Holy Land: military incursions block Catholic aid delivery

 Caritas Jerusalem was prevented from delivering equipment to children in the town of Zababdeh north of Ramallah last week. On Thursday, Caritas Jerusalem planned to deliver 1,250 school kits to students in their schools and colleges. The action was supposed to be one of the final steps in a health campaign for 5000 Palestinian students, supported by Caritas France and ECHO (European Commission of Humanitarian Aid). Previous deliveries had been cleared by the Israeli District Coordination Office, but this time the parish priest in Zababdeh informed Caritas that because of heavy shooting and curfew the delivery would be impossible. He said most students had been unable to leave their homes to get to school. On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers made an incursion with tanks and jeeps and imposed a curfew. The Latin Patriarchate School was opened Wednesday morning - for those able reach it. But when shooting started hundreds of children were trapped in their school. Parish priest Fr Abuna Aktham, persuaded the soldiers to let the children go home. On Thursday a 60 year-old woman was woken up by shooting, got out of bed and was hit in the head by a stray bullet. She was taken to hospital where she is now said to be recovering well. The curfew was lifted on Friday. But whether there is free access or not to the town is still not clear. Tanks and jeeps are still roaming the streets and people are afraid they could attack at any time. Tomorrow, Caritas Jerusalem will carry out its last school kit distribution in the health campaign to all students in Zababdeh. That is, to those students who manage to reach school.

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