ISAAC SAADA (1950 - 2001)
Wednesday, July 18, 2001--Yesterday our friend and colleague Isaac Saada from Bethlehem was killed by an Israeli missile fired from a helicopter. The target of the missile was Omar Saada, Isaac’s brother who the Israelis claim was a Hamas terrorist. Omar Saada was killed together with two others on the impact of two rockets fired from the helicopter. Isaac ran out of his house when he heard the explosions in his brother’s yard and was then killed by a third missile fired to make sure that the first two “did the job”. Isaac left his wife widowed and 10 children orphaned.
Why am I telling you this story? - it happens almost every day? Isaac Saada was a teacher involved in IPCRI’s Peace Education Project. Just one day before being killed, Isaac spoke to Nedal Jayousi, the Palestinian Co-Director of the Peace Education Project. Isaac asked Nedal how he could be more involved. Today at the same hour that he is being buried, Isaac was supposed to be at IPCRI participating in a joint seminar with Israeli teachers. Isaac had just completed with his Israeli and Palestinian colleagues work on a new Peace Education Curriculum on conflict resolution and negotiations for Israeli and Palestinian 11th grade classes. In fact, I have a check on my desk for him for the work he had done.
I remember sitting with Isaac over lunch at a joint teachers seminar that took place after the intifada began. Isaac was telling me the troubles he was having trying to teach his own children to love and want peace. He talked about the terrible things that his children had witnessed over the past months and some of them questioned how their father could still work with the Israelis. He told me that he was very firm with them, telling them that we had to believe in peace and that peace would eventually come. He told them that the worst thing that could happen to them and to the Palestinian people would be if they filled their hearts with hatred.
Isaac has been presented in the Israeli and International media reports as one of four Hamas terrorists killed. I am very angry at this lie. I have attempted to correct this falsehood with my media contacts. There was one short sentence in the report by Amira Haas in Haaretz today stating that Isaac was involved in meetings with Israeli teachers. Israeli TV News Channel One’s correspondent Oded Granot also indicated that Isaac was involved with the Israeli-Palestine Center in peace education activities. We want the entire world to know that Isaac was not a terrorist - he was a man of peace. I only hope and pray that his 10 children will not learn the lesson of revenge - which is all too easy to understand. We expect and demand that the Government of Israel issue an apology to Isaac’s family and a recognition of the tragic error that was committed and that the Government of Israel recognize and acknowledge that Isaac was a man of peace.
Isaac was from a poor family. He lived in a poor neighborhood of Bethlehem. He supported his wife and 10 children on the salary of a teacher in the Terra Sancta School in Bethlehem. Today there is no one to provide the few sheckels that he brought home each month.
We would like to ask all of you to make a contribution to the welfare of Isaac Saada’s children. We would like this collection to be a legacy for the peace that Isaac dreamed and worked for.
Please send your contributions to the address below in any amount and in any currency to IPCRI in care of Isaac Saada’s family. We will make sure that the money gets to his children.