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Posted: 5/15/2002 4:37:52 PM EDT

'Greedy monsters' ruled church


BETHLEHEM, West Bank - The Palestinian gunmen holed up in
the Church of the Nativity and later deported by Israel
seized church stockpiles of food and "ate like greedy
monsters" until the food ran out, while more than 150
civilians went hungry.
They also guzzled beer, wine and Johnnie Walker scotch
that they found in priests' quarters, undeterred by the
Islamic ban on drinking alcohol.

The indulgence lasted for about two weeks into the 39- day
siege, when the food and drink ran out, according to an account
by four Greek Orthodox priests who were trapped inside for
the entire ordeal that ended Friday.

About 30 priests, monks and nuns, and more than 150 Palestinian
civilians, who ran inside on April 2 to escape a gunbattle
between Israelis and Palestinians, remained inside the church
with the armed militants for more than five weeks.

A church helper, who gave his name as Milad, said the quantity
of food consumed by the gunmen in the first 15 days should
have lasted for six months.

As they feasted and boozed, Palestinian civilians subsisted
on a meager diet, with barely enough for a single meal a day.

Conditions improved somewhat for the civilian refuge seekers
when the governor of Bethlehem intervened and partially
succeeded in reallocating food supplies, priests and others
witnesses said.

Angry Orthodox priests yesterday showed two reporters about
20 empty bottles of whiskey, champagne, vodka, cognac and
French wine on a kitchen shelf and on the floor of two rooms.

"They should be ashamed of themselves. They acted like animals,
like greedy monsters. Come, I will show you more," said one
priest, who declined to give his name.

He gestured toward empty bottles of Israeli-brewed Maccabi
beer and hundreds of cigarette butts strewn on the floor.

The priest then took the reporters to see computers taken
apart and a television set dismantled for use as a hiding
place for weapons.

"You can see what repayment we got for 'hosting' these
so-called guests," said Archbishop Ironius, another
cleric, as he showed reporters the main reception hall
of the Greek Orthodox Monastery.

"All the media concentrated on the Franciscan [Catholic]
quarter, where little damage was done," the archbishop said.
"Why? The Franciscans actually let the gunmen in, then
guided the gunmen to our rooms."

Archbishop Ironius showed onlookers where the militants
had broken in to the monks' quarters by smashing locked
doors while, he said, the monks were praying downstairs.

"The Franciscans then blocked their own rooms' doors
with iron bars," Archbishop Ironius said.

The 39-day siege ended Friday under a deal in which 13
Palestinian fighters were sent to exile in Europe and
another 26 were sent to Gaza, where they were received
as heroes.

While in the church, the top Palestinian gunmen slept
on comfortable beds in the elegant apartment of Father
Parathaious, while others rested on mattresses there
and elsewhere under high-quality woolen blankets.

The civilians slept on cold tile floors in the main
church downstairs.
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 4:38:45 PM EDT
"It's a shame, the mess they made and the way they
kept the food. I'm not proud of what they did, even
though as a Palestinian I sympathize with their cause
of a liberated homeland," said Milad, 15.

The gunmen belong to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade,
part of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah

Before Mr. Arafat visited the church yesterday, Palestinian
security officials ordered a thorough removal of all debris
and a total cleanup.

But prior to Mr. Arafat's arrival, the reporters were shown
the room belonging to Father Vasareillon, where a key Al Aqsa
leader, Nabil Abayat, was fatally shot.

While inviting the reporters inside, the priests refused to
allow three young members of Mr. Abayat's extended family
into the room, fearing they would insist it became a Muslim
shrine to their fallen colleague.

The scene in the room was grim. Seven gunmen had sheltered
there, said another young church helper, and Mr. Abayat had
died when a bullet ricocheted off a radiator.

Pools of his blood had stained the bed on which he had collapsed.

Priests pointed to numerous bullet holes that appeared to have
been fired from inside the room.

Wine bottles and a Johnny Walker Red Label whisky bottle
lay empty on a bedside table with cooked rice splattered
on the floor.

Another top gunman from the militant Abayat clan was
fatally shot 10 days ago close to a well that the Palestinians
had used to hide their weapons.

Another four gunmen died during the exchanges of fire and sniping,
as well as a mentally retarded bell ringer who, the Israelis say,
ran toward soldiers, ignoring orders to stop.

Several Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded in the exchanges
of gunfire during the five-week siege.

The Orthodox priests and a number of civilians have said the
gunmen created a regime of fear.

"Their word was law," said one civilian, "and they told us
civilians who left the church would either be shot by the
Israelis or dealt with later by the gunmen's comrades."

Even in the Roman Catholic areas of the complex there was
evidence of disregard for religious norms.

Catholic priests said that some Bibles were torn up for
toilet paper, and many valuable sacramental objects were removed.

"Palestinians took candelabra, icons and anything that looked like
gold," said a Franciscan, the Rev. Nicholas Marquez from Mexico.

"We were told later that they gave them back."

The gunmen and civilians who emerged on Friday went through metal
detectors, revealing no stolen objects.
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 4:42:53 PM EDT
Surely someone on this Board will speak up in defense of what the Palestinian bastards did!

I mean how would you feel if someone came into your country and started kicking your stupid ass around?

And the only thing you could do about it was to sexually harass Christian Palestinian girls, encourage suicide bombers, and guzzle the private stocks of liquor belonging to someone else!


Eric The(Understanding)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 4:47:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 5:00:08 PM EDT
"A church helper, who gave his name as Milad, said the quantity of food consumed by the gunmen in the first 15 days should have lasted for six months."

Link Posted: 5/15/2002 5:16:04 PM EDT
"They also guzzled beer, wine and Johnnie Walker scotch that they found in priests' quarters"

Wow, my kinda Priests!
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 5:43:50 PM EDT
The Orthodox priests and a number of civilians have said the
                         gunmen created a regime of fear.
View Quote

Phucking scum
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 6:12:41 PM EDT
how often do I need to remind everyone that Islam is a peace loving religion... they are simply misunderstood.  
Well that's what their PR campaign said...

The drinking of the booze.. well they were just trying to be friendly...

Sad part is that somewhere out there someone really believes that...

Link Posted: 5/15/2002 7:31:05 PM EDT
Catholic priests said that some Bibles were torn up for toilet paper, and many valuable sacramental objects were removed.
View Quote

Remind me to swing by the mosque in Richardson tomorrow and pick up a roll of Koran. It's squeezably soft, right?

All kidding aside, that's about the most disgusting thing I've ever heard of. I'm waiting for someone to jump in and tell me how much respect muslims have for "people of the book."
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 7:39:53 PM EDT

Time to take the place away from both jews and muslims.

Link Posted: 5/15/2002 7:47:11 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 8:28:06 PM EDT
What they did to and in the church was just a microcosm of what they've done to the whole city of Bethlehem.  Bethlehem was a Christian Arab town before Arafat's gang took it over a few years back.  In the time since the PLO took control, the vast majority of Christians have left, the tourist momento shops formerly run by them are now run by Moslems, and I've been told that a huge mosque has been or is being erected in the square right in front of the Church of the Nativity, despite Christian pleas that the access to the church not be impeded in this way.

It is interesting, I think, that the only member of the top council of the PLO who is a Christian is Hanan Ashrawi (the chubby lady you sometimes see being interviewed). She is, I think, also the only woman in the group.
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