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Elias Deis | E.D. Holy Land Trust

Corona Virus hits Bethlehem - Second update

Dear Friend,
I write again with huge gratitude to all who responded to our first update as the Corona virus hit Bethlehem causing huge financial issues and considerable health concerns.
It was amazing to see a response to the crisis here from all around the world and it is wonderful to know that we are not forgotten but instead have the support and solidarity from so many people from so many different places.
However, this crisis is not going away quickly. We are glad that the American tourists who were quarantined at the Angel Hotel in Beit Jala have been allowed to go and take with them stories of warmth and hospitality from the people of Bethlehem who showered them with food and other essentials.
But there are now 34 confirmed cases in the city and Bethlehem is under lockdown. Some 100,000 people are stuck in their homes, only allowed to step outside for urgent or essential needs. These emergency measures have been implemented by the Palestinian Authority. The borders are all closed now and nobody can enter or leave the city.
Obviously, we at Holy Land Trust, are unable to continue our work and particularly we have lost many opportunities to connect with people around the world. We were expecting to host 100 people in March but instead we will have no pilgrims or visitors. Visitors and pilgrims are our main source of income and we do not have the income we need to pay salaries and keep the organisation running. None of us can travel and we have had to cancel attendances at conferences and speaking tours. Our Founder and Program Director, Sami Awad, was supposed to be in South Africa these days for a conference that was cancelled. The workshops on Healing Trauma and the new Environmental Justice Project, which is meant to resist the occupation by looking into its ecological damage is also on hold.
Speaking personally, I, Elias, was in Europe when the news broke that the Corona virus had come to Bethlehem. I was on my way to Germany  and was spending a few days in Bucharest before continuing my journey. Israel and Jordan placed Germany on their list of countries from which people would be prevented from entering the country so I was forced to cancel my speaking tour, travel back to Jordan and then to Bethlehem, knowing that I needed to get back before the borders between us and Jordan closed.
While I was in Bucharest I heard that my friend in Bethlehem had tested positive for the virus and was is quarantine at the Angel Hotel with another few friends who had negative test results. The Palestinian Ministry of Health requested every person who was in direct contact with them to get tested, I asked my parents in Bethlehem to do the test since we had dinner with my friend in my house on the day before I travelled to Bucharest.
I got home and was tested for the virus. Although the test was negative, I have 14 days home quarantine, which started on 10 March. I was so relieved my parents tested negative too.
While we struggle, we are thankfully better of than many others and we want to reach out to the most hard hit people in Bethlehem and raise money from our supporters for food and medical equipment.
These are some of the things that local people need urgently:
1- N95 respirators and surgical masks (face masks)
2- Disposable Face Masks Surgical Medical Dental Industrial
3- Hand sanitiser 70% alcohol
4- General sanitiser spray 70% alcohol
5- food boxes for people in home quarantine
6- vitamins ( C + D + Zinc)
7- Gloves
8- protective coverall for volunteers and doctors who are dealing with positive cases and people in home quarantine
Please help us to help others in Bethlehem at this difficult time. If your travel plans have been disrupted and you are stuck at home you might want to give a small amount of that expense as a donation to the people of Bethlehem and encourage others to do the same.
When we are all moving again we hope to welcome you to Bethlehem. We have exciting plans for Summer 2020 and into 2021 so we hope you can come to the Holy Lands soon – you know you will always receive a warm welcome and generous hospitality.

With thanks and best wishes
Elias D'eis
Executive Director
PROGRAMMING
At the heart of our work is personal transformation
We start the deep work of preparing a person for a journey of change.

Program Director Sami Awad

Trauma Healing

We believe in healing the historical traumas of this land.

PROGRAM DIRECTOR SAMI AWAD

Nonviolent Activism

In the face of structural oppresssion, we must stand in unity to usher in a new future of peace and justice.

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