Campaigners breach walls of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday

horse and donkey soon to be arrested

horse and donkey soon to be arrested

A group of more than 100 peaceful demonstrators, made up of Palestinian Christians, Muslims, internationals and some Jewish supporters, adults and children,  including people riding two donkeys and a horse,  managed to breach the tight security separating Bethlehem and Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. 

More than 150 people started from the Church of Nativity at 11.30am carrying palm leaves and banners asking for freedom of worship and movement.

A spokesman said:  "Like Jesus, we knew this was not going to be an easy entry but we did believe in the goodness of humanity.  We arrived at the main gate used for tourist buses at around 12.30 and decided to just keep going. The few soldiers and police at the gate tried to close it but we managed to get in and the huge eight metre high metal gate jammed half way. 

"The Israeli security forces tried to close other fences but we kept going.  As word reached their offices, the Israeli army mobilized its forces and soon several army jeeps arrived and blocked the road half way between the gate and Deir Mar Elias, the monastery at the edge of the city.

"Ibrahim Salah riding his donkey spoke to them in Hebrew and asked why can't we go to Jerusalem.  It is our right to travel.   He was the first to be violently knocked down off his donkey and arrested.  The next was an American girl, then some Palestinians. All were violently wrestled to the ground, even those peacefully walking back to the gates.

"Some 60 of us were rounded up. Israeli forces released four Israelis and the one American student.  They kept 11 Palestinians and are charging them with 'incitement', 'participating in an unauthorized demonstration',  'entering 'Israel' without a permit, and 'interfering in police business'. 

A donkey and a horse belonging to Ibrahim were also arrested, because they too walked through the gates without permits.

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