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LETTERS FROM TAYBEH ON THE GAZA CRISIS – JULY AND AUGUST 2014

Transfiguration - Divine Light

Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,

May you have a blessed Holy Transfiguration Day.  Our church celebrates 13 days later on the Old Calendar. We hope the love of God will help to transfigure the total hate that is in the air right now in Israel/Palestine. This horrific attack on Gaza has created a new generation of hate.  What can these thousands of children who have seen their parents killed and houses destroyed think of Israel?  Most of the life time injuries include so many children without legs, or arms, completely traumatized.

 Today we had a memorial service for Jalileh (the first Christian woman in our extended family killed in Gaza).

Just to explain to you the craziness of the permit system and lack of freedom for Palestinians; her husband George, 70 years old, only 25 minutes away at the Jerusalem hospital accompanying his son at the ICU, could not attend his wife’s memorial service in her family village because the permit from  Israel is only limited to go from Gaza to the hospital.  Please know, I found this to be a bizarre rule that you will receive permission to travel  but cannot go anywhere but the hospital.

 It was forbidden for him (according to his permit) to go into the Old City of Jerusalem and  pray at the Holy Life Giving Tomb of Christ.  At any rate, I called him on the phone so he can be comforted with the beautiful chanting during the service.  May his wife rest in peace.

 As we had this memorial service on Tuesday, August 5th, we hope a ceasefire will remain in Gaza after 29 days of brutal attacks that have left 1,875 people killed and 9,563 injured; 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed. Hamas continued to fire rockets in Israel non stop.  (if the siege on Gaza is lifted it will be considered a victory).

Another UN school was bombed Sunday, (three schools in total, in addition to hospitals, ambulances, mosques) finally having a statement of moral outrage from the international community that this is a criminal act.  This war will continue and there will be another war unless the whole world stands up and tells Israel to end the military occupation.

 As many people are carrying on their regular lives in all corners of the world, the Gaza strip is a total  hell and a total humanitarian disaster.  There are whole neighborhoods that have been flattened out, lack of water, electricity, medical supplies and food.

 People are struggling to dig out the bodies of the dead, hospitals struggling to cope with the bloodshed and death, and shelters struggling to cope with the hundreds of thousands attempting to seek refuge.  There are more than 270,000 displaced people.

 When I visit our cousin in the hospital, the lucky 30 children that got a permit for treatment in Jerusalem are all either with missing legs, arms, or brain dead.  But I have seen everyone, both Christian and Muslim come and express solidarity with moral and financial support.  May our Lord have mercy!

Thank you for your prayers, in Christ, Maria

  When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 

when slandered, we speak kindly. (1 Corinthians 4:12-13)

 Question of Contemplation

HOW MANY MOTHERS WILL IT TAKE?

Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.

As we enter August 2014, my Church will enter a very special time of fasting and prayer for the Holy Mother of God, the Theotokos for the Holy Dormition, the Falling Asleep of the Virgin Mary (Aug 15/28).  “You gave birth to the Salvation of the world, through which we were uplifted from earth to heights…Hail! O Ever-Blessed, Pure One, shelter and strength; rampart and fortress to those who sing: “Praise the Lord all His works and exalt Him in all the ages.”  (Akathist Hymn)

At this same moment in time, here in the Holy Land we have entered a slaughter of the worst kind where over 7,000 people are seriously injured and traumatized.  The brutal Israeli attacks on Gaza have just turned into a massacre because over 1300 people have been killed most of them mothers and children.  Maybe this tragedy will stop if the mothers of the 59 Israeli soldiers tell Israel to stop the bloodbath right now because unfortunately the American administration is not and wants to increase military support to Israel beyond 3.1 billion annually.  Everyone says that Israel has a right to defend itself but does that mean a new holocaust for Palestinians?  The churches in Gaza cannot handle any more people sleeping on the floor because the homeless and displaced are becoming over 200,000 people.  The UN is paying a very high price with the killings of several of their staff because Israel keeps attacking schools where families try to find shelter.

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Today (July 30) as I write this reflection another UN school was  attacked killing 16 children; in the same day the attack on the open market killed 17 people including two Palestinian journalists.  This is one of the worst humanitarian disasters as Israel is using the excuse that it wants to stop HAMAS firing rockets.  But it is a pretext for disproportionate military force.  How many mothers does Palestine have to give to gain freedom and uplift the siege on Gaza. HAMAS is a “terrorist” organization in Israeli eyes but it is the only resistance movement Palestine has on the ground to fight for their just cause.  Why doesn’t  anyone understand that Gaza is an open air prison and the people have been asking for freedom over 47 years with the international community forgetting about them.  Israel controls the boarders, the air and the sea.  They have made the place a living hell on earth.

I have been very disturbed with the hate that is building in our society ever since July 8th when the violence intensified between Israel and Palestine.  The signs that say “Death to Arabs” and the signs in Jerusalem that say in Hebrew “There are no innocent people in Gaza,” are shocking.  When the Israeli people hold signs in the middle of Tel Aviv that say “there are no children in Gaza,” it should be alarming to the world since we have over 250 dead kids in the last 21 days.

