Israeli and Intl. peace activists inside Beit Jala
[This report is based on telephone contact with Neta Golan]
A group of Israeli, American, German and French peace activists of the "International Solidarity" group have succeeded in entering the part of Beit Jala occupied by Israeli troops where a curfew has been declared.
They are engaged in delivering food to people who are imprisoned in their houses.
"Upon hearing of the flareup and the invasion of the town, we decided to go to Beit Jala immediately" says Neta Golan, an Israeli member of the group, who had already spent some time in Beit Jala after the outbreak of the initifada and established contact with many of the Palestinians living there.
She and ten others of the group arrived first at the Beit Jala Town Hall, in the area still unoccupied. They offered the mayor and the town's Emergency Committee their help.
"We were told that inhabitants in the occupied zone are under curfew, with electricity cut off and essential supplies running out.
We loaded a car with bread, powdered milk and medicines and set out. Near Beit Jala's Greek Orhtdox Club we encountered Israeli tanks and troops, who forbade us from going on.
We took up the supplies and advanced on foot. The soldiers pointed their guns at us, but when we continued walking they didn't shoot.
Since noon we have been going around the occupied area delivering supplies to the houses. The people are very nervous, after two days of being imprisoned in their homes and hearing shooting outside, and having no idea how long it will last."
Members of the group are determined to stay on in Beit Jala and continue their humanitarian help until Israeli forces withdraw from the town. Neta Golan and others group members can be contacted via the following numbers: 054-837457 / 052-642709 / 052-481261 / 052-290173 / 052-595319 / 052-299310 / 02-2772018.
(NB: the electricity cut-off makes recharging batteries problematic; if a number is cut off, try the others).