From: latin@netvision.net.il (Fr Iyad Twal)

My dears,

It is  very encouraging  to get your  messages where you share with us your
care , love and prayers. Thank you very much.
The situation is very critical and complicated, and there is a lot of fear
and worries which you can't see on TV. Here the people are trying hard  just
to stay away from the danger, and lately the problem became a conflict
between two people and two nations, the Israelis ( not the soldiers) are
attacking everything connected to the Arabs, ( Houses, cars, and people,
i.e. The parish priest in Ramallah was attacked near a settlement near
Nablus and the settlers smashed his car)even inside Israel where they are
living together since 50 years.
We started the school on Monday, and from 7:oo until the end of the classes
I'm standing with some guards to keep watching the streets, follow the local
news, take care of every single detail,  plus a reduced program that the
pupils can go home as soon as possible. One of the teachers asked the
students in grade one (5-6 years old) to draw and color the most
unforgetable picture or action they saw or passed through, can you guess?
All of the paints were about the intifada and sepcialy the scene of the
father and his son, who were trying to escape from the soldires gun fire...

The question that we are asking why right now, the diplomacy starts to stop
the conflict while they know it is  difficult to solve it with all 85
martyrs and more than 2500 injuried. Is it to save the peace
process or to save Barak government? Or the Israeli soldiers, where they
were kidnapped from a Lebanese territory, it is a military action toward an
army...

Yestrday night, for the first time since 1967, we closed the main gate of
the monastry, and every one in the town was trying to sleep without this
feeling of fear, anger, and unsafe. The young people now doing kind of
security patrols in the town during the night, to avoid the attak of the
Israelis, or at least give us an alert or signe to hide....
Above all these things, all of us , we have a very deep and strong faith in
the Almighty and His love, even we have some questions without an answer,
like : it is a holy land, so  should we suffer always for living on this
"holiness".
The "Delima" that everyone believes in God and thinks that it is holy and
should be just for him. The only common thing between "the three faiths" is
the main reason for the war...
I think for us the Palestinian Christians, our love for the Holy land is "an
open and sharing love", and from the history and our experience, no one can
just dominate and control this land, without giving the others their rights,
freedom and dignity.
Do you think that the Jewish people or the Muslims share it with us, i think
that their love for Jerusalem is a "possessive  love"

Do we have as Palestinians to be the  "SACRIFICE OF PENITENCE" that later on
all the nations could live in peace and harmony.

your's,
Abouna Iyad Twal
Parish Priest from Bier-Zeit, Palestine