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Another Look at the Siege in Bethlehem

July 21, 2002

I don't know if The Times gives out medals, but Carolyn Cole certainly deserves one for her excellent photographs taken inside the besieged Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem ('Bringing Bethlehem Home,' June 16). This reader is truly grateful for the scenes from within one of Christianity's holiest places during terrible times. Thanks also to Eric Pape for the very meaningful text.

Charles Jenner

Los Alamitos

*

This is anything but an even-handed review of the siege that took place in Bethlehem. First, the Palestinian terrorists-and they are terrorists-sought protection inside a holy place of worship. This is a cowardly act in itself. Second, they held the Christian clergy hostage in their own church. Third, they desecrated holy artifacts and trashed the interior of the church.

The Israeli soldiers, on the other hand, were extremely respectful of the church and careful not to inflict any damage-though they were fighting a well-armed and dangerous enemy.

The photographs and accompanying text describe these terrorists as placid, religious and respectful of the church. If you only looked at the pictures and didn't read the text, you'd think that these despicable characters were altar boys and not cowardly killers. The text simply confirms the pictures. The Times should be ashamed of such biased journalism. William Osterman

Los Angeles

*

The photo essay revealed some of the consequences of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli war. It convinced me that there are no 'right sides' in this issue. Obviously neither side will consider compromise in exchange for peace. Perhaps all of Israel should be put under international control and the city of Jerusalem be made a separate 'shrine city'-holy to three religions-until all concerned can live with each other in peace.

Mary P. Nugent

Culver City

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