FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bethlehem Under Fire

by Kristen Schurr

Last night, 30 March 2002, 20 of us stayed in Al Azzeh refugee camp of 5,000 inside of Bethlehem with several families expecting an invasion by the Israeli military. We went two to a house. There is no land to build on, so any new homes are built atop existing ones. At the house I stayed in, we watched Arfat on television most of the night giving a press conference inside his compound in Ramallah. At 10pm he was given one hour to surrender by Israeli military or they would go in shooting. This has not yet happened and he has said he will not go alive.

Television stations showed five dead, shot at point blank range inside Arafat’s compound. The family I was with stays up most of the night and sleeps during the morning daylight hours. The shooting at nights requires them to quickly move from one room to the next, and to always be ready. They do not jump when they hear the popping of F-16s. They simply get up and move as the noise becomes louder.

There was a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The bomber was from Nablus, which is further north from Bethlehem. The families inside of Al Azzeh refugee camp expected Israeli military to invade the camp and disappear all of the men aged 16 to 50 years old.

Israeli snipers continued to fire into the camp throughout the night. They fired at Palestinians and internationals alike as we scurried across roads to get inside of the houses, which are litered with bullet holes. Many of the windows are protected by bags of sand. We met the mother of a 14 year old Palestinian girl who was shot by Israeli snipers as she opened the front door of her house inside the camp two weeks ago. I was expected to address a conference at Columbia University in NYC via telephone at 3:30 am Palestinian time, but my cel phone was unable to function.

All international media has been asked to leave Bethlehem. Now the Palestinian people need all people from around the globe as much as ever. I write this quickly to you all from Dehesha refugee camp because invasion of Bethlehem is now imminent. It is expected within the next two hours. It is now 1:30 pm. We are told that if Arafat is assasinated the Israeli military will fully re-occupy the entire West Bank, of which Bethlehem is a part. We will return to Al Azzeh camp within the hour to stand in solidarity with our Palestinian families as the invasion unfolds.

Yesterday Beit Jala, the town without lights at night that stands across the valley from an Israel settlement fully lit conected by a bridge that only Israelis are allowed to use, was invaded in order to be at the highest point surrounding Bethlehem. Parts of Beit Jala are under curfew. It is still impossible to get to Ramallah, where Palestinians and internationals are asking for assistance. Some are blocking tanks, others defied the curfew by donating blood. As here in Bethlehem, in Ramallah internationals are also riding along inside of ambulences.

We are here in solidarity with the Palestinian people in order to bring attention to the brutal military occupation, sanctions, killings, and daily humiliation Palestinians face at the hands of Israeli military and government. Bethelehem, according to those who live there, is virtually deserted. Streets that once swarmed with life are mostly shut down now. All schools are evacuated. Teachers say they are not afraid. Many Palestinians say all they have left is their will.

We have been thanked and fed and described as peace prophets. Our presence is necessary and deeply appreciated. We request that as many of you who receive this help in any way you can. I can only ask that we all please raise awarness of this situation, work on divestment campaigns, and tell Bush and the US government that their funding of the Israeli military is a terrorist atrocity which must not be stood for. We will update you as much as possible.

Thank you so much for your caring and interest. A suicide bomber has just hit Haifa, which is about 90 km from Tel Aviv.

Salaam.

Kristen Schurr is from New York City.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism:  Transcending the Masters tools
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Chuck Collins
Wall Street Hopes You’ve Forgotten the Crash Already
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Robert Koehler
Costa Rica’s Peace Journey
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
February 23, 2017
Dave Brotherton
Trump, Moral Panics and Resistance
Jonathan Cook
One State: Trump Has Reminded Palestinians What It Was Always About
Bill Quigley
Ten Examples of Direct Resistance to Stop Government Raids
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigot Boy Business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance, Again
John W. Whitehead
The Illusion of Freedom: the Police State Is Alive and Well
Ralph Nader
Restricting People’s Use of Their Courts
David Macaray
Women As Labor Union Organizers
Kathy Kelly
Friendship in Defiance of War
Doug Weir
Why Did the US Use Depleted Uranium Weapons in Syria?
Steve Horn
Former GOP Congressional Staffer Follows Revolving Door, Now Latest Keystone XL Lobbyist
Binoy Kampmark
From Rights to Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade
Thomas Knapp
The Target of the “Border Adjustment Tax” is You
Chris Zinda
Open Letter to Neoliberal Environmentalists
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail