A Distressing Letter

Samia Nasir Khoury

See below this distressing letter from a prominent Christian grandmother in the Holy Land that was sent on October 18th. This news is especially concerning to MICAH and those of us who care about our Bethlehem family who are living in this increasingly violent and terrifying environment. Please keep our Bethlehem family in your prayers – every day.

Holy Land: Letter from 89 year-old grandmother
Oct 18th, 2022

Dear Friends - In the early hours of this morning the Israeli occupation forces, consisting of a troop of around 12 persons consisting of army and secret service, stormed my son's house after breaking the gate at the entrance of the compound in which we all live, so as to arrest his younger son Shadi Khoury, a sixteen-year-old child, a student at the Quakers Friends School in Ramallah. They beat him until he was bleeding all over the room and along the path on the way out of the house dragging him barefoot and blindfolded not allowing the parents to see where the blood was coming from. Shadi was taken to the interrogation section in the police compound called "the Russian compound".

Shadi, a child, is being "interrogated" without the presence of his parents or a lawyer, a tactic used systematically to terrorize children into submission, and ultimately using their own words to incriminate them. Shadi is a case among so many Palestinian children that are being harassed, tortured and imprisoned for no reason other than being a Palestinian seeking to live in dignity and freedom in their own country. As an 89-year-old grandmother who has lived through the Nakba, the 1967 war, the first and second intifadas, I continue to ask you my friends: "Until when will this grave injustice go on?" Because you care for human rights, and the rights of children, I am asking you to take action now and contact your parliament or congress representative, to put an end to these grave injustices especially against our children as well as our whole population living under a brutal military occupation. Shadi should not be sleeping in a prison cell. He is a child and should be home with his family. His Grandmother Samia Khoury

Samia Nasir Khoury is an author and a member of a distinguished Palestinian Christian family who founded one of the region’s top universities. She was born in Jaffa, Palestine, in 1933, graduated from Birzeit College, earned a BA degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and has a long record of public service, including serving on the board of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in East Jerusalem; on the board of trustees of Birzeit University; president of the YWCA; and addressing two UN Forums, in New York in 1996, and in Athens in 2000.

The violent treatment of her grandson is not rare. Each year, approximately 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. The most common charge is throwing stones at occupation soldiers. Often even this mild charge is untrue.