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As Israeli Troops Mass On the Gaza Strip Border, a Deal Is Struck to Free Palestinians Trapped Inside the Church of the Nativity, But the Buses to Escort Them Out Drive Away Empty: A Report From the O

StoryMay 09, 2002
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The Israeli army is massing on the border of the Gaza Strip after a suicide bombing killed 15 people near Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s security cabinet early this morning gave the green light for operations against alleged "terrorist targets." And President Bush yesterday stopped short of calling on Sharon to exercise restraint. Bush urged Sharon to "keep his vision of peace in mind."

Meanwhile, the five-week standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem hit a new impasse today over whether the 13 alleged Palestinian militants to be exiled will have the protection of European monitors. Buses which had arrived to escort over a hundred people out of the church left empty.

Meanwhile, a group of Palestinian women snuck through the lines of troops and darted snipers to deliver food to those trapped inside the Church. They frantically stuffed packages of rice, sugar, and milk into the mail slot.

More than 200 Palestinians fled into the church to escape invading Israeli forces 38 days ago. One week ago today, ten International Solidarity Movement activists snuck into the church with bags of food and protection for the Palestinians inside.


  • Kristen Schurr, international activist inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
  • Robert Fisk, reporter for the Independent of London, speaking from Lebanon.
  • Dedrick Muhammad, organizer for International Solidarity Movement and former national field organizer for the National Action Network.

Related links:


  • We Are–Sweet Honey and the Rock, Sacred Ground (EarthBeat Recordings CD).

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