Letter from Bethlehem


 This is from Georgina Mortimer, who heads up (in the UK) the work of ABCD, Action around Bethlehem Children with Disability. ABCD works with and for children in the West Bank and Gaza who have physical, mental and psychological disabilities. Their main centre is in Beit Jala. Dear friends As I write this message, helicopter gun ships are hovering over Beit Jala and Beit Sahour. One car in B Sahour has already been attacked and all occupants killed. Rima and Nicola, ABCD's children's services co ordinators, managed to visit a centre in Obedieh this morning, feeling that it was reasonably safe - but they have just phoned into the BASR centre to say that they are stuck there with helicopters overhead. This daytime attack is quite unprecedented on this scale in these areas and quite unexpected. They have, however, been warned that tonight will see even heavier attacks on Beit Jala - this in itself is as confusing as it is worrying as yesterday the staff at BASR told me that there had been an agreement, made in Egypt between Arafat & Barak, specifically NOT to shell Beit Jala. Please keep them in your prayers - for the first time today I heard a real sense of despair. Up until now they have focused their attention on the head injured patients in their care - at this moment they are paralysed by the hopelessness of it all. Georgina

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