Palestinian Christians request prayer for nuns of the Coptic Orthodox church and convent in Bethlehem following the postponement of a court hearing scheduled for 11th July.
The hearing, relating to a physical attack on the nuns in the context of a long-running property dispute, is now scheduled for 10th October. In the meantime, there is pressure on the church to drop legal proceedings and agree “a deal” with the family involved in the disputes. This family is known to have close connections with the Palestinian Authorities.
In 1998 an elderly blind Palestinian woman was given a room on the church property adjacent to the convent, but her family moved in and took over more of the property. The church filed a complaint but a judge dropped the case in 2015 due to “lack of evidence”. The case has been referred to a higher court. The property disputes have resulted in the nuns being physically assaulted on many occasions.
On 30th April 2017 the nuns called the police after a physical assault by a member of the family. A policeman arrived and asked the nuns and two witnesses to make a statement at the police station. As they were on the way by car to the police station, two men cut in front of them and started hitting the nuns’ car with a metal bar and car jack. The assailants were unaware of the presence of the policeman inside the car, who made himself known and stopped the attack. The nuns and those accompanying them continued to the police station and filed a complaint.
MAY BE CIRCULATED TO GENERAL MAILING LISTS, OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS, AND QUOTED FROM FREELY IN REPORTS CITING “MIDDLE EAST CONCERN” AS THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION.
a. for protection for the nuns
b. that justice will be done, and that there will be no “cover-up”
c. that the property disputes will be resolved in favour of the church
d. for wisdom and strength for church leaders and state officials to stand firm and not bow to pressure that would compromise justice
e. that the perpetrators of the assaults will repent of what they have done