(en) Bethlehem Union of teachers & students seeks help

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Sun, 31 Aug 1997 16:10:35 +0000


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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Sun, 31 Aug 1997 15:21:52 -0700 (PDT) From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org> Subject: Bethlehem Union of teachers & students seeks help

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Subject: Press release from BU.

PRESS RELEASE

Bethlehem Continues to Suffer

Bethlehem has been under siege for the past 26 days. Traffic in and out of the city has been blocked. Staff members and students at Bethlehem University, as well as workers employed outside the city limits are being turned back at Israeli check points. Roads leading into the city are being obstructed with piles of rubble and concrete chunks. Access to the Holy Places has been denied to worshippers and pilgrims, thus also depriving the city from its main source of income, that is the tourist industry. The military closure is destroying the economy of the city. Food, and other necessary commodities are as well running dangerously low.

The Union of Teachers and Employees at Bethlehem University consider this latest act as a clear violation of the contents and spirit of the peace accords. As people dispossessed of their national rights, we look for peace, as a cherished aspiration and as a necessary step for development and prosperity. Unfortunately, such inhumane acts can only convey to us that the other party is set on destroying such a process and seeks a future of continuous wars and hate for the region.

Education is a recognized human right. Since imposition of this unjustified collective punishment, students and staff from outside the Bethlehem perimeter, forming some 70% of our student body and 30% of our staff, have been unable to reach the university. Summer courses, registration for the new academic year and all academic and cultural activities have been brought to a standstill resulting in lost teaching days, financial losses to our institution and missed opportunities to our students.

We together with all peace-loving nations of the world cheered, and looked forward for a peaceful region, a prerequisite for world stability, when the OSLO AGREEMENT was signed. This peace process is being destroyed gradually and this act of siege and starvation of the whole region is a very serious act of aggression which nobody should condone.

In brief, Bethlehem has been turned into a massive prison, without the prisoners' privilege of being fed by their jailers. We call upon academics, politicians, students, human organizations and members of diplomatic missions to use their influence and all means available to them to put an end to these violations and give our children a chance to live in a peaceful world .

The Executive Committee The Union of Teachers and Employees Bethlehem University

25 August, 1997

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