Muslim and Christian religious leaders, priests, religious and laypeople marched together from Jerusalem to Bethlehem this morning to appeal for peace. By the time walkers reached the church of St Catherine, in the complex of the Basilica of the Nativity, there were more than 3,000 demonstrators. Speaking in St Catherine's, the apostolic nuncio in Israel and apostolic delegate of the Palestinian National Authority, Mgr Pietro Sambi, said once again, that violence and war bring only death and destruction, against God and the dignity of every human being. He said: "We want peace for the Palestinian population, with justice and dignity. And we want peace for the Israeli population." The religious authorities gathered in prayer and met with the local people, including many relatives of those who have been killed or injured recently. Many were very concerned at the amount of destruction, smashed-up shop windows and wrecked homes and office buildings that lined their route. The Israeli army, that has been terrorising the town in recent days, was nowhere to be seen in Bethlehem during the gathering.
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