Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wow - two posts in one day. It's been hard to concentrate today because of the bulldozer attack. Here is a letter I sent to the editor of The Denver Post:

I read again with horror that a construction vehicle was used to terrorize citizens of Jerusalem. This is the second attack since I returned in June from a trip to Israel and Palestine to meet with peace groups. In a sad irony, the “construction truck” weapon used in the attack bears an uncanny resemblance to the bulldozers that destroy Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, where 300 homes have been demolished by bulldozers since 2004. We saw many such homes. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions reports that an additional 22,000 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem have demolition orders because they are built without permits. When Palestinians apply for permits, they are rarely granted, but Palestinians build anyway because they need a place to live. Today’s story contrasts sharply with your June 1 article announcing plans for 900 new homes in East Jerusalem—homes for Israeli citizens, apparently with permits, in traditionally Palestinian East Jerusalem, where Palestinian residents cannot get permits. This in no way excuses the violence, but it helps explain the despair of many Palestinians who never know when the bulldozers will come to destroy their homes. Let’s end the use of bulldozers as weapons—on all sides.

I also just received news from Sam Bahour in Ramallah, who points out that the bulldozer story is not the only story of violence in Jerusalem today. Two Palestinian workers were severely beaten while they were shopping for construction supplies. As they ran from a mob of about 100 Haredim, thought to be yeshiva students, they found shelter with a Jewish family that was sitting shiva in their garden. The young men then threatened the family. The Palestinians escaped and were treated for their injuries at the hospital. Read more in the Jerusalem Post: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1215331061642&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

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