There have been numerous conflicting reports of attacks on churches, priests and nuns by the Israeli Armed Forces.
On Tuesday, a report that a Catholic priest had been killed and seven nuns wounded after a shooting incident with Israeli soldiers was denied by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, of the Apostolic Delegation of Jerusalem, although another priest confirmed that several nuns had been shot and the director of the King Hussein Hospital in Bethlehem, Peter Qumry, declared that a priest had been shot dead and seven nuns had been injured in the Holy Mary Church.
Palestine Authority sources reported a further incident in which 200 people had taken shelter in the Nativity Church, in Bethlehem, where 20 civilians who had been shot by Israeli troops were being treated by nuns. There were further reports of a group of international journalists being fired on as they tried to approach a church. However, all these reports are refuted by the Israeli authorities.
As the tension escalates by the day, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner (UNHCR), Mary Robinson, has called for international observers to be stationed in the occupied territories to check on the state of affairs. Speaking of “an urgent duty”, her position was strongly criticised by the US Ambassador to Israel, Kevin Moley, who complained that the bias of the UNHCR against Israel “does not contribute towards maintaining the balance” of affairs.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM