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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

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Home arrow Blog arrow January 2008 arrow January 29, 2008

January 29, 2008
WAWA Blog January 29, 2008: "Seven Hours of Terror" in the Little Town of Bethlehem UPDATED 3 PM EST and "We have yet to begin to IMAGINE the power and potential of the Internet."
I lead with what I emailed yesterday but will also FAX today, and the full article about yesterday's happening in Bethlehem and more information in @ 3PM EST

My friend said he would email some photos, but they haven't arrived yet and every time I phone him a recorded message from the operator says the phone is out of service.

January 28, 2008

Dear President Hosny Mubarak, President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Ms. Tsipi Livni Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prof. Daniel Friedman Minister of Justice,

The Florida Palestine Solidarity Network/FPSN does not "want you to be pro-Palestinian. We don't want you to bring the Israelis to their knees, but to bring them to their senses. We believe in restorative justice to address wrongs rather than avenge them."- Zoughbi Zoughbi

FPSN is made up of a diverse cross section of Arabs and American Christians, Jews, Muslims, secularists and others who seek justice: equal human rights for all the people of Israel Palestine.

FPSN advocates that all nations would uphold international law, which is the only way to security for Israel and hope for peace in the Middle East. While Tony Blair was still Prime Minister he admitted 70% of the worlds problems with terrorism can be traced back to the conflict in the Holy Land.

FPSN encourages you to lead the way to diffuse the anger in the Arab world by lifting the blockade of Gaza and work to broker a reciprocal ceasefire with Hamas who stand ready to negotiate.

"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."-Nelson Mandela

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." –Rev. Martin Luther King

FPSN also expresses our gratitude to President Mubarak and the following U.S.A. Congress people who are leading America in the way of liberty, freedom and an end to the blockade of Gaza: Neil Abercrombie (HI) John Conyers, Jr. (MI) Danny Davis (IL) Sam Farr (CA) Raul Grijalva (AZ) Maurice Hinchey (NY) Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX) Dennis Kucinich (OH) Betty McCollum (MN) Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) and James Oberstar (MN).
Diana Hasna, President FPSN

Eileen Fleming, Secretary FPSN
Reporter and Editor WAWA
Author "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"
Producer "30 Minutes With Vanunu"

"Seven Hours of Terror" in the Little Town of Bethlehem: January 28, 2008

On the morning of January 28th I received the following email from a friend in Bethlehem:

I was going home from the [Bethlehem] Bible College and there was Israeli soldiers and lots of jeeps preventing me to go in the way of my home, so one person asked me to stay [in his home] there for a while, until this Israeli attack finish ... so I am here now for almost 2 hours hearing shooting and bombs all over AND I WAS TRYING TO CALL HOME AND THERE WAS NO ANSWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the end my mom called me and told me that many Israeli armed soldiers entered our home and THEY PUT ALL MY FAMILY IN ONE ROOM AND THEY TOOK THE WHOLE HOUSE UNTIL THEY WILL DESTROY A HOUSE NEXT TO [ours]
So at this moment one or more family will have no home in this very cold weather or shelter
and my family and me don't know when this thing going to finish…I wish I had a picture to show you how scary it is.

I immediately phoned my friend but due to all the background noise could not hear him well, but his anguish was most palpable. I then phoned his brother who was in the home seized by the Israeli soldiers and was told:

"We are being held hostage in one room. Five minutes ago three soldiers searched me. There are many on the roof and they have been shooting, but we have no idea who they are looking for or how long this will go on. Pray for us and tell everyone you know to pray for Bethlehem." 

At 11:30 AM EST I phoned again and learned:

"We are still trapped in this room with no windows. Four very loud explosions happened since last phone call-vibrations knocked our walls, things broke. There is still nearly constant gun fire. Maybe it stops for a few minutes, but then returns. Pray."

At 1 PM EST I made another call and my friend whispered, "It is still going on...we are barricaded in this room and I have to go to the bathroom and I can't get out...I can't talk now."

