ISRAELI Shooting on a Catholic Bishop
January 9, 2000

1) Letter from the Latin Chancery:

Breaking news from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem: Israeli soldiers shoot on our bishop of Nazareth Msgr. Boulos Marcuzzo

On Tuesday January 9, 2001   at 3 pm our Patriarchal Vicar in Nazareth for Israel Msgr. Boulos Marcuzzo was going from Nazareth to visit one of our old-sick priests in the village of Zababdeh inside the occupied territories. He was in his diplomatic car with the official Vatican flag accompanied by two of our priests Fr. Elie Kurzum, his secretary, and Fr. Elias Odeh, parish priest of Shefa Amer. When they arrived to the checkpoint before Zababdeh near Bezeq Israeli military camp, the soldiers pointed their guns on his car and asked them not to continue or go out of the car, and refused to even hear them, he stopped aside and tried to speak with the soldiers from his car far away from the soldiers but instead of hearing them they shot three bullets: one above the car, another under the car and the third near the car. Thank God nobody was hurt. When the Bishop saw this he turned the car and returned back from the same bypass road. Up the hill he stopped nearby another checkpoint and spoke with a commander who apologized and told him that he will accompany them another time to the same road and let them pass without any problem. The bishop told the commander to tell these soldiers that he will return back within one hour after the visit. And he promised to do that.

In fact after the visit of this old-sick priest in the village they retuned from the same road and stopped at the same checkpoint but the soldiers refused him the passage and pointed their guns on his car. Without any comments or discussion he returned back to the village and took another far away bypass road making several difficult kilometres to return sane and safe to Nazareth.

We ask ourselves: if this happens now with such high rank personality what could happen every day and night to our simple common people?
We consider that as an unjustified action against one of our very important clergymen of the Latin Patriarchate and a clear violation of the right of the freedom of movement not only to the whole Palestinian population but also to diplomats.
Therefore we appeal upon the Israeli authorities to stop this closure and siege of the Palestinian territories and to remove all the checkpoints which are dividing and separating our villages and cities one from another making out of it big prisons of a whole people.

We think that justice and only justice for the Palestinian is the best solution of the actual conflict because peace cannot be but the fruit of justice. This is the only garantee of the claimed security of the Israelis as well.

Thank you for your understanding and good use of this news.
Fr. Raed Abusahlia
Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

2) From, Fr. Elie Kurzum, Secretary of the Bishop of Nazareth
    kurzmeli@rannet.com (Elie Kurzum)

Hello Everybody,

it's just to tell that the Israeli soldiers they use very easily their guns.

I was driving the car the Bishop Marcuzzo, (Latin patriarchal vicar in Nazareth) and we were going to Zababdeh near Jenin. We went through the bypass of Jenin and we were almost there. Near Zababdeh there is an occupation military camp. I was driving 10kmph because of the concrete blocks. 3 military came out pointed their M16 against us, so I stopped immediately, and after that he said in English go back, (that means he knew it's a foreign car, and we had the Vatican flag on) so I drived back, and stopped by the side of the road, then he shoot the first shoot, I opened the window and told him in Hebrew, come to talk to us don't shoot, so he answered me go away or I'll put a bullet in your head, then two other shoots and we turned back full gas.

On our way there is another camp we stopped and we asked for the officer there. He came very politely and when he heard about it he was sorry and said they shouldn't do it. So he escorted us and went again there, and we told him we'll be back from here. It was a 4pm at 4.45pm, (not night yet very clear still) we came back and they pointed their guns against us again, so this time I said noway, I went back and turned the car. Then we went back from another way.

So be careful don't try to argue go back it's safer, so you can tell the real story not like what they are saying now "parrzzo mahsoum" (we went against the checkpoint).

Just now the correspondent of the AP called me to know what happened so I told him the story.
Thank you
Fr. Elie Kurzum

3) Catholic World News
Feature
[JAN. 10, 2001]
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* CATHOLIC BISHOP COMES UNDER ISRAELI GUNFIRE

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CATHOLIC BISHOP COMES UNDER ISRAELI GUNFIRE

JERUSALEM, Dec. 10, 01 (CWNews.com) -- A car carrying a Catholic bishop came
under fire from Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on the West Bank on Wednesday.

Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, a Jerusalem auxiliary, was traveling from his
residence in Nazareth to the village of Zababdeh, in the Israeli-occupied territories.
He was riding in a car clearly identified as a diplomatic vehicle, flying the Vatican
flag, as he approached an Israeli military checkpoint. There, the soldiers refused to
let them pass.

Father Elie Kurzum, the bishop's secretary, was driving the vehicle. He reports that
when he was turned away from the checkpoint, he stopped by the side of the road,
hoping to talk with the soldiers and convince them to let the car pass. Instead, a
soldier shot at the bishop's car. When Father Kurzum shouted at him to hold his fire,
the priest reported: "He answered me, 'Go away or I'll put a bullet in your head.'"
Father Kurzum says that two more shots were then fired at the car, as he accelerated
away from the checkpoint.

Bishop Marcuzzo immediately went to another nearby military post and complained
to the commanding officer there. The officer apologized, and agreed to accompany the
bishop back to the first checkpoint, so that they could pass without further incident.
The officer also agreed to tell the soldiers that the bishop would be returning within
an hour, and should be allowed to pass through the checkpoint once again.

However, when Bishop Marcuzzo returned after visiting the sick priest, the soldiers
again stopped his vehicle at the same checkpoint, and leveled their guns at the car.
This time the driver immediately reversed his tracks, without attempting to talk to
the soldiers. The bishop eventually returned to Nazareth by another, more circuitous
route.

No one was hurt in the checkpoint incident. However the bishop's secretary, Father
Kurzum, remarked: "It's just to tell that the Israeli soldiers-- they use very easily
their guns."

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem observed that the
incident was a clear violation of the right of freedom of movement. He added: "If this
happens now, with such a high-ranking personality, what could happen every day
and night to our simple common people?"

4) Letter from Msgr. Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Nazareth for Israel to Mr. Euhad Baraq
10.01.2001

H. E. Mr. Ehud Baraq
Prime Minister Office
Jerusalem
 

Subject: Protest for an irresponsible aggression, by the Israeli soldiers, against myself and two other Priests and a Sister.
 

Your Excellency,

    I strongly protest against the behavior of the officers and soldiers of the Bezeq camp for their dangerous, irresponsible, unjustified and violent threat against myself and other two Priests and a Sister.

    Here are the facts. On the 9th of January 2001 in the afternoon, in my diplomatic car having a very visible Church patriarchal flag, accompanied by Fr. Elie Kurzum (Israeli I.D), Fr. Elias Odeh (American passport) and a Sister (American passport), I was on my way to Zababdeh (Jenin) for my pastoral, religious and humanitarian duties as Bishop.

    As we arrived at about 3:00 p.m. by the military camp called Bezeq, near Zababdeh (Jenin), 3 soldiers run out of the camp pointing the guns against us and shouting on us: Stop, stop. We stopped on the right of the road waiting at a distance of about 15 mt. After a while, as Fr. Elie asked what we have to do, a soldier shouted: "Shut up, go back otherwise I shoot on your head". Immediately without asking to identify ourselves, the soldiers started to shoot towards the car, at least three bullets passed very near to me. I repeat, very near to me.

    We turned back. Passing by the military camp of Baraq to denounce the facts. The officer of the camp understood the situation and was cooperative. He intervened personally by the officer of the Bezeq camp, who allowed us to pass, and we informed him that we would come back one hour later. They agreed. But as we arrived there at about 4:00 p.m. the same reaction happened. They pointed the guns against us and threatened us again without any question. We were obliged to go back to Nazareth by a very long and hard way.

    Such a treatment is inadmissible and irresponsible. The Palestinian territories are living an intolerable closure and hard isolation. The life of priests and bishops is threatened in the accomplishment of their pastoral and humanitarian work. It is a violation of the Fundamental Agreement signed between the State of Israel and the Holy See, which gives freedom of movement and activity for the religious duties. It is in the same time against the diplomatic regulations.

    I ask the Israeli Authorities for a strong condemnation of the facts, for an official apology to the Church, to take proper measures against those soldiers, to give an official opportune instructions to the officers and the soldiers and to alleviate the measures of isolation in the Palestinian territories.

    Today afternoon, two Ministers, Mr. Yossi Belin and Mr. Matan Vilnai, kindly paid a visit to me and to the other 2 priests in the Latin Patriarchal Vicariate of Nazareth. They presented an official apology on behalf of the Government. We are grateful to them. They showed good understanding and good will to our requests. We are waiting for the practical application of their declarations.

Best wishes and greetings.
 

Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo
Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, Titular of Emmaus
Latin Patriarchal Vicar, Nazareth
 

Copies to :     H.B. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Msgr. Michael Sabbah
        H.E. The Apostolic Nuncio, Msgr. Pietro Sambi
H.E. Minister Shlomo Ben Ami, Foreign Affairs
          H.E. Minister Yossi Beilin, Religious Affairs
        Th.E The Bishops of the Holy Land
        Th.E Ambassadors in Israel and General Consuls
        Presidents of National Bishops Conferences

5) Subj:  An appeal to our Muslims Brothers and sisters
Date:  1/20/01 1:36:44 PM Pacific Standard Time
From:    freodeh@hotmail.com (FR.ELIAS ODEH)
To:    LabibKobti@aol.com
CC:    nonviolence@writeme.com
 
Dear Fr Labib:
I have learned that some of what they call themselves Christians in the  USA were trying to differentiate and divide the one people, Palestinians into Christians and Muslims.

After the incident of the Israeli shooting on Bishop Marcuzzo's car on the way to
Zababdeh saying that we protested this incident because we consider the
Christians, blood is more important than our Muslims brothers' blood.

To those I say we protested to open the world's eyes on what's going on in Palestine
occupied land. Because if the bishop's car with the Vatican's flag and the
diplomatic license plate was treated like that so how would the Israeli
soldiers treat the normal Palestinians.

Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo in all his interviews with all the local papers TV stations and to the two ministers who came to the bishop's residency in Nazareth to apologize in the name of the Israeli government insist on this argument and talked about the suffering and the horrible life that Palestinians are living as the one nation Christians and Muslims alike.

In his protest letter to Mr. Barak the Israeli prime minister he said:"The Palestinians are living in intolerable closure and hard isolation". Were do you think the word Christians fall in this statement?

In his interview with KUL-AL-ARAB news paper his excellency says:"What happened
with me should bring the  world's attention to the isolation and the suffering of the Palestinian people". January 12.2001" Did he mean only Christians?

In Fasl Almaqal news paper January 12,2001 he said:"If this incident will proof a point it is the suffering of the Palestinian People in their land where they live in small cages in large jails in their villages and camps they cannot travel they cannot go to work to earn their daily bread" .

In As-Sennara -same date- talking to the minister Yossy Belen and Matan
Velnaie Bishop Boulos said "If we religious leaders are subjected to such treatment
how would a normal Palestinian treated?"

I did not see one time or hear or read that he mentioned Christians but
using NATION and PEOPLE which means Christians and Muslims.

So what is the point of dividing or differentiating us as one NATION. What
is the purpose of some Christians of the USA behind that?

I am appealing to our brothers the Muslims to open their mind and heart to
reject such a thought and live believing in FREEDOM and PEACE in our future
PALESTINE.

Fr. Elias Odeh,
A Priest from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusdalem
Palestine
_________________________________________________________________________
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ISRAEL TO CHARGE SOLDIERS WHO SHOT AT BISHOP

JERUSALEM, Jan. 15, 01 (CWNews.com) - The Israeli army said
on Monday that it would press charges against soldiers who
fired at a car carrying a Catholic bishop at a roadblock in
the West Bank.

Auxiliary Bishop Boulos Marcuzzi was in a car traveling
from Nazareth to the home of a sick priest in the village
of Zababde when he was stopped at a roadblock. The car had
diplomatic plate and a Vatican flag. The driver, Father
Elie Kurzum, said he tried to speak to the soldiers, but
was fired upon.

After the bishop filed a complaint with authorities in
Zababde, he tried to return by the same route, but was
fired upon again, and took a more circuitous route home. An
army spokesman said Monday that the soldiers "reacted in
the wrong way" and would be prosecuted.