BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Middle East
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Saturday, 20 April, 2002, 01:43 GMT 02:43 UK
Church seeks action on Bethlehem siege
Palestinian girl talks to Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem
The waiting goes on for those trapped in the town, too
test hello test
By Jonny Dymond
BBC correspondent in Bethlehem

The Greek Orthodox Church has called for international intervention to end the 17-day-old siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

In a statement issued by the Church, a spokesman said it held the Israeli Government responsible for the siege.

Palestinian woman and her family wait for a chance to cross the street
The tight blockade on Bethlehem will continue, Israel says
Several members of the Greek Orthodox order are sheltering within the Church of the Nativity.

In Bethlehem, little changes. Israeli troops and tanks surround the church, where some 200 people, including armed Palestinians, civilians and members of various religious orders, continue to shelter.

Planned march

Outside Israel, condemnation continues.

The Greek Orthodox Church has called upon Christians worldwide to make Sunday a "solidarity day" for the sheltering Palestinians and the church itself.

It has called for immediate intervention to stop what it calls the inhuman measures against the people and the stone of the church.

A Catholic nun from New York talks to an Israeli soldier in Bethlehem
Peace activists have been trying to deliver food
The Greek Orthodox Church has asked Christians, Muslims and Jews to gather at the main entrance to Bethlehem and march to the Church of the Nativity.

Unless there is a radical change of heart from the Israeli army, that march will go nowhere.

The entire Bethlehem area is under extensive curfew enforced by soldiers who are not slow to reach for their weapons.

Negotiations to end the siege were supposed to take place on Friday but did not.

For the residents of Bethlehem and the occupants of the church, the long wait continues.

See also:

19 Apr 02 | Middle East
Hamas leader held in Bethlehem
18 Apr 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
Stand-off in the 'city of peace'
17 Apr 02 | Middle East
Backpackers baffled by Bethlehem siege
13 Apr 02 | Middle East
Palestinian 'shot dead' in Bethlehem
08 Apr 02 | Middle East
Vatican outrage over church siege
08 Apr 02 | Middle East
In pictures: Bethlehem's woes
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories