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October 22, 2001
Hospital in Beit Jala Comes Under Fire

By Rev. Sandra Olewine


Hospital in Beit Jala Comes Under Fire
Rev. Sandra Olewine
United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem

Dear Friends,

Today has seen an escalation of violence in the Bethlehem region. After a couple hours of quiet, heavy shooting began as the Israeli tanks again moved towards the Cinema region of Bethlehem (beginning of Paul VI Street) around 1 pm. The tanks seem to be driving around as if they are playing chess, although I'm not sure anyone has a game plan.

Now, in the last 45 minutes, the HOSPITAL in Beit Jala, the main hospital for the area, has come under attack 4 times. About an hour ago, a man was killed INSIDE the hospital when it came under fire. Just now, an anesthesiology technician has been wounded. The director has reported major damage to the building and that tanks are at the entrance. This is not the first time shots have been directed there. Yesterday, when the director was being interviewed on television, a window behind him shattered from gunfire as he spoke. And early this morning doctors reported looking out the window and seeing a tank drive into the opening of the complex.

About an hour ago for the first time, a shell or missile landed in or near Manger Square according to residents nearby. Beit Sahour has also now come under shelling. And as I'm writing this, heavy shelling has just hit the area somewhere near the Wi'am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center and is continuing. Bethlehem University has been suspended until further notice, as have all the schools in the area.

Israel seems to be upset that Palestinians are shooting at their tanks and soldiers. Which, I have to admit, at this point, I find absurd. Not only are their soldiers continuing to occupy Palestinian land in general, but they are currently in the process of re-invading Palestinian-controlled areas, firing tank shells and missiles into towns and villages, terrorizing everyone. What do they think Palestinians are going to do? Serve them tea and biscuits. Sharon evidently stated this afternoon that they'll leave the Palestinian cities when the 'terror' is stopped. And, exactly how does he expect that to happen while Israel is terrorizing with machine guns, tanks and helicopters over 70% of the population?

I'm sorry if this sounds a bit hard-edged and not particularly rationale, but what is happening right now is pure insanity.

For the love of God and humanity, we'd better find a way to stop this soon....


Rev. Sandra Olewine
United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem

Please contact your political representatives immediately.

You can easily find how to contact for your own U.S. Senators and Congresspeople at www.government.aol.com.

To begin, here are four important people to address:

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvanian Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Phone: (202) 456-1414
Fax: (202) 456-2461
E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

Vice President Dick Cheney
(The White House, as above)

Condoleezza Rice National Security Advisor
(The White House, as above)

Secretary of State Colin Powell
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Phone: (202) 647-4000
Fax: (202) 261-8577
E-mail: secretary@state.gov