Israel Wants to Wall In Bethlehem, Says Patriarch of Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM, FEB. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem says that Israel wants to build a wall to enclose Bethlehem.



"A door would give entry to and exit from Bethlehem," he said. "The building has not begun yet, but it seems to be near."

In statements to SIR agency, the patriarch explained that he fears that the Iraqi question will make people forget the problems of the Holy Land.

"While the cameras of the great networks are focused on the crisis of Iraq, here, in the Holy Land, people continue to die," he said. "Every day the dead and wounded are counted. People don't have work, they are hungry, and oppressed by sieges and curfews. The Israeli-Palestine crisis seems no longer to exist."

In regard to the new coalition government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Patriarch Sabbah said he hopes that there will be "a removal of military action in the Occupied Territories."

He added: "I think we will have to continue to wait for the peace negotiations."