Beit Sahour Medical Center
Sunday, October 21, 2001
It is difficult to describe what is going on at present in the Palestinian
occupied territories in view of the Israeli occupation army's invasion of
six cities in the West Bank -- Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Nablus, Ramallah,
Bethlehem-Beit Jala. For three consecutive days the Israeli army has been
continuously bombarding and attempting to reoccupy Palestinian cities. With
its tanks, attack helicopters, and heavy artillery, the Israeli army is
leaving a trail of death, injury, fear, and destruction.
This invasion followed the assassination of three young men from the
Palestinian resistance movement in an explosion of their booby-trapped car
in Beit Sahour. During this brief three-day period, ten people have been
killed and dozens injured. Half of those killed were civilians shot by
Israeli snipers. Most of the injured are civilians. The Aida and Azza
refugee camps in Bethlehem are suffering the most. Heavy machine guns are
shooting at all that moves. Even Manger Square, in the center of Bethlehem,
has not been spared the presence of Israeli snipers. Yesterday,
nineteen-year-old John Thaljiyeh was shot in the chest while standing in
Manger Square. He was brought to our clinic in Beit Sahour and declared
dead on arrival.
The hospital in Bethlehem is running out of medical supplies and blood as
the Israeli tanks in the surroundings of the hospital are making it nearly
impossible to reach the hospital.
Employees from our center in Beit Sahour, as well as many volunteers from
the local community have begun to donate blood. To date, 32 units of blood
have been sent to the hospital in a Red Crescent ambulance. Bethlehem and
Beit Jala are being attacked from the north, west, and south. Only the exit
to Beit Sahour is still open and most probably, it is only a matter of time
before Beit Sahour is also invaded.
In order to deal with the crisis in the Bethlehem area, as well as
throughout the West Bank, all medical facilities of the Health Work
Committees are remaining open twenty-four hours a day.
It is unlikely that the Palestinian people who are outnumbered,
less-equipped, and lacking proper infrastructure, will give up their right
to fight for freedom and independence. It is more likely that the
Palestinians will still have to pay a much higher price.
The loss of vision of Sharon's government has caused widespread
apprehension. If the Palestinian people want freedom and independence, what
do Sharon and his government want? Security and military occupation are
mutually exclusive. This bloodshed must stop. The Israeli occupation must
be ended. The loss of even one life is one life too much.
Dr. Majed Nassar
Deputy Director, HWC
Health Work Committees/Beit Sahour Medical Center
POB 44, Beit Sahour, Palestine