The Heavy Bombardment of Bethlehem City

The Heavy Bombardment of Bethlehem City



Since the beginning of Al-Aqsa Intifada (28th of September 2000), Israel has escalated military actions against Palestinian civilians in different areas of Palestine. Israel has commenced a policy of bombardment using heavy machine guns and artillery power against the residents of Palestinian cities, villages and camps. Never in the history of the occupation has this type of military assault been suffered by the Palestinian people; see map.


On April 2nd 2001, the 19-year-old Israeli soldier Sergeant Danny Deri, from Arad, was killed during fire exchanges between Palestinian and Israeli forces at Rachel's Tomb, near the northern entrance of Bethlehem. Immediately, Israeli tanks commenced to pound the sources of Palestinian gunfire in Bethlehem city. The bombardment hit 'Ayda and Al-'Aze (Beit Jebreen) Refugee Camps, the Paradise Hotel (on the outskirts of Bethlehem), and the Palestinian Interior Ministry. According to Al-Quds newspaper, nine Palestinians suffered moderate and severe wounds as a result of the bombardment.

The gun battle continued for more than an hour, abated for a short period, then resumed for another hour. During the fire exchange, the tunnel road that leads to Israeli settlements in Bethlehem and Hebron was closed, in addition to all roads leading from Bethlehem to the surrounding Palestinian villages. This bombardment was the heaviest shelling incident that Bethlehem has been exposed to since the beginning of Al-Aqsa Intifada.

By striking these locations, Israel has revealed its intention to paralyze most sectors of Palestinian activity, such as the tourist sector and the Ministries of the Palestinian Authority. ARIJ fieldworkers visited the affected and bombarded sites to record the damages. Below is the information gathered by ARIJ fieldworkers of the damaged houses in Bethlehem city.

Location of the house

# of affected houses



House/s close to the Palestinian Interior Ministry


1.     Abdallah Shamiyeh

2.     Sleibi family

3.     Hazboun family

1.     Hit by three missiles, causing material damages, in addition to the destruction of the family's car.

2.     Material damages.

3.     Material damages.

House/s in Al-'Aze (Beit Jebreen) Camp


1.     Sami Imzeirik

2.     'Aboud Al Qeisi

1.     Material damages.

2.     Material damages.

House/s in 'Ayda Camp


1.     Mahmoud Nabtiti

2.     Jamil Nabtiti

3.     Adel Nabtiti

4.     Jalal Nabtiti

5.     Nidal Al 'Azeh

6.     Yasser Al Jajeh

7.     Mohammad Al Keirdi

8.     Moussa Al Keirdi

9.     Yousef Saqer

10.   Fareis Saqer

11.   Hamdi Hamdan

1.     Hit by two heavy missiles from Rachel's Tomb military camp that damaged its basic infrastructure. This is the sixth time that the Nabatiti house has been exposed to Israeli shelling since the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada.

2.     Material damages.

3.     Material damages.  No one currently dwelling in the house.

4.     This is the fifth time that this house has been hit by heavy missiles.

5.     Hit by missiles. The source of the shelling was from the Rachel's Tomb military camp and an abandoned Palestinian house, now being used by the Israeli army.

6.     Material damages.

7.     Material damages.

8.     Material damages.

9.     Material damages.

10.   Material damages.

11.   Material damages.


The Paradise Hotel:

The Paradise Hotel, one of the primary tourist hotels in Bethlehem City, has been a main target for Israel. This is the third time that the Paradise Hotel has been exposed to shelling by the Israeli army. According to the Israeli military this targeting is a response to Palestinians shooting from the hotel. However, ARIJ interviewed Tanas Abu Aita, the owner of the hotel, who reported that his family was alone in the hotel at the time of the bombing. He documented how on Monday, at about 3:45 P.M., the Israeli army commenced to bombard the Paradise Hotel using heavy missiles and machine-guns as well as incendiary bombs. In the first round of attack, 30-32 small missiles struck the hotel for about 15 minutes.  The fire originated from Rachel's Tomb military camp. A few minutes later the gunfire carried on to destroy the third, fourth and fifth floors of the hotel. This second round of fire from Abu Ghneim Mountain (Har Homa settlement) was more intense, with 7 heavy missiles.  It is worth mentioning that Paradise Hotel has been closed for five months.

According to Abu Aita the total value of the losses suffered from the bombardment is estimated at $1.5 million. Engineers who evaluated the damage, reported that the fourth and fifth floors must be completely removed, while the third one could be renovated, with significant capital investment.

The Palestinian Interior Ministry:

One round of Israeli shelling specifically targeted the buildings of the Palestinian Authority in the Bethlehem District. The Ministry of the Interior houses a number of sub-ministries such as: The Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Social Affairs.  This building received three missiles, causing material damages to a number of offices, the roof, and to two Palestinian cars that are property of the Ministries.

 (Beit Jebreen) & 'Ayda Refugee Camps:

The Israeli bombardment also severely affected many Palestinian houses in Al-'Aze(Beit Jebreen) and 'Ayda Refugee Camps, particularly in 'Ayda Camp where it was concentrated. In Al-'Aze (Beit Jebreen) Camp material damages were registered in a number of Palestinian houses. In 'Ayda camp the random Israeli bombardment resulted in human injuries in addition to the material damages. According to villagers, questioned by the ARIJ fieldworkers, about four Palestinians were wounded and 30 houses were damaged, as was the 'Ayda School for Girls.

The following are the names of those wounded in 'Ayda camp:

  • Amal Mahmoud Ikhlayiel, 9, hit in her stomach

  • Khaled Ahmad 'Ajarmeh, 32, hit in his hand

  • Jessica 'Aboud, lost one of her eyes, and was shot in several parts of her body

  • Anwar Abu 'Ayyash, hit in the face.

In conclusion, it would appear that the Israeli shelling incidents are escalating in the Palestinian Territories. The Israeli authorities are intent on using all their military power to impose their agenda on the Palestinians and the recent round of bombardment is part of this policy. However, the effect of these Israeli attacks is to fuel Palestinian anger and to consolidate the resolve to achieve their legitimate aspirations.



Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Demolition