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Franciscan Friary,
St.Francis Str.1,





Date: 5.10.2005
Source: Custody of the Holy Land

Dear friends,
Peace and all Good.
This week a number of Palestinians has been killed again. We need to observe carefully in order to know what is going on. That Hamas promised to stop to shoot with Qassem rockets and mortars. This makes evident that it is Hamas who wants to show how powerful it is. But it costs Palestinian lives, which makes no sense. But this isn’t all. Also the wall shows it. Near Rachel’s tomb the Palestinians have been thrown back from the checkpoint to behind the wall. They aren’t any longer allowed to come near Tantur and to try to reach Jerusalem (beside a young friend from Al Doha, who succeeded last Saturday to reach the old city of Jerusalem in order to sell some sweet.) The bus connection from Jerusalem to the checkpoint is now going further unto the wall with a new, but temporary stop. The final stop will be the new terminal, when it is opened. On this way Israel steal a part of Bethlehem for Jerusalem.
Another sign for the development is the summer/wintertime. Last years the summer/wintertime began in Jordan, Israel and Palestine on three different dates. This spring the three countries began on the same date, but now with the wintertime it is again on different dates.
With the youth house there is some progress. The women are working hard and think more and more about how to go on and how to take responsibility. Now I have to support them in order that their process of learning develops well. They see also more the difficulties and that is precisely what I want. The concrete experiences make it easier to go on, but problems will remain as it is normal and usual.
I got from miss Kathy Tycz, Washington DC, who helped me a lot during my stay in the States good news. We visited at that time the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee. She got an invitation for a dinner together with important people. One of the other people, who attended the dinner gave her his business card and promised computers for the youth house. I suppose that soon we will get this equipment for the youth house.
As final responsible for the youth house I have sometimes to deal with less convenient problems. Before I left Palestine for my trip there was a new volunteer. Soon I discovered that he likes to control everything. I warned him already for this behaviour. During my absence there were problems, especially between him and Asma, who replaced me. Last week I spoke with him about these problems. I told him that first he must change his behaviour before he can return. He was not pleased and I was not amused.
To deal with another culture is not always easy and is a challenge. I have to take in account the differences. But also the opposite is important. I am not a Palestinian, which means, that the Palestinians can’t treat me as a Palestinian. Sometimes they forget this. Then they have a problem, because I don’t react as a Palestinian. Moreover I have meanwhile a lot of experiences in my life. Young Palestinians don’t have these experiences.
Last week, when I went out of the monastery a young Palestinian called me my name. I went to him and asked him how he is. His answer was: very fine. Then we talked further and he told me that his heart was crying. He is from Gaza and he didn’t see his family since five years, since the beginning of the second Intifada. It was like more happened. People don’t say always how they feel really. It costs time and trust before it is possible to say how really it is.
Further I had a good meeting with the head of the SOS children village, founded by a German man, Hermann Gmeinder and with a German peace worker, a woman who has to deal with the different position between men and women in the Palestinian society. Luckily I know some Palestinian women, who have to deal with the same problem, who can be helpful.
Sometimes the cell phone connection doesn’t well function. My friend Michael tried to phone me several days with success. This is one of the inconveniences in the daily life. There are worse things to deal with.

Greetings from Bethlehem, Louis

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