. They have not even left their homes. In fact, they cannot leave their homes. Unlike in Palestinian-controlled cities such as Bethlehem and Ramallah, where clashes happen on the borders and people who wish to remain uninvolved in the violence can usually make that choice, for many in Hebron the story is different. Because of the Jewish settlers in the heart of the Old City, and the 1500 Israeli soldiers who are stationed here to protect them, the scene looks very different. The 35 000 residents of the Israeli occupied part of Hebron, H2, are under full, 24-hour-a-day curfew. For some families living in H2, only blocks away from our CPT apartment, their lives have become lives under siege.

On Wednesday, with Palestinian journalist, Kawther Salam, and fellow CPTer Andrew Getman, I visited two families whose rooftops have become strategic military outposts. Approaching the first, I felt as if I were coming upon an old deserted home. The windows were boarded up with wood and tin. Broken bottles and rocks littered the walkway. Black evidence of fires streaked up the walls. But there were some differences. A face peered out from inside an enclosed bunker and a deep voice shouted, “Go away! Get out of here!” It was a soldier. We ignored his warnings and knocked on the door. The door opened and a young father stood inside holding a four-month old girl. Four other children, all boys under the age of 12 gathered around him. We were invited in. There was the faint smell of gas in the dimly lit rooms, which had all light and ventilation extinguished due to the boarded up windows. One of the boys opened the door to their nicely furnished sitting room. Rocks littered the floor, and a burned out bottle lay shattered upon the charred carpet. The four-year old held the curtains away from the windows and pointed. The glass was shattered and sharp shards covered the floor.

The father, Jihad Sede Ahmad told his story. The previous afternoon, a clash started in their area. Because of the soldiers stationed on their roof, their home became the target for stone and molotov-cocktail throwing Palestinians. Jewish settlers threw the same from the other side. The soldiers shot back. And inside, the children screamed, the baby cried, and they all ran to hide inside the bathroom. That night, the children wanted to sleep under their parents’ bed.

Next door stands the beautiful home of a doctor. The previous night, Dr. Taisir Zahdeh’s home was invaded by soldiers. They wanted to use his roof for another shooting post. The doctor and his wife shared their story. Three days earlier, some soldiers came knocking at the door. They wanted in, but the doctor refused. The soldiers smashed the window of the door and started yelling, demanding that they be given entry. The doctor still refused. The next night, he awoke to the noise of hammering on his metal door. He went to investigate, only to find that the soldiers had returned and were battering at the door, trying to break it down. Some settlers from Beit Haddasseh settlement were helping.

Dr. Zahdeh, remembering how his resistance to soldier’s requests in 1998 resulted in his being beaten into a coma, told the soldiers that he would let them in. But when he tried his key, the lock was already too damaged.

The soldiers and settlers continued beating and prying at the door. An hour later, they succeeded in opening it. Once on his roof, they proceeded to drill holes in the wall of the roof so that they could be hidden while watching and shooting through the holes. Day and night, there are soldiers going up and down the stairs, disturbing the family’s sleep and frightening his four children who scream in fear.

Dr. Zahdeh recalls the horrors of having soldiers on his roof several years ago. They urinated and threw bags full of their feces over the edge of the roof onto the heads of people coming to visit. They made lots of noise and carried dirt through the house. They went to the bathroom down the pipes that carried water down from the roof for the family to use. He and his wife fear that these things will start up again, now that the soldiers are back on their roof.

These are the civilian casualties that do not get recorded. These are the bodies that don’t have visible scars. These are the lives which carry the cost of military occupation in memories and nightmares of degradation and horror. There is no glory in the martyrdom of innocence for these children. And in the words of Dr. Zahdeh, “there is no end to the stories that could be told.”


CPT Hebron has maintained a violence reduction presence in Hebron since June of 1995 at the invitation of the Hebron Municipality.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is an initiative among Mennonite and Brethren congregations, and Friends meetings who support violence reduction Teams around the world. Contact CPT at P.O. Box 6508 Chicago, IL 60680 USA; Tel: 312-455-1199; Fax: 312-432-1213; e-mail: CPT@igc.org To join CPTNET send an e-mail to admin@MennoLink.org and the message: Group: menno.org.cpt.news Visit us on the WEB: https://www.prairienet.org/cpt

“The Sign of God is that we will be led where we did not plan to go.” –Levely



We suggest that synagogues remember both the Jewish and the Palestinian dead during Kaddish or Yizkor on Yom Kippur, and will be sending out a “vidui” which, deals with our responsibility as Jews for the terrible events of the last week(Even those of us who are also condemn the Palestinian violence must acknowledge the overwhelming responsibility on our part.)