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I am not sure how any of the children left in Gaza can ever achieve peace in their hearts when they see so much destruction around them and when we have so many examples of the five year old little girl that saw her mother and father blow up in pieces and everyone in her family died but she was one of the very few to be able to get a permit and receive medical help in Jordan.  These children are just traumatized for life. Why can’t Israel open the borders and let all the injured receive help in the West Bank hospitals that are willing to treat them.  I am outraged that my sister-in-law spent two days on the phone calling everyone she knew in order to help her cousin Jeries (Jeries means George in Arabic ) get medical care while his body is 80% burned and his left leg and right foot have been cut off. What annoyed me the most is the Israeli rules that if you are under 45 years of age you automatically cannot get a permit to travel thus his brother Anton (Tony) was not able to accompany him to the Jerusalem hospital.  Jeries has had three strokes and has less than 20% chance to survive with over eight doctors helping him fight for his life.  He needs all of his family members at this critical time.

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The family has no other brothers, no sisters and the mother, Jalileh was killed on the spot in the Israeli attack on their home, Sunday, July 27th making her the first Christian mother to be buried in Gaza.  She is originally from Taybeh, and has spent all her married life in Gaza, where life before the 1967 Israeli occupation was relatively average.  The elderly special needs father was forced to accompany Jeries to the St. Joseph’s Hospital with only a 24 hour permit where only seven children (out of thousands) were the lucky ones to get out of Gaza for medical treatment;  but one of them died in the emergency room, two seven year olds are brain dead, and one in intensive care with his leg cut off.  One of the nurses said in Arabic “Where is Obama to come and see?  Sister Valentine said:  “How can man be so cruel and destructive?”  The senior UN official said:  “The world should hang its head with shame,” for letting Israel get away with human rights violations.

America_the_great_satan?

 Jeries’ father is extremely traumatized that the only thing he could tell anyone that come from the Christian community to visit him including the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Archbishop Theodosius (Attala Hanna) “I am not Hamas, I am not Fatah, what did I do to them?” He cries with every phone call and continues to talk about his wife Jalileh and the eggplant dish she was preparing when the house was bombed. He has lost everything but has a very deep faith in God.

Have you seen the evil face of Israel?  How many more dead mothers will it take to see it?  Does it make sense to you that 1.8 million people are locked up like in a cage.

“…incline Your ear O pure One and save us from sinking in sorrows; and preserve Your City O Theotokos from every siege of the enemies.”

I pray all of you will have a blessed Holy Dormition fast and please do not be fooled by your local media in thinking we are all terrorists.  Please pray for peace in our world so we may see the Light of Christ in a land that has seen only darkness.Have a peaceful, blessed great day today!

Destroyed Jaleel home in Gaza

 (Dr. Maria Khoury is a writer based in Taybeh, Palestine in the Israeli Occupied West Bank. She is an author and writer and can be reached by email at khourymaria@hotmail.com or atwww.saintgeorgetaybeh.org.)

Gaza bombing victims

25/07/2014

Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,

 The bloodshed continues in Gaza where today another UN school came under attack while hundreds of people were receiving shelter.  This is the fourth UN building to be fired upon.  A huge disaster and people were angry to be attacked in a place that was suppose to be safe.

The churches in Gaza are overflowing with women and children since there are over  120,000 displaced people in this terrible violence between Israel and Hamas.  A cease fire is nowhere in sight because Hamas is asking for the siege to be uplifted on Gaza.

This evening we have had a turning point in the war where major clashes have taken place for many hours between protesters in solidarity with Gaza and the Israeli police at the Kalandia checkpoint which crosses from Ramallah into Israel.  The protest turned violent when the Israeli army fired live ammunition killing two protester and wounding over 50 others.

The next few days will be critical to reveal if this will be the 3rd uprising. It is the biggest protest that has taken place in a decade. Thousands of people are angry and fed up with the Israeli occupation and expressed it by throwing rocks at the soldiers.

 It is not shocking to me that during the emergency UN meeting yesterday in Geneva, the United States was the only country to vote “no” for an international investigation into human rights violations in Gaza.

 Seven out of the thirteen hospitals in Gaza have severe damage and the Home for the Disabled was bombed killing two special needs women.  The El Wafa hospital was bombed (July 17) twice  destroying seven million dollars worth of essential medical equipment.  The major power plant was bombed.  A humanitarian disaster has unfolded since July 8th when Gaza came under fire and Hamas keeps shooting rockets into Israel.

The Al Jazeera News office was also attacked yesterday; 12 ambulances have been destroyed.

 More than 800 Palestinians have been killed mostly women and children. Over fifty families have been entirely wiped out where all members have died.  This is a slaughter.

The saddest story is the four boys ages 7-11 years old  killed (July 16) on the beach while playing soccer. They were fired upon twice by air and by sea. So tragic!

 32 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 3 civilians.

May our Lord have mercy!

