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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Christians hold Mass to mark Nakba day

Palestinians attend a Mass near Beit Jala to mark Nakba day May 11, 2012 (MaanImages/Jenny Baboun)

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian Christians held a Mass Friday on the lands of the Cremisan monastery near Bethlehem, which is threatened by construction of Israel's separation barrier.

Rev. Ibrahim Shomali, the Roman Catholic parish priest of Beit Jala led the mass which was held to mark Nakba day and honor the hundreds of prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

Bishop Munib Younan, the president of the Lutheran World Federation and a Fatah leader, and Mahmoud al-Aloul, the Chilean consul, also joined along with the ambassadors of Chile and Brazil.

Al-Aloul said long-term hunger-strikers Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diab entered their 75th day without food, which he called "something beyond the human realm of comprehension."

Diab, 27, and Halahla, 33, are being held in a prison clinic because Israeli authorities refused to allow the prisoners society's lawyer to visit them. An Israeli Prison Service spokeswoman says the detainees are being treated and will be hospitalized "if it is necessary."

Younan said the hunger strikers were suffering but humans endure pain to regain their dignity.

He added that "Our weapons are not less than Israel’s weapons, as our weapon is to call for peace and to cling to the land, which breaks the occupation’s strategy."

Bishop Younan said "no Palestinian house was unaffected by the Nakba," referring to the exodus of some 750,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled during Israel's establishment.

He added that the Palestinian cause is not only a political issue, but a spiritual pursuit.

"We have to pray when someone denies the other their rights," Younan said.

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