This is a note I got from a brave young Canadian man with whom I served on the Christian Peacemaker Team in Chiapas the summer of '99. I developed sort of a maternal attitude toward him and he calls me "mom." He and a 74-year-old Catholic sister are representing CPT in Bethlehem at present in an attempt to deter violence there. Esther
Well folks, we are now set up with our own email account. Just
time for the shelling to start again. A 17 year old boy was
killed today in clashes with soldiers on the edge of Bethlehem and
there is usually shooting and shelling the same night after
someone dies. I don't know if some of you saw the article put out
by Reuters news agency (about Anne Montgomery, the Catholic sister), but the street beside our house was shelled Tuesday night. My bedroom (I was sleeping in
Hebron that night), which faces the settlement where the tanks are
shooting, had its windows shot out and a corner of the window sill
destroyed. I have since moved my bed to another room without a
view of the settlement. Our front door was speckled in the morning
with holes from the shrapnel from the shells that hit our street. Our
porch was also was filled with marks from the shrapnel. We were
the lucky ones. Our house was the last one to be hit.
Our neighbor has two holes in their door about a foot in diameter
each. These are tank shells, or rockets I should say. I saw them.
They are about a foot in length and five cm in diameter. They
weigh maybe five pounds and explode on impact. That was the
top floor of the house. The main floor had a bullet (they call them
five hundreds) go through two doors and destroy the water pipe
embedded in cement.
We are the lucky ones since some families have had their home
damaged beyond repair.
Now you might be asking why the Israelis are shelling the town of
Beit Jala. Well, Palestinians, as you all know by now, have been
living under occupation for 33 years now and have seen their
situation get worse since the so-called peace agreements. Now
you might say, "WHAT? Worse since the peace agreements? How
can that be?" Well, Israel has doubled the number of settlers and
almost doubled geographically the amount of land it has stolen --
that it had stolen before the the Oslo agreements. Also they have
built more bypass roads, thus taking more land and cutting through
people's fields preventing them from working and make a living. Also
now in the eyes of the world there should be peace between the
Israelis and Palestinians, so "Hey, why are the Palestinians still
The night usually goes like this. The Palestinians fire shots
the Israelis shoot back. I like to compare it to a water gun and a fire
hose. Also the Israelis say they only shoot at people who are
shooting at them. Well, yes, there are shots fired at the Israelis, but
I guarantee you that the shells and "500" bullets that they fire back
are not touching the people who are doing the shooting.
Well enough for now. I hope tonight will be quiet. If not, we
our safe place in the house -- The Bathroom.
Prayers are definitely needed for this place. Also if you feel
you could call at 011-972-02-274-1672. Remember there is an 7-8
hour difference (more from the west coast). Love you all. Bye.