PALESTINE - ISRAEL In Bethlehem, nuns and Christians use rosary beads against gun-toting Israeli soldiers - Asia News http://www.asianews.it/news-en/In-Bethlehem,-nuns-and-Christians-use-rosary-beads-against-gun-toting-Israeli-soldiers-26275.html
Bethlehem (AsiaNews) - The Elizabettine Franciscan nuns at Bethlehem's Caritas Baby Hospital are promoting peace between Israeli and Palestinians by placing rosary beads in front of the West Bank Wall.
"This is our peaceful intifada," said Sister Donatella Lessio, head of quality care management and hospital staff training, and main promoter of the initiative. "Sometimes the soldiers are afraid of us and point their guns, but we respond by praying and placing our rosary beads in front of their weapons."
Ever since Israel began building its so-called security barrier in 2005, the nuns and scores of Palestinian Christians have taken part each Friday afternoon in this initiative. Through prayer, they want to express their opposition to Israel's military rigidities and Islamists' slogans of hatred.
Then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the wall's construction to stop terrorist attacks, but the net effect has been to isolate the Palestinian population from the rest of the world, forcing them to stand in long queues to go to work or reach relatives in the State of Israel.
Soldiers not only prevent the movement of medical drugs, humanitarian aid and any material useful for survival, but also prevent people outside the West Bank to know how bad the situation is in the territory. Israelis can only cross the wall only at their own risk.
In addition to limiting the movement of people and goods, the wall is an obstacle for Palestinian hospitals, which are forced to send patients to Israeli hospitals because of underfunding.
The Caritas Baby Hospital is only 200 metres from the barrier. Without the wall, ambulances could reach Jerusalem in a short drive. However, a special permit and a lot of red tape are required to cross. Often, ambulances have to wait hours even for urgent needs. Several children and newly born have died as a result. (S.C.)