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Franciscan Friary,
St. Francis Str. 1,



Date: 15.2.2005
Source: Custody of the Holy Land

Bethlehem 13 February 2005
Dewar friends,
Peace and all Good.
Last Sunday I was in Jerusalem to celebrate the name day of the custos representing the community. It was a meal with more people from elsewhere and a pleasant meeting. When I went to Jerusalem it was rather dry, but when I returned it was very wet like the whole week was very wet, necessary for the land. Yesterday it was even worse which a shower of hail. The road became white and the traffic was disrupted. I was in a service taxi and saw what happened. But when we passed a small hill there was almost no hail and no problems for the traffic.
Last Friday there were more students than the week before. We have to split the group in two parts: the weak and the average talented. Especially for English the teenagers of the 10th and 11th need improvement. Some don’t know what is right: I don’t know or I doesn’t know.
There are also some students for their final exam, who want some support. Now it is the time to start also other activities.
My friend Michael, who drove the teachers back home, had a nice moment. He started to speak in English with the teacher English. Then he, mr. Elias Tweime, asked where he studied, maybe at the Bethlehem university. Then he told him that he is illiterate. Just before mr. Tweime had taught students he couldn’t speak English at all.
We get now the permits for the youth house as an educational institute thanks to for the most Mohammad Issa, who did a good job. Further we had contact with a secondary school. The head of this school like to cooperate with us in order to improve the quality of the knowledge of the students. He offered us teachers for free. This will be very helpful for the split of the students.
In order to understand the low quality of the students the following: many of them follow the secondary school as preparation for the university. It is the school not allowed to have more than 3% of students who fail a year. It means that only one can get the same year again. Further the class rooms are overcrowded until about 40. The only solution is to build more schools with more well educated teachers. But this costs money.
Last Friday I had with my friend Tamer a good talk. He compared the present situation in Palestine with the animal farm by George Orwell, famous with: 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others' referring to the former Soviet Union. Father Amjad, whom I told this, agreed. Tamer sent also an email with the following text: do you think i will be able to talk about our suffering in the coming days, or abu mazen will say "dont! its not useful any more, stop it!"? Tamer told me also that since the summit in Sharm el Sheich there are four Palestinians killed by Israelis. The Palestinians answered with mortar shooting and Qassem rockets. In the Dutch media only the last was mentioned, not the previous killing. I am curious how the reports were in other countries.
I visited Jack and Mona yesterday. Their life is very hard because of her illness: multiple sclerosis. She needs a medicine, which is very expensive and necessary, but has as effect also that she becomes depressive. How to deal with this problem?
In northern Israel there was a row between Christian Arabs and Druses. The background is that Christian Arab youngsters manipulated pictures of Druze girls and put them as naked on the internet. The retaliation was pitting in fire of cars and shops. The Israeli police waited with interfering in order to stop the riot as far I have heard.
Sometimes there is also fun. Last Wednesday I was at a point where busses and taxis drive to other places. There were some teenagers from Al Doha. They know me now and one of them referred to the others saying: crazy. My reaction was asking him: Rebby, which means idiot? The other boys laughed.
Meanwhile I am also busy for the conference about the Human Rights in Geneva next month. Who like to read the report of the special reporter of the UN, can look at the website http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/sessions/61/lisdocs.htm <http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/sessions/61/lisdocs.htm> . I have also the answer of Israel, but I don’t have the website. Who wants it, let me know it. Greetings from Bethlehem Louis

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