Pacifists Deliver Food to Basilica; Cardinal Barred from Visiting

JERUSALEM, MAY 3, 2002 ( The Franciscan General Curia applauded the action of pacifists who were able to take food to those confined at Bethlehem´s Basilica of the Nativity.

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On Thursday, 11 pacifists of various nationalities were each able to leave 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of food inside the sacred premises.

In a statement sent to ZENIT, the Franciscans said the gesture is in response to the «requirements of humanity with regard to all beings created in the image and likeness of God, including adversaries, even those suspected of grave acts.»

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities were not allowing Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, John Paul II´s envoy to the Holy Land, to visit the basilica.

Four Palestinian policemen, apparently weakened by hunger, were evacuated from the basilica today, following an agreement with the Israeli military. One policeman was brought out on a stretcher.

The basilica siege started April 2. Some 180 Palestinians, as well as 19 Franciscan friars, four nuns, two Greek-Orthodox monks, and two Armenian monks are still confined in the church.

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