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Franciscan head fears Bethlehem bloodbath

As time passes and the conditions in which people are holed up in the Church of the Nativity complex are deteriorating, hopes of avoiding a bloodbath are diminishing, according to Franciscan Minister General Fr Giacomo Bini.

Bini repeated that an armed intervention "cannot be the solution to end the dramatic siege of the Nativity Church".

"The friars, the sisters and religious in the complex of the Nativity are very tried, both physically and psychologically," he said, pointing out that despite promises by the Israelis to supply water and power, nothing has been done.

Bini added that the Israelis failed to honour their assurance that the holy sites would not be attacked.

He also condemned the Palestinians who entered the Franciscan house armed, but insisted that those in the complex are not hostages. He said they would not leave the complex of the Nativity "because it would be a catastrophe".


11 Apr 2002