Patriarch Pleads for Religious Harmony at Christmas Eve Services in Bethlehem

December 24, 2003

Source: Yahoo! News

On December 24, 2003 Yahoo! News posted an Agence France Presse article that reported, "Thousands of worshippers heard an impassioned appeal for harmony at Bethlehem's Christmas midnight mass service as the birthplace of Jesus Christ tried to shrug off the miserable legacy of the three-year intifada. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabah, told some 3,000 worshippers packed into the Saint Catherine basilica off Manger Square that Christians, Jews and Muslims must learn to live together in the holy land after another year of bloody conflict between the Israelis and Palestinans...Sabbah urged worshippers at the end of his address, delivered in Arabic and French, to pray to God 'to grant him (Arafat) his freedom' as he branded the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories the root of the conflict. A black and white keffiyeh typically worn by Arafat was placed on an empty chair in the church for the third year running."