At 3 PM EST I called Bethlehem again and my friend said:  "Seven hours of terror finally over. The soldiers are finally gone and now I can tell you that about 2:30 here I heard my dogs barking in the kitchen and right outside on our porch were two Israeli soldiers with a German shepherd dog and I was very scared and called my parents who came right over. There were maybe three jeeps outside and 5-6 soldiers came into my house and as I was phoning my brother not to come home they came into my room and checked my entire body and all over the room. They ordered my family not to leave the room for any reason and about every five minutes over seven hours all we heard was bullets and four or five huge explosions. Now that the soldiers are gone I went to check our roof, that part where is also a part of our house and the soldiers had broken the windows to shoot out of. There had been well over twenty jeeps outside-they had filled the street, they didn't come down the way from the Church of the Nativity, but from the other way, the way you didn't walk when you were here…All we know is that the house that was destroyed was somebody that was wanted by Israel, we don't know why."

In an email received 1/29/08, my friend reported that "one person was killed, three families became homeless in this very cold weather, a few cars were damaged and the roads too…please keep praying for comfort to the family of the guy who was killed."

"Since 1967, 18,000 houses Palestinian homes have been demolished in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem. … Altogether around 50,000 people have been left homeless (Human Rights Watch, Razing Rafah, October 2004… More than 628 Palestinian homes have been demolished during the second Intifada as collective punishment and “deterrence” affecting families of people known or suspected of involvement in attacks on Israeli civilians. On average 12 innocent people lose their home for every person “punished” for a security offense – and in half of the cases the occupants had nothing whatsoever to do with the acts in question. To add to the Kafkaesque nature of this policy, the Israeli government insists its aim is to “deter” potential terrorists, although 79% of the suspected offenders were either dead or in detention at the time of the demolition (B’tselem Summary 2004:1,3).…The majority of house demolitions are conducted for 'Administrative' reasons and are generally because the house was built without a permit. However permits are almost impossible to obtain by Palestinians living under Occupation."

My friends seven hours of terror in Bethlehem were due to punitive house demolitions which "is an administrative procedure carried out without trial and without proof in court of the guilt of the person because of whom the action is taken…During the current intifada, until recently…Israel treated the action as an imperative military action. Most of the house demolitions took place at night without any prior warning and without giving the occupants a demolition order, as required by Section 119 of the Emergency Defense Regulations. The occupants were given a few minutes to remove their possessions to avoid having them buried in the rubble…Whatever the legal basis, punitive house demolitions flagrantly breach international law which allows destruction of property only when necessary for a military operation (article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention). According to the official commentary of the International Committee of the Red Cross, “military operation” is defined as “the movement, maneuvers, and actions of any sort, carried out by the armed forces with a view to combat.” Punitive house demolitions do not meet this definition…International law also prohibits collective punishment, i.e. the punishment of persons for acts committed by others (article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 50 of the Hague Regulations). House demolitions are a clear case of collective punishment in that the primary victims are relatives of the persons suspected of committing an offense."

In a letter of appeal from American Israeli, Founder and Coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions/ICAHD and a 2007 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Jeff Halper wrote:

Given the tragic destruction and violence of the past few months, it is extremely important that we the Israeli, Palestinian and international peace forces respond with a resounding "NO!" to the continuing Occupation and policies of repression.

The rebuilding of demolished Palestinian homes, whether destroyed by court order or under the guise of "security," is one appropriate response. ICAHD's resistance to Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes, combined with our ability to bring hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians together to rebuild, is effective in exposing the workings of the Occupation. It also keeps alive that spark of common struggle for a just peace that will allow for reconciliation someday. House demolitions have become the hallmark of the Occupation. Indeed, since 1967 Israel has demolished over 12,000 [the current figure is now 18,000] Palestinian homes, leaving some 70,000 without shelter and traumatized. The systematic demolition of Palestinian homes is an attack on an entire people, an attempt to make the Palestinians submit to a mini-state or worse, an "autonomous" set of islands -- under Israeli control. We need to struggle against the Occupation so that both our peoples will eventually enjoy the fruits of a just peace.

