Entering the Church

The myth of the Jenin “massacre” has been effectively denounced. Now, as the Church of the Nativity gunmen are scattered around Europe, the media is spawning new myths about the Bethlehem standoff.

Last week, BBC interviewed the leader of the 13 terrorists, Abdullah Daoud, in his Cyprus exile. Asked by BBC’s Nicosia correspondent about the confrontation at Manger Square, Daoud responded, “It was just chance that I ended up in the church. There was nothing planned about it.”

The “spontaneous” decision of the terrorists to barricade themselves inside the church was also detailed in Newsweek’s lengthy report, “Inside the Siege of Bethlehem.” Correspondent Joshua Hammer reported:

“Exhausted, soaked and freezing, the motley group of street fighters ran downhill into Manger Square — and straight into the trap that the Israeli Army had laid for them. Tanks were approaching the square from every corner of the city. The Aqsa leader gazed across the square to the fortress-like fourth-century stone wall of the Church of the Nativity. There was only one escape: ‘Go to the church!’ people cried.”

Yet it appears that BBC and Newsweek are the ones who fell for the trap.

This week, senior Tanzim commander Abdullah Abu-Hadid revealed to Yediot Ahranot that the Palestinian seizure of the Church of the Nativity was well planned and premeditated. He said:

“Some ran there out of panic, and there were others who had planned beforehand to enter the church… The idea was to enter the church in order to create international pressure on Israel… We knew beforehand that there was two years worth of food for 50 monks. Oil, beans, rice, olives. Good bathrooms and the largest wells in old Bethlehem. You didn’t need electricity because there were candles. In the yard they planted vegetables. Everything was there.”

There was nothing noble or sacred about the Palestinian seizure of the Church of the Nativity. It was a premeditated act of sacrilege.

How did your local media report the Palestinian takeover of the Christian holy site?

Read the BBC interview with Douad at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_2006000/2006684.stm

Meanwhile, in the wake of IDF operations, Newsweek reports that its readers responded with enormous support for Israel: “There was an overwhelming unanimity of opinion by the readers who wrote to us about our May 20 cover story: they were outraged at the Muslim terrorists who seized Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, and praised the restraint of the Israeli response.”

Newsweek quotes a few readers’ comments: “‘The Israelis allowed the terrorists to live and at the same time maintained the sanctuary of Jesus’ birthplace,’ declared [one reader]. ‘Israel’s resolve to respect the precious gift of life is one of the most important teachings in all its houses of learning. If it were not for that resolve and those teachings, this holy place would have been obliterated.’”

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