Bethlehem lives in fear

Source: FSSPX News


The Catholic University of Bethlehem denounces the mass punishments inflicted on civilians.

In a communiqué on 10th January, signed by vice-chancellor Brother Vincent Malham, on behalf of the university at Bethlehem, it was emphasised that the town, reoccupied by the Israelis, is once again under curfew, imposed in a haphazard fashion, and that it has become almost impossible to complete the term’s work and organise examinations. Between 22nd November and 22nd December, writes Br. Vincent Malham, the population of Bethlehem suffered a 24 hours per day curfew, with military road blocks and arrests during 21 full days, and a partial curfew for 9 days. When the international media were focusing their attention on the situation in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, around Christmas, the curfew was totally lifted for 8 days, with a partial lifting for 2 days, from 22nd to 31st December.

Psychological pressure

As soon as the international media turned their backs, the mass punishment measures were resumed with greater intensity.The lifting of the curfew is announced by the Israeli army, who then immediately revoke it, causing fear and panic in the streets. “It is another form of psycological punishment, which exacerbates an already intolerable situation caused by the last reoccupation of Bethlehem,” said Malham, a Brother of the Christian schools. Day after day, since the beginning of the year, no sooner is the curfew lifted than it is reimposed. “No reason is given to justify these measures; tanks drive through the streets of the town, and soldiers with loudspeakers shout the order for people not to leave their houses.”

“These punitive actions, that the Israeli army continues to impose on innocent Palestinians - families, women, schoolchildren, workers - and the devastating effect of this constant inhuman treatment are having terrible consequences. A whole population is being humiliated, beaten to the ground; child malnutrition is increasing; the legitimate right of thousands of young people to an education is being tragically compromised; on the rare occasions when people are free to move, many hours are wasted waiting at the Israeli military road blocks; people’s morale is broken….they are rendered incapable of having any control over their own lives,” we read in this anguished appeal of the American religious.