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Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Hidden Toll of Terror in Jerusalem

walk through Jerusalem’s (mostly Arab) Christian Quarter, Lela Gilbert took note of the economic and psychological toll taken by six months of near-daily attacks by Palestinian terrorists, even on those not harmed directly:

We turned left on Christian Quarter Road and went into a couple of shops that we’d been to before; both of the shopkeepers are longtime friends of the woman who was shopping with me. And their stories were rather heartbreaking.

Although neither of them had faced a terrorist’s knife, the ripple effect of the stabbings—and particularly those in and around [Jerusalem’s] Old City—had deeply wounded each of them.

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism continues to report only a slightly decreased number of tourists in the country, but that wasn’t what we heard from these two men. And their lack of customers underscored their plight. “I’ve been using the free time to do some remodeling of my shop,” an elderly Arab Christian merchant told us. . . .

Our next stop offered more bad news. . . . [The shopkeeper, Issa, told a] story of lost income and tension in the Old City [that] mirrored the older man’s. . . . But then he told us a poignant account that reveals how stressful the terrorism is for people of all ages.

“My little girl—she’s only six years old—was so terrified of Israeli soldiers that she was afraid to walk past them,” he said. “She cried every time we got near them.”

Issa explained that his daughter had heard stories at school that Israeli soldiers target and shoot Arab children for no reason. Her father tried to comfort her, promising again and again that the stories weren’t true. But her fears continued.

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