The True face of occupation

From: Sandra Olewine [mailto:solewine@compuserve.com]
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2001 1:08 AM

Dear Friends,

It has been a little over two months since you've heard from me.  I wish
I could say this was because things on the ground were improving.  I wish
I could say it was because the cycles of violence were ending.

Unfortunately, neither is true.  Why haven't you heard from me?  Well,
partially, it was due to trouble with me email account.  But, mostly, it
was due to the fact I was running out of words to say the same thing
again and again.

THE OCCUPATION HAS TO END!  THE OCCUPATION IS THE FIST LEVEL OF BRUTAL
VIOLENCE! THE 'CEASE FIRE' IS LITTLE MORE THAN A PR STUNT!  SETTLEMENTS
ARE GROWING EVERY DAY! PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS ARE DYING ALMOST EVERY
DAY! THE SEIGE CONTINUES ON MANY WEST BANK CITIES, VILLAGES AND TOWNS!
THE ECONOMIC SITUATION IN GAZA AND THE WEST BANK IS CRITICAL.  SUICIDE
BOMBERS CAN ONLY BE STOPPED BY ENDING THE SUFFERING OF THE PALESTINIAN
PEOPLE.

Yes, many of us had grown weary after eight months of feeling as if we
were screaming at a mostly non-comprehending world.  I and many others,
whether Palestinian, Israeli or International, basically just couldn't
write anymore.

But, after a two week break in early June, which was critical for my own
mental and physical health (many thanks to my dear friends, Kathie and
William in Cambridge, who provided a remarkable trip to the Highlands of
Scotland for a time of healing and renewal) and assisting with a delegation
from the World Council of Churches last week, I'm able to get back to the
important work of keeping you informed about the situation here from a
perspective which often doesn't line up with what you hear in mainline
news stories.

Unbelievably, we're beginning the 10th month of this current period of
the violence of occupation.  Below is a story from Gush Shalom, one of the
most active Israeli peace/justice groups within Israel.  It details the
actvities of Friday's action in the month-old non-violent campaign that
has been going on around the village of El-Khader, a village just south
of Bethlehem.

Please read it carefully.  Let others know of these actions.   For those
of you who are Americans, continue to demand that our government listen
to these voices as well as the political leaderships, that they might
understand the heartache and frustration of the people living under the
occupation and the toll it takes on the occupier.

Pray for the villagers in El Khader who are struggling to develop a
non-violent strategy in fighting the occupation and at each step are
being meet with violence by the Israeli Occupation Forces and the
Settlers. Pray for the Israelis willing to demand a different reality
from their own government. Pray for the soldiers and settlers that there
might be a changing of heart. Pray for the Internationals who are joining
with both Palestinians and Israelis who are seeking a just peace for the
well-being of both peoples in this land.

Blessings to you all,
Sandra

Rev. Sandra Olewine
United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem