Dear Erik and Ralph,
The situation at the moment in Bethlehem and other places in West Bank is very bad and violent.
Most of the nights I do not go to bed before 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning. There are so much violence around and home searches goes every night. So I remain awake to calm the girls and waiting for when the Israeli soldiers will knock at the home for home search.
This night loudspeakers in mosques in area started at 2:00 am to ask people to go to hospitals to give/ contribute with blood because of hundreds of people injured. Blood bank in west bank does not have enough to help injured people.
Our construction project (building facilities for children with special need, Funded by UAE Gulf 4 Good) in HFS has major delay because of this situation; contractor cannot work because of shootings, settlers attacks and violence in the area. As you may know the school is opposing on e of the large settlements in the area, there daily demonstrations and clashes in the area with Israeli army. The school is literally on front line!
I am very concerned about next school year and the number of students. In 2000 after clashes and shelling of HFS building by Israeli tank, so many students left the school. Parents found the school is unsafe place for their children. Until this moment we do not have students left, the school is in summer vacation.
Our psycho-social support program and trauma counseling will continue in few days after some break in Ramadan. We expect an intense time for the program and for psychologists especially after such wave of violence.
Hopefully the situation will be more or less normalized in a few weeks. There will come a moment when the advantages of stopping the war for both parties will be greater than the advantages of continuing. Maybe they run out of rockets and anti-rocket missiles. Then it is probable that violence in the WestBank also will diminish. Let us hope for the best. Ik admire your courage and resilience. Give my love also to the family. We’ll pray for you.
Erik van Praag