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Families of Nativity Church deportees deliver letter to FM

May 12, 2014 12:36 A.M. (Updated: May 13, 2014 10:56 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – On the 12th anniversary of their deportation from Bethlehem to the Gaza Strip and to European countries, families of Nativity Church deportees on Sunday handed a letter to Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki urging the PA to exert serious efforts to bring them back to Bethlehem.

The letter was handed over in Ramallah in the central West Bank during a protest to show solidarity with 39 Palestinian activists from the Bethlehem area who were deported in 2002 after hiding out at the Nativity Church for 40 days. Thirteen were exiled to Europe and 26 others to the Gaza Strip.

Another protest activity was organized in Gaza City simultaneously.

Al-Maliki told the families of the deportees that President Mahmoud Abbas “has been exerting efforts to bring their suffering to an end.”

He highlighted that when Abbas agreed with the Israeli government to release veteran prisoners jailed before 1994, he insisted that they return to their hometowns and refused any discussion about deportation.

Al-Maliki hosted the deportees’ families at his office in Ramallah along with representatives of the national campaign for the return of Nativity Church deportees.

He told them his ministry has been putting efforts at international level to prove that the deportation of activists was a breach of international treaties and conventions.

The minister of foreign affairs pledged to deliver the letter he received from deportees’ families to President Abbas. He also promised that his ministry would offer all the needed facilitations and help the national campaign.
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