Holy Land: Christians denied right to attend Easter services

After hundreds of years of celebrating Easter in Jerusalem, Christians in the Holy Land are once again being denied freedom of worship during Holy Week by the Israeli occupation police. Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Holy Fire Saturday, and Easter Sunday are the holiest days celebrated by Christians in Jerusalem, but through road blocks in the old city and a police presence with machine guns, as well as rude and hostile attitudes from police and army officers, Christians are increasingly being restricted from being able to move freely.

Christians from the Holy Land have called upon the international community, and particularly the Christian world to put pressure on Israel to end the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the restrictions on Holy Land Christians' basic human right to exercise their basic religious rights.

For example the unique Holy Fire Saturday march headed by the Arab Orthodox Priest of St Jacob's Cathedral, goes from the Christian Quarter to the Holy Sepulchre has been celebrated as far back as 1106 AD. Traditionally on this holy day the local community to wait for the Holy fire on top of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate roof. Generations of Palestinian christians have welcomed visiting tourists and pilgrims to the plaza of the Holy Sepulchre for this event. During the past 5 years the tradition processions and gatherings in public spaces have been jeopardized, minimized and made impossible due to the Israeli police restrictions implemented on the ground.

In response to these discrimating actions, Palestinian Christian organisations in occupied East Jerusalem have initiated a legal process “to preserve the right to freely access our churches and shrines”. The legal actions on the Supreme Court level will be against everyone who is involved in this discriminatory policy, including the Israeli police and the Israeli Jerusalem municipality.

You can find out more information about this situation and the signatories of legal action here: www.oikoumene.org/en/programmes/public-witness-addressing-power-affirming-peace/churches-in-the-middle-east/pief/news-events/a/article/7313/christians-in-the-holy-la.html

Source: Amos Trust

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