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Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Nativity End-Game- I'm not sure if any bloggers or pundits have looked out at what the siege at the Church of the Nativity is going to look like as the weeks and months go on. The Israelis aren't going to let the gunnies go and the gunnies aren't going to surrender. Even though Israel's going to do what is in their best interest and give the middle-digit salute to world opinion when needed, they're unlikely to storm the building and take the wrath of the international community if they have the option of waiting them out. Then, what we have is a siege that reminds me of Waco or the Montana Freeman standoff of 1997. The Freemen standoff lasted 78 days while Waco lasted 51 days. The first ended with the torching of the building and the second ended peacefully. The Branch Davidians and the Freemen had an advantage I don't think the al Asqa crew has; they were being laid siege to in their own compound with their stash of food and ammo. The Palestinian gunnies would likely have much less ammo and food. There hasn't been any food brought in since the siege started two weeks ago. What happens when the people in the church start to starve? Do the Palestinians sit there and die a slow death? Do the priests and nuns in the building give up their rations sacrificially and die first, having their bodies carted off for all the world to watch? Do the devout Muslims open up the Nativity Cafe ("Donner-party of five. Donner, party of five")? Do the Israelis have the stomach to pull off the two-month siege that would drive the gunnies to give up or die of starvation? Do we Americans have the stomach to watch and not step in? Once the other parts of the West Bank are subdued, the attention of the media will return to Ramallah and Bethlehem. This will get very ugly and will test the character of a lot of people to follow their convictions to their very nasty and distasteful conclusions.

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