UPDATED 3 PM EST: email from D

Hi All, 

this is the information that I have now about what happened yesterday in Bethlehem. You can guarantee that we will never see anything about this anywhere in the media here in the US. How do we stop this?  How do we let people know about what is happening? What do we do- other than pray...

Sources in Israel say that a teenager was killed during this event yesterday, which seems to be a home demolition, see information below about home demolitions.  I found these 2 short articles on a Palestinian news source on the Internet called Palestinian News network-   

This is a great "on the ground" news source, please bookmark it if you are interested in what is going on in Palestine.  

Pray for Peace for ALL,  D

Bethlehem / Najib Faraj – By the time Israeli were finished invading Bethlehem last night, one boy was dead, six others injured, one arrested and a house was partially demolished. Beginning in the early evening 30 Israeli military vehicles invaded the center of the West Bank city. Young people threw stones and bottles, the Israelis opened fire and lobbed gas and sound grenades. Seventeen year old Qusai Al Afandi of Deheisha Refugee Camp is dead.

Mohammad Zaarir is 13 years old and in the hospital after being shot in the neck and hand. Sa’ed Lufti, also of Deheisha Camp, was shot in the head. Murad Al Atrash, a 19 year old, was also shot in the head. Twenty year old Yousef Abu Surur was shot in the back, 12 year old Mohammad Mousa Abayat was shot with two bullets and Israeli forces also shot a 29 year old in the foot, breaking his bones. These young men are in Al Hussein, Beit Jala, Government Hospital in Bethlehem.

The injuries, destruction and detentions occurred when the Israeli forces assaulted the heart of the city of Bethlehem, and surrounded the house of Mohammed Issa Abida on Jamal Abdel Nasser Street. Several area residents were held under house arrest.

Israeli forces turned the streets of Bethlehem into their own military barracks and wreaked havoc. Several journalists were cornered, some used as “human shields” by the Israelis. Many others, including senior citizens, were also used by the Israelis. Shopkeepers were forced to quickly close their doors, and they, along with their customers, were detained inside during the eight hour siege. Journalists from the Associated Press, Arab News Network, and Reuters were among those targeted. Israeli forces also shot at the journalists they had not detained in order to prevent them from filming.

The 46 year old man who the Israelis “wanted” gave himself up to the occupation forces as Israeli bulldozers began demolishing his family home. Mohammad Abida was, according to the Israeli military, “wanted” for seven years for involvement in armed resistance operations wth Saraya Al Quds of Islamic Jihad.
Bethlehem / PNN – Throughout Monday night and into the early morning hours of Tuesday Israeli forces invaded several West Bank towns, arresting 17 Palestinians. The Israeli military took the men under the pretext that all were “wanted.”  Israeli forces stormed two East Jerusalem homes and detained residents before arresting 17 year old and a 20 year old. Witnesses report that the young men were beaten before being taken to unknown locations. In the home of one of those taken from the southern West Bank’s Hebron was a handgun and ammunition. In the northern West Bank’s Jenin Refugee Camp dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded several homes, a Palestinian security source confirmed. A large military force invaded Tulkarem City and its suburbs, arresting a member of the Palestinian National Security and a 22 year old man from a nearby refugee camp. Israeli forces also stormed Nablus City in the northern West Bank, coming from several directions and arresting a young man from a village just to the south. In the Gaza Strip Israeli warplanes filled the skies overnight with helicopters and reconnaissance planes circling the Al Shajaiyeh neighborhood east of Gaza City. Tanks fired three shells from the Nahal Oz Crossing, while soldiers opened heavy machine gun fire toward civilian properties along the eastern side of the Strip.


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