Not Clear If Shot Came from Israelis or Palestinians
The IDF Threatened To Shoot Christians Who Wanted to Pray in Church of Nativity Internationals Activists in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jerusalem…and soon, Nablus.
April 8, 2002
Yesterday was Sunday, April 7th. With international accompaniment,
Palestinian Christians were supposed to do a march to the Church of the Nativity. They wanted to pray. But, the idea was put on hold when, just hours before the march, the Israeli Army went around Bethlehem with megaphones saying in Arabic that they would shoot anyone who came outside.
At that point, the group of internationals, whom we were with at the Star Hotel, decided it was time to change venues. The most atrocious Israeli actions happening right now seem to be shifting away from Ramallah and Bethlehem to the north.
Generally, the group agreed to work on a project of getting humanitarian aid into Nablus. Originally we talked about doing a march to Jenin, but that was pretty crazy. The final decision was that many internationals decided to stay in Aida, Azza and Deheishe Refugee Camps. Another group decided to head for Nablus, including Beth.
Local Palestinians in the West Bank are organizing a convoy of humanitarian aid though they wanted internationals to go first and then send the trucks. This plan went forward. Individuals decided what to do. Beth, a Coloradan, decided to go. Nancy and I decided to come to Jerusalem and are now with Gary. Soon we will try to get into Ramallah. We will probably spend all day in the media center, the Jerusalem Media Center. There’s no shortage of work to do. An Italian with us said “wherever you are there are things to do.”
There were a lot of concerns about going anywhere. The IDF still maintains the curfew. Although it had been quiet all night long, by morning we were hearing gunfire. Within 45 minutes of when we were going to go, there were pretty heavy bursts.
Palestinians are very afraid to be in the street. On the street we needed to depart on from the hotel there have been many reports of journalists getting shot at, though not confirmed. Some journalists have said “they’re not shooting at us.” We ended up calling in one of the media’s taxis that will drive you back and forth through the shooting for a fairly exorbitant price. The taxi driver told us he will drive up to Beit Jala hospital, but not across Baab Skaak (a main intersection).
So we had to walk down to the hospital and I was concerned about that because that was where all the shooting was, just right before. We were all nervous but then once we got out into the street and walking and the media people jumped on because they wanted to get to the hospital too, it was just better for the group because there was so many of us, at least 15 people walking down the street carrying a bunch of luggage.
Of course the streets are completely abandoned, torn up by tanks.
Trash everywhere. We piled 11 people into a vehicle not meant to hold 11 and luggage – no problem. They drove us out to highway 60, got out, climbed over roadblock which people were handing food over.
Ben Scribner is one of five Coloradans in Palestine in solidarity with Palestinians under siege by the Israeli military. More information about their trip can be found at www.ccmep.org/palestine.html