The papal ambassador to the Jerusalem Archbishop Pietro Sambi believes that calm may return to the city of Nazareth after today's elections. But he pledged to close the churches once again if violence continued, "because we have a duty to protect the rights of Christians."
    Violence erupted against Christians both on Christmas and Easter. Christmas saw 30 Christian-owned shops and stores put to flames, with 14 people injured. On the night of the Easter Vigil, fundamentalists pointed loudspeakers toward the Basilica of the Annunciation from the site they have chosen as home for their future mosque. The local bishop responded by reluctantly closing the doors of the city's churches
    Ariel Sharon, Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs, assured Pope John Paul II in a recent Vatican interview that the safety of all pilgrims to the Holy Land would be guaranteed.

2:17pm 17/5/99 / Zenit


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