Bethlehem University Attacked in Latest Israeli Incursion

Bethlehem University
Office of President/Vice Chancellor

PRESS RELEASE
9 March 2002

The  IDF  fired  a  wire-guided  missile   at   newly-inaugurated
Millennium Hall at about 9:00 last night (8 March). It punched  a
hole through the stone-clad reinforced  concrete  wall,  blasting
out windows and window frames on two floors, damaging  Classrooms
302 and 402. The impact of the powerful  blast  spread  to  other
parts of the building, as well as  to  the  nearby  Institute  of
Hotel Management and the Social and Cultural Center on campus. It
is fortunate that no one was near enough to be injured or killed.

This missile attack, devastating in  physical  and  psychological
implications,  is  but  one  result   of   unprecedented   brutal
aggression on the Palestinian people in recent  days.  Statistics
of casualties and damage continue to change, but at this  writing
seven deaths and over a hundred injuries have  been  reported  in
Bethlehem alone in the past two days.  In  addition,  the  entire
city and surroundings has  been  traumatized  and  terrorized  as
never before by the ominous sounds of helicopters and drones  and
threats  of  gunship  and  tank  attacks.  Beit  Jala,  next   to
Bethlehem,  is  still  under  curfew  with  over  40  huge  tanks
surrounding the village preventing movement in and out  of  homes
and on the streets. Deheisheh Camp, which has suffered  extensive
human loss and damage, is also under curfew.

As a demoralized and battered people braces  itself  for  another
night of trepidation and fear, the following  questions  continue
to remain unanswered:

How long will illegal  occupation  and  oppression  of  a  people
struggling for freedom and  basic  human  rights  be  allowed  to
continue? When will the senseless sacrifice of innocent lives  of
both oppressed and oppressor come to an end?

What can be done to mobilize the  international  community,  whom
many  see  as  the  only  potential  force  capable  of  exerting
legitimate influence, to assume greater moral  responsibility  in
resolving the situation?

We at Bethlehem appeal to you, once again, to do whatever you can
to put an end to this escalating tragic situation. We  urge  you,
in whatever forum you deem effective, to:

1. Pressure Israel to withdraw its military immediately from  all
Palestinian territories.

2. Push for international intervention  to  help  the  two  sides
return to negotiation.

3. Insist that those responsible for inhumane attacks on innocent
persons be accountable and brought to justice.

4. Pray for a just peace for the Holy Land.

Brother Vincent Malham, FSC
President-Vice Chancellor
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