Support for communities in Bethlehem coordinated by Rojer Salameh
Families in Bethlehem already challenged by the occupation now face the devastating effects of the pandemic and escalating conflict. We have seen scenes of a deserted Bethlehem in lockdown. Rojer Salameh a volunteer at the Franciscan Youth Group in Bethlehem has identified ways we can directly help the community in Bethlehem and is coordinating this support. He has suggested:
1. Offering food baskets to the needy and vulnerable families coordinating this with the parish priest.
2. Helping supply medicine to the elderly.
3. Organising two cultural and sociable events with the youth and children of the church.
4. Visiting the elderly women at one of the charity organisations in Bethlehem bringing them gifts.
Rojer explains, “Bethlehem, the cradle of Christianity, is empty of tourism, dead economically and the poorest city in Palestine. Poverty and unemployment are increasing. There is no government unemployment support. There have only been a few initiatives to distribute food mostly to those with covid infection. Christians are in urgent need of support otherwise there will be no Christians anymore. Dead stones with no living stones.” He describes life in conflict, “Every evening when the conflict escalates, and clashes occur with the Israeli soldiers at the seam areas and the separation wall, we hear the bullets, and the tear gas reaches our house. We close all the windows it feels as if we are in prison” …
“We remain in hope that the situation will improve, we will live in peace and the occupation will end. Please keep us in your prayers. My warm heartfelt greetings and prayers to all at St Mary’s Cathedral.”