EAPPI News Update–March/April 2010
A message of hope in a time of suffering
“We see a determination among many to overcome the resentments of the past and to be ready for reconciliation once justice has been restored.”
Greetings from Jerusalem. Here in the holy city of the three Abrahamic faiths, Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims are joining with their brethren from around the world to celebrate Holy Week. Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar, reminding us of God’s love, the value of forgiveness and the hope of redemption.
For Palestinians this is also a time of sadness as they witness the occupation eating up the land and further restricting their rights. Palestinian Christians, after hundreds of years of celebrating their most significant annual festival in Jerusalem, are being denied freedom of worship this Easter as the Israeli grip on the city tightens.
Yet in response to the call for “loving resistance” in the Palestine Kairos document issued in December last year, Palm Sunday witnessed an extraordinary celebration in Bethlehem.
A group of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, holding palm branches, simply walked through the main checkpoint in the Wall cutting Bethlehem off from Jerusalem. Soldiers at the checkpoint were caught off guard and the demonstration managed to move right past them. Several activists were later arrested.
A message from Jerusalem’s Christians
As Easter draws close, Christians in the Holy Land have been encouraged to persevere in their faith. Thirteen Heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued an Easter message of hope and encouragement, acknowledging that the Church “faces struggles here in this land.”
“We know the power of God to bring hope out of despair,” they said.
“We know the power of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to use forgiveness and love to conquer evil. We know the power of the forgiveness of sins to redeem relationships in families and among the family of nations.”
Meanwhile, the liberation theology centre Sabeel issued a prayer for peace with justice.
“In this Easter season, pilgrims from around the world come to Jerusalem to mark the death and celebrate the resurrection of Christ. We pray that the people visiting this land will remember the powerful message of love and nonviolence demonstrated by Jesus,” it said.
The Sabeel statement also welcomed the 35th group of Ecumenical Accompaniers who began their service on Palm Sunday.
Easter updates from EAPPI
EAPPI has now launched a Youtube service with a video on house demolitions in Jerusalem. In Hebron, an Ecumenical Accompanier was able to grab a few minutes for an exclusive interview with veteran Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti.
Channel 4’s recent documentary on the children of Gaza is also worth watching.
And as always, the EAPPI website offers you the latest human stories from the ground. Recent Eyewitness reports include the story of a PLO militant turned non-violent activist, how West Bank checkpoints are being privatized, and the tale of a Bedouin community surviving in the South Hebron Hills – just.
Read all of this and more at www.eappi.org.
An Easter Prayer
During this Holy Week, together with all Christians throughout the world, we pray that Jesus, crucified and risen, will give hope to all who live in fear; and to nourish with His eternal bread those who hunger for freedom, justice and peace.
EAPPI wishes you and yours a happy and blessed Easter / Pesach.