Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) News Desk & Agencies – 2005-01-20 13:09:44
BETHLEHEM (December 14, 2004) — Mr. Hanna Nasser, Mayor of Bethlehem criticized the “silence of the Christian world” amidst all sort of military aggressions and violations in Bethlehem and described their position as “shameful”.
Nasser in a press conference held in relation to the upcoming Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem , said that Bethlehem had been subjected to continuous military invasion for more than four year, while the Christian world stood helpless.
“For more than four years, army continuously invaded the city, destroyed confiscated lands, while the Christian world stood helpless in spite that Bethlehem has a unique importance for the Christians, and non Christians, all over the world”.
Nasser added that when the church of Nativity was surrounded on April 2002, the world stood short of saving the city and when the crisis was solved, the besieged residents were deported to the Gaza Strip and Europe.
Moreover, Nasser said that the army is continuously confiscating lands in the north of the city for the separation wall, while settlers and soldiers controlled Palestinian homes near Rachel Tomb, in order to transfer the tomb and Bilal Bin Rabah mosque area into settlements.
“What is happening in the holy city of Bethlehem is an shameful act to the Israeli government which conducts these violations while the Christian world is watching these violations without attempting to save the city”, Nasser said.
Nasser added that the size of Bethlehem is reducing as the Israeli authorities continued their planes to expand the settlements surrounding the city and destroying its fields, in addition to destroying the northern entrance which is the main “gate” for tourists and pilgrims to the holy city.
Commenting on Israeli allegation concerning allowing Christian pilgrims to enter the city during Christmases calibrations, Nasser said that the ministry of tourism in the P.A received promises from his Israeli counterpart, but “we got used to such promises which were never fulfilled”, Nasser said.
Nasser added that in light of the death pf the Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, Bethlehem municipality decided to reduce the quantity of Christmases decorations, and only limit them to the manger square area and the surrounded places, “yet a Christmas tree will be decorated and shining, as usual, in the manger square”, Nasser said.
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