State of siege

Conflict at the Church of the Nativity

As anyone following the news knows, Palestinians and Israelis offer two entirely different accounts of the violence (and two different accounts of what has happened in the region since the emergence of the state of Israel in 1948). The siege at the Church of the Nativity is one more example.

The Israeli story is that a large group of armed terrorists forcibly entered the church on April 2. The gunmen took dozens of civilians hostages, including Christian clergy. They used them as human shields, and launched attacks on the Israeli soldiers who surrounded the church. With great restraint, Israel has been attempting to rescue the hostages and capture the terrorists. In Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s words, “Murderers . . . have commandeered the church and are holding the clergymen hostage.”


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