Home / Journals / Two Days in Bethlehem

Two Days in Bethlehem

by Chris and Carl

Our affinity group members, Mike, Ronise (who is deaf) and Jennie went to the Deaf School in Bethlehem. The school serves boys and girls from 6 months to 15 years old. It was a well equipped modern school run by the Catholic Church. The school is currently closed because of the clamp down of the military occupation. The Italian nuns that work there showed our team bullet holes around the school and in a student desk. It makes you wonder what worse target the Israeli army could pick to shoot.

Our group had a meeting to discuss our future. We decided to leave the Dheisheh Refugee camp on Tuesday morning. Part of the group will be staying together after leaving Dheisheh. Sherri said goodbye. She will be leaving the camp in the morning and leaving Palestine on Tuesday. On Sunday night we heard a speaker at the Ibda Community Center in Dheisheh. Narsir Al-Laham, is a Palestinian journalist who was jailed for 6 years during the first intifada. He has some interesting observations about the struggle against occupation and the search for peace. Here are few thought-provoking quotes:

  • “Everyone has a story.”
    – speaking of the suffering that ALL Palestinians have gone through
  • “If Barak promises us 98% of the land, we guarantee him 98% security, if Sharon guarantees us 42% of the land we guarantee him 42% security.”
    – speaking of peace negotiations
  • “Who makes war makes peace, no one else.”
    – speaking of bringing the fighting parties to the negotiation table, not just the ‘peace camps’
  • “Palestinians did not kill Arafat because of Oslo. In Israel they killed Rabin because he said Gaza was Palestinian.”

A few Israeli army jeeps came into the camp on Sunday night. They weren’t around for long. While Samir, the brother of Ayaat (the female suicide bomber) and Chris were up watching for signs of military activity they started to talk about politics, suicide attacks, and the families’ situation. Samir told Chris the story of his sister.

He said that he would have “broken her foot” if he had known she was going carry out a suicide attack in Israel.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Carl and Suzanna came over to the Abu Samir house to meet the family for the first time. The teenage sisters of the Abu Samir family were ‘intrigued’ with Chris from before and were laughing and giggling at both of us together. It was pretty awkward given the conservative nature of Palestinian culture and the age of the girls. Nonetheless it was flattering.

Tonight is our last night in Dheisheh camp. We hope that the new International Solidarity Movement activists will be willing to take our place. We’ll find out tonight. We are leaving so we’ll have the opportunity to do other things while in Palestine and because some members of our affinity group will be leaving soon.