Urgent Appeal from Bethlehem District
Date: 11/29/2002 7:49:25 PM Pacific Standard Time


At the time when we are preparing to receive the Holy Feast of Ramadan and the Glorious Christmas Season with all the noble meanings and values carried by these two holy occasions that inspire tranquility and peace in the souls, and as we are trying to replace the smile on our children’s lips and heal the wounds caused by the grave human and physical losses after five Israeli previous incursions to Bethlehem Governorate, the Israeli troops surprised us at dawn of Friday 22/11/2002 with a new incursion to Bethlehem disregarding the feelings of believers ,Moslems and Christians alike and nullifying the Bethlehem First understanding concluded last August with our Palestinian National Authority.

The Israeli tanks and armored vehicles invaded the cities, the villages and the refugee camps of Bethlehem devastating, killing innocents and launching a wide detention campaign amongst their people. The Israeli troops have demolished houses, destructed organizations and infrastracture, diffused fear and imposed collective punishments, in particular curfew the matter which led to tragic deterioration in the living conditions of our people and a total paralyzation to all aspects of life in Bethlehem governorate to include factories, commercial and tourist shops, hospitals, schools, universities, churches and mosques.

Added to that comes the declaration of Bethlehem as a closed military zone until the 30th of December 2002, and what this declaration implies of risks represented in the Israeli government’s intention to continue and escalate its aggression on Bethlehem. This will certainly deprive our people from performing their religious and social duties during this festive season and will prevent pilgrims and tourists from reaching the town of the Nativity to celebrate Christmas, which we consider an unprecedented measure in the history of our Holy town.
As we strongly condemn this flagrant aggression on Bethlehem which has no justification except to achieve Israeli internal interests according to a programmed plan on the eve of the Israeli elections, and as we denounce these brutal practices that contradict with simple human rights and all international conventions, we appeal to the U.S government, to the European Union, the United Nations Organization, to the religious bodies and to both the Islamic and the Arab worlds to assume their historical responsibilities towards our Palestinian just cause. We call upon them to quickly and effectively intervene with the Israeli government for the sake of immediate withdrawal of its forces from our cities, villages and refugee camps and to stop this oppression and this savage attack perpetrated in front of the whole world against a people whos only guilt is his yearning to live in freedom and dignity on his own land under a just and comprehensive peace according to the security council resolutions and the international legitimacy.

The Municipality of Bethlehem – The Municipality of Beit Jala – The Municipality of Beit Sahour – The Municipality of Doha – The Municipality of  Al Khader

Suzan Sahori

International Public Relations Officer

Beit Sahour Municipality

Beit Sahour

Palestine

Tel:+972 2 277 3830

Fax: +972 2 277 3520

www.beitsahourmunicipality.com <http://www.beitsahourmunicipality.com/>