Rabbi Arik Ascherman
Executive Director
Rabbis For Human Rights
Tel. 972 2 563-7731
Fax: 972 2 566-2815
Mobile: 972 50 607034



Israel’s Doomed Peace

The New York Times 5 Oct 2000

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In the last few years I have watched a curly- haired, wide- eyed Palestinian girl named Balqis, the child of a family I am close to, grow into a cheerful kindergartener in a refugee camp in Bethlehem. Four days ago, Israeli soldiers entered the area and suddenly fired near her school. Three children in the schoolyard were injured. Balqis was shot in the chest and now lies in the hospital in stable condition.

Palestinians blame the Israelis; the Israelis blame Yasir Arafat; everyone blames Ariel Sharon for his decision to visit the site in Jerusalem that Muslims call Noble Sanctuary.

But pointing the finger solely at Mr. Sharon for the violence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza simply masks the painful truth that many supporters of the Middle East peace agreement signed in Oslo in 1993 do not want to admit: The Oslo process cannot succeed. The proponents of the agreement, including the Clinton administration, never fully informed the Palestinian people that the accord did not offer any guarantee of Palestinian self-determination, full equality and an end to the military occupation. In reality,”Oslo” wears no clothes at all.

In 1994, the interim phase of the peace process began with Palestinians widely believing that by May 1999, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza would be over. In reality, this stage of the accord provided only for the establishment of a Palestinian legislature and Palestinian Authority while keeping control of overall security and resources and commerce in the hands of the Israeli military occupation. The transition to greater Palestinian autonomy – not inde pendence – was left to be negotiated, with the goal of moving to the next stage by May 1999 – a deadline that was not met.

The agreement formally authorized the Israeli military to dictate the movement of Palestinians, their immigration to the West Bank and Gaza, and the location of the borders of their land. Even new legislation issued by the Palestinian Authority had to bear an Israeli seal of approval.

During this period of limited “self- rule,” the Palestinian Authority has become corrupt and oppressive, with officials embezzling millions of dollars and arresting those who attempted to criticize their acts. The Palestinian legislature became powerless, its members concerned chiefly with amenities of office like V.I.P. treatment and new cars. When the terms of the legislators and other officials expired at the end of the interim period, no new elections were called. Instead, Palestinian officials unilaterally renewed their own terms in office. Notably, no call for new elections came from the democracies of the West.

On the harsh ground of everyday reality in Gaza and the West Bank, the false optimism of Oslo quickly faded when the Palestinians realized that the interim agreement had not significantly changed the conditions of the Israeli occupation. Since 1994, Palestinians have seen the influx of 50,000 new Jewish settlers into the West Bank and Gaza, the paving of more than 400 kilometers of roads on confiscated land, demolition of more than 800 Palestinian homes, and a threefold increase in unemployment in the territories and a 21 percent decline in their gross domestic product, the arrest of 13,000 Palestinians, and complete curtailment of freedom of movement.

Last month, I was part of a group of 60 Israeli peace activists issuing a warning that resonates today.

“We believe that the negotiations currently being conducted between representatives of the State of Israel and Palestinian representatives under the supervision of the United States will likely frame the basis for future war,” our warning said. “The establishment of a Palestinian state truncated by a massive system of bypass roads, encircled by Israeli settlement blocs, subject to closures and restrictions on freedom of movement and commerce, with no control of its borders or natural resources, will only create a reality of apartheid; a Palestinian state as a Bantustan.”

Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit was merely the spark that lit a mountain of frustration and anger built over seven years. Without justice and full equality, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, the Oslo process cannot bring about any semblance of viable peace. Palestinians know this now, and Balqis is just one of the many thousands who are paying and will continue to pay the awful price.

Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company
for educational and non-profit use only ++

2016-10-24T07:36:02+00:00 October 6th, 2000|Categories: News|