International Activists Join Palestinians Trapped Inside the Besieged Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

May 03, 2002

A group of 23 international activists slipped past Israeli army roadblocks in Bethlehem yesterday and entered Manger Square, where the army has been besieging Palestinians inside the Church of the Nativity for weeks. While some activists in the group acted as decoys, others ran for their lives across the square, under the gaze of snipers and paratroopers behind sandbags.

The door swung open at the church’s tiny entrance. Ten activists and a Los Angeles Times photographer ducked inside. 13 others were detained by Israeli soldiers.

The activists brought food—rice, flour, lentils, canned goods, salt, cigarettes and sugar—in their backpacks to the 200-some Palestinians who have been trapped in the church for almost a month. Palestinians say they have been subsisting on boiled grass. The internationals also bring protection. Moments after they arrived inside the church we spoke to Kristen Schurr by cellphone.


  • Kristen Schurr, activist with the International Solidarity Movement.


  • I’m Angry–Linda Tillery & The Cultural Heritage Choir, Say Yo’ Business (EarthBeat Recordings CD).