ISRAELI DOCUMENT ACCUSES CHRISTIAN FRONT OF ASSISTING THE PA

June 10, 1997

A document submitted to Israeli Public Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani and to PM Netanyahu calls for banning the Palestinian Authority representative on Christian Affairs from attending all ceremonies and rituals that take place in Jerusalem. The PA representative has been attending in the last two years all official ceremonies in churches in Jerusalem along with Ouri Mor, the Israeli representative in charge of Christian Affairs in the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs. The document also talks about the PA activities in this field and how christian leaders are assisting in the war launched by the PLO against Israel in Jerusalem. The document also warns that transferring Bethlehem, especially the Nativity Church and 30 Christian institutions, to the PA forced all other Patriarchs in Jerusalem to deal with Arafat on issues of religion which means that the PA has authority on Christian leaders in Jerusalem.(Al-Quds)

CHRISTIAN LEADERS RESPOND

Christian leaders and figures condemned yesterday the statements issued by Ouri Mor, who is in charge of Christian Affairs in the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs. Mor had said that Israel should ban the PA representative for Religious Affairs from attending and participating in Christian ceremonies and rituals held in Jerusalem. Roman Catholic, Latin Patriarchal Vicar, Bishop Giacinto Maruzzo in Nazareth reminded Israel of its measures in kicking Palestinians from Jerusalem and confiscating IDs and the settlement project on Abu Ghneim. Marcuzzo also reminded Israeli officials of the bad treatment Roman Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah received by Israeli soldiers who kept him waiting for two hours at a checkpoint near the Jordan Valley.

Meanwhile, Dr. Hanna Atallah, from the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, said the relations between Christian leaders and churches with the PA is based on mutual respect.(Al-Quds)