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      Church of Nativity Deportees Complain about Fate

      Ten years after the end of the 39 day IDF siege, exiled terrorists say they have been forgotten.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 5/10/2012, 10:44 PM

      Manger Square outside Church of Nativity
      Manger Square outside Church of Nativity
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Ten years have passed since the end of the 39-day IDF siege of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, where 39 terrorists had holed up. The siege was ended through an agreement that involved exiling the terrorists to other countries.

      Bethlehem-based news agency Ma'an says the terrorists now feel "abandoned by the Palestinian Authority and all political factions."

      They have not been allowed to return to their families in Judea and Samaria, the agency notes.

      Deportees had planned to demonstrate on Thursday but canceled the protest to support the terrorists on hunger strike in Israeli jails, a spokesman for the group – Fahmi Kanan – said at a press conference on Monday. Ma'an quoted him but did not say where the news conference was held.

      The terrorists took shelter in the famous church, and used about 40 priests and nuns as a shield, knowing Israel would not take a chance on inadvertently hurting priests and nuns.

      The deportees will go on a 3-day hunger strike on Thursday in solidarity with detainees in Israeli jails, Kanan said.