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Israeli army bars Christian clergy from visiting Arafat

By Rafael Bikbayev
ITAR-TASS News Agency
April 1, 2002, Monday

CAIRO, April 1 — On Sunday the Israeli army barred clergy from the
Christian churches of Jerusalem from delivering a message of peace
to Yasser Arafat.

According to reports reaching here, Israeli servicemen on the
approaches to Ramallah stopped a group of clergymen, including,
Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Coptic, and Armenian ones.
The clergy were not allowed to visit the chief of the Palestine
autonomy on the plea of its being “impossible” to ensure their
safety.

The clergy from the Christian church of Jerusalem intended to
express solidarity with Arafat and to offer their mediatory
services in promoting a settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict.

Upon having emphasized that Ramallah had been declared a “closed
military zone”, an Israeli Army official stated that this signifies
that only humanitarian missions are allowed to enter the area.

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