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Franciscan Friary,
St.Francis Str.1,





Date: 24.10.2005
Source: Custody of the Holy Land

Bethlehem 23 October 2005

Dear friends,

Peace and all Good.
I will focus on what happened on Wednesday the last week. The day started with a blood red sunrise, a sign for the coming rain that day, which meant the beginning of the winter season. There was that day unusually much rain.

In the morning I went to Jerusalem and I visited my friend in West Jerusalem. Then I returned and went to a family near Rachel’s tomb. I had heard that Israel should start the building of the wall in front of the home of two families. Indeed, a part of the wall already finished, five meters before the house thanks to the court in Israel. Otherwise the wall should be built three meters before the house.

I stay there for a couple of hours for moral support. I couldn’t do something more. I made a picture of the situation, which I send together with this mail.

This kind of situations happens more on the West bank. The Palestinian Authority doesn’t want that the people negotiate with Israel about such a thing, because it should mean recognition, that Israel can steal land from Palestine. The Palestinian Authority wants that the people stay there where they live, they have to pay a high price, for which the PA must give them some compensation. Otherwise they will feel them abandoned.

When I returned home I passed the room of father Amjad, who as parish priest is involved with this situation. I could directly speak with him and told him about what I saw and heard.
At the dinner there was also the board of one of the German Franciscan provinces, the Saxonia. They visit a whole week in order to see how the reality is. Father Amjad informed them about the situation in Bethlehem. They spoke also with the custos and visited other places.

I visited this week my friend Michael, who can’t do anything. He doesn’t have a license to sell something in order to earn some money for his family. It is a hard time for him. I told him, that I had spoken with my friend Purwanto about him and especially about his talent, that he speaks very well English on an adult level, although he can’t read and write. He felt himself blandished. He showed also to me, that he can speak a little bit Spanish, Italian and French. He is talented for languages!

The report about the killing of Hariri is a good job done by the German prosecutor. It is remarkable how much information he gathered. Nevertheless it is sad what the impact could be. The involvement of the Syrian administration could lead to the fall of Assad. A possible consequence is that in that case in Syria will happen the same as now is going on in Iraq and the same in Lebanon because of the involvement of important persons of the Lebanon society. Jordan lies between Iraq and Syria.

To understand something more about how people deal with the reality: my friend Wisam his girl friend was insulted by a student at the university in Abu Dis near Jerusalem. A fight followed, but Wisam had to deal with more than ten other students. He was hit near his eye. According him he has the right to revenge with violence without further punishment. Another point is that according to the law men are adult when they are 18, but women only if they are 21.

This week I had a meeting with the Arab Educational Institute, for which I worked some years, in order to cooperate with my youth house. A part of the cooperation could be the relation between Christians and Muslims. I hope that it will be a successful cooperation.

Greetings from Bethlehem, Louis

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