Greek Catholic Archbishop Joseph Raya began an 'indefinite' hunger strike outside the Parliament buildings in Jerusalem on Monday (16 July) to back demands for Christian Arab villagers to be allowed to return to their homes from which they were expelled 25 years ago.
CU Bishop Raya ZOOM OUT TO GV PAN villagers around him
SV ZOOM TO reporter speaks to Bishop
NEWSMAN: Your Grace, why are you striking?
RAYA; I'm striking...hunger striking in protest on regulations of the British mandate which have been called by our present Minister of Justice, in 1946 as barbaric and Nazi and which are applied daily to the people (garbled) are two villagers from Galilee. In 1948 they surrendered, they received the soldiers that had been asked to leave their villages for only 15 days with a written promise they'll come back and they never came back. They had been waiting 25 years to go back home and I tried all this time to solve the problem with the Government in a Christian way, and in a friendly way, but now the last action of the Government is to apply to these people the regulations of the British mandate of 1945. That's why I'm hunger striking.
NEWSMAN: How long are you going to strike?
RAYA: I'm going to strike as long as my health can hold out."
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The following is a transcript of the interview with Archbishop Raya.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Greek Catholic Archbishop Joseph Raya began an 'indefinite' hunger strike outside the Parliament buildings in Jerusalem on Monday (16 July) to back demands for Christian Arab villagers to be allowed to return to their homes from which they were expelled 25 years ago.
The Lebanese Archbishop, who's a United States citizen, said that he'd received police permission to demonstrate for one day. He said that he'd ask for extensions daily until his demands were met.
When he began his hunger strike, he was interviewed by newsmen.
SYNOPSIS: In Jerusalem on Monday, Greek Catholic Archbishop Joseph Raya was surrounded by villagers and children as he began his hunger strike which he hoped would help clear a way for some Christian Arabs to return to their homes.