• PALESTINE \ Aug 30, 2003
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    Israeli Army Commandeers Nablus Bible Soceity Bookshop
Israeli Army Commandeers Nablus Bible Soceity Bookshop As violence escalated this past weekend between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants, the only Bible bookshop in Nablus got caught in the middle.

According to local staff of the Bible Society in the West Bank, their Bible Center in downtown Nablus was commandeered by the Israeli army last Friday night as a control operation base.

This past weekend, Israeli armored vehicles took over Nablus, clamping the city under a curfew as they searched house to house for weapons and wanted militants. According to Israeli army reports, its soldiers shot three militants on the rooftop of a local hospital on Friday and then uncovered a weapons lab yesterday in the city.

?I doubt if they even read our sign on the door,? a Bible Society representative from Jerusalem told Compass today. ?They just went in and took over the place, and left it in a big mess.?

?The bookshop is in a perfect location, one of the busiest streets in downtown Nablus,? another source said. ?And it also had air conditioning, which is probably another reason why the soldiers chose it.?

But after Israel?s troops pulled out this morning, the four-room Bible Center was in shambles.

?We have found complete destruction and damage,? a Bible Society spokesman said. All the doors were knocked down, with the air conditioning system and other equipment destroyed. Most of the Bibles and Christians books, many of them ripped apart, were thrown on the floor.

?I think it will take a minimum of $10,000 to fix and restore and replace everything,? the spokesman said.

With the city of Nablus still under curfew, no other Bible Society staff have been allowed to travel to Nablus yet to help the lone staff member who had been manning the Bible Center clean it and start repairs.

Bible Society representatives said they planned to contact the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs tomorrow to follow up on the incident.

?Pray for the soldiers who spent two days in our center, that God may touch their hearts with what they read or saw,? the Bible Society?s East Jerusalem office requested in an appeal for prayer sent out today.

Staffed by Palestinian Christians, the Bible Society in the West Bank maintains Bible bookshops in East Jerusalem, Nablus, Bir Zeit and Gaza.