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Letter from Palestine

Palestinians in the West Bank are mourning the horrific loss of life for their countrymen in Gaza as it continues. Israeli raids, killings and assaults are also ongoing in the occupied territories. And yet, with amazing generosity, they still remember American friends at Christmas. This was received from a close friend in the West Bank on December 12:

My dear Susan,

As I write you this message, I hear news of the death of 180 children today. Each person's share of drinking water is less than half a liter per day, and their share of food is less than a third of their needs. There is no shelter for more than one and a half million people, and they sleep in the streets and on sidewalks, enduring the freezing night without a home, cover, or warmth.

Various dangerous diseases threaten the lives of tens of thousands of wounded individuals who have not received treatment. The spread of skin and viral diseases has become inevitable as vaccinations have stopped.

Christmas returns to Gaza this year, but without children, homes, or families—they have all perished. Bethlehem returns without joy, gifts for children, or a song for peace in the cradle of Christ. The bells of the Resurrection in Jerusalem mourn the companion of its path, the Dome of the Rock, which used to sparkle in golden attire every Friday after prayers were banned in it. Even this year, I haven't seen the Christmas tree decorating the entrance of Nablus as I used to.

Despite the sadness, destruction, and suffering we experience in Palestine, we rejoice for the laughter of children in this world. We wish all our friends a Merry Christmas and a blessed, happy New Year. 

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