 I sincerely thank John Maddex for offering me a voice on Ancient Faith Radio.

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/features/crisis_in_the_holy_land

 America the Grim Reaper of Christianity

Please forgive me for this very political email and I beg you to pray for peace in the world. What has happened to Christians in Iraq, Egypt and Syria is part of the master plan to clean the Middle East of Christians so that Israel can be viewed as the only democracy in the Middle East with the heavy American dollars supporting it.  The whole campaign to “get the terrorists” has created more fundamental and fanatic MuslimsThis is the new face of the Middle East that has gone back one thousand years in time.

 Who really governs America or the UN?

Trust in the Lord. Have faith, do not despair. Trust in the Lord. Psalm 27:14

With the love of Christ from the Holy Land that is full of bloodshed,

Maria

 Dr Maria C Khoury

Norwegian doctor Max Gilbert in Gaza speaks of what he sees in treating injured

Must watch video: Woman thought her son was dead and now sees him.

Unfortunately more than 150 woman were not that lucky and many other mothers died with their children.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=705916786151892&set=vb.119605611449682&type=2&theater

Dozens feared dead as Israel shells UN shelter in Beit Hanoun
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=715952

Diary of Haidar Eid from Gaza: A day in Gaza under Israeli attack.
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/07/diary-an-israeli-war-2014721102859370216.html

Tell US President and Congress to stop helping criminal violations of human rights
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/301/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16124&supporter_Key=%5B%5Bsupporter_KEY%5D%5D

Israel assassination of relief workers: A video that shows war crime
http://gawker.com/graphic-video-shows-sniper-shooting-a-relief-worker-on-1608373229/+aweinstein

932,000 signed this petition to end the so called “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/israel_palestine_this_is_how_it_ends_loc/?bHjxFbb&v=42738

Stop arming Israel
http://www.bdsmovement.net/stoparmingisrael

Israeli citizens to the EU: Pressure Israel to accept Hamas’ terms of truce
http://www.eccpalestine.org/israeli-citizens-to-the-eu-pressure-israel-to-accept-hamas-terms-of-truce/

Gaza being bombed

9/07/2014

Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,

 The terrible escalation of violence continues between Israel and Palestine with no end to Israeli bombings all night long in Gaza and Hamas firing rockets into Israel.  It appears with 40,000 Israeli soldiers called that all options for a large scale invasion are on the table. Unfortunately what Israel is calling “Operation Protective Edge” has continued a devastating bombardment destroying many homes and hurting innocent people.  This sharpest escalation of violence includes hundreds of rockets fired from Hamas reaching Jerusalem and over 230 Israeli air and sea strikes leaving Gaza completely devastated this morning with the hospitals not being able to care for the injured.

 In my opinion, this is the collective punishment that the people must endure for the unity reconciliation agreement made last month between Hamas and Fatah, our two political parties in the Palestinian Authority. Israel does not want peace but rather wants to see us in “pieces.” Let us pray that our Lord will have mercy!

 I can only repeat what one Palestinian man said following the complete destruction of his home where 12 children lived:

From God we came and to God we will return.”

Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. 

This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 Palestinian flag raised in defiance

04/07/2014

Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,

I want to wish all of my American friends a Happy 4th of July.  As you celebrate a great Independence Day,I  pray and hope one day we will also celebrate a Free Palestine.  May God help us with the political heart-attack we have had recently going back to violence, collective punishment and a horrific escalation of racism.

 On Tuesday it was such a lovely hot day in Jerusalem (and a happy Canada Day also) where I had the great blessing to pray at the Holy Sepulchre and light candles at the Holy Life Giving Tomb of Christ.

But, I woke up the next day thinking that a war broke out following the riots and clashes for the kidnapping, killing and burning the body of a Palestinian teenager left in a Jerusalem forest.  This terrible revenge killing happened for the tragic murder of the three young Israeli settlers who were kidnapped June 12th.  My heart breaks for all the mothers in this drama who can never have their child return home.

 Although Israel is blaming  HAMAS (the Islamic political party that won the Palestinian elections in 2006) for the killings of the Israeli teenagers, to my experience living here, HAMAS is so proud to declare and keep Israelis hostage in order  to ask for more Palestinian prisoners to be released.

So, HAMAS has not claimed responsibility and there is something wrong with  the kidnapping of the Israeli teenagers immediately following the news that the political parties in Palestine made a unity reconciliation agreement that angered Israel.

The manipulation of the local and international media has created another excuse to crush the Palestinian people and bomb the  heck out of Gaza.  

 And for sure, any rockets that HAMAS has in GAZA were fired over the boarder and hit Israel.  So we are back to the same game that hurts innocent people, “a tit for tat..an eye for an eye… and if you scratch me..I will crush you..”

Thus the blood bath has began one more time in the very land where Christians, Muslims, and Jews need to tolerate each other to co-exist. But who will be a loud voice for a just peace?

If you have time for alternative news about Gaza burning Max Blumenthal is interviewed on RT by Abby Martin:

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