Holy Land Christians protest Israeli police restrictions during Easter celebrations
Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum Action Alert
Holy Land Christians are protesting the denial of the freedom of worship by the Israeli occupation police during Easter celebrations. In a press release, they have complained that Israeli Police will impose restrictions and limit the movement of all Christian worshipers during the celebrations. These restrictions will particularly affect the Holy Fire Saturday in Jerusalem, which has been celebrated from as far back as 1106 AD. The celebrations have been governed for the past decades by the status quo of 1852 covering the processions within the boundaries of the Holy Sepulcher Church in addition to traditions by the local community and pilgrims in its vicinity.
Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Holy Fire Saturday, and Easter Sunday are the Holiest days celebrated in Jerusalem for Christians. Christians are denied their fundamental right of freely exercise their religion because of road blocks in the old city, police presence with machine guns, as well as rude and hostile attitudes from police and Army officers. The curfews and forced closures make these movements almost impossible. In sharp contrast, Israel allows Jews to freely access their temples.
Today when a debate has been initiated regarding the freedom of worship in Jerusalem due to the constant settler aggressions against Al Aqsa Mosque (Al Haram Al Sharif) and despite the fact that Israeli officials have made public assurances that “only Israel” can keep freedom of religion in Jerusalem, the Holy Land Christians denounce Israel’s discriminatory and restrictive policies. Palestinian Christian organizations in occupied East Jerusalem have initiated a legal process “to preserve the right to freely access our churches and shrines”.
Palestinian Christians now “call upon the international community, and particularly to the Christian World, including its churches and civil society to put pressure on Israel to end the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem as well as in this particular case to stop limiting Holy Land Christians from exercising their basic religious rights.”
Please respond strongly in support of the legitimate claim of Holy Land Christians for their right to religion to be respected.