YWCA of Palestine Easter 2013 message

YWCA of Palestine Easter 2013 message

Message to the world on occasion of Holy Week/Easter

Thousands of Christians from across the globe flock to Jerusalem every Spring to follow
Jesus during Easter rituals and festivities. This year Easter is celebrated twice. The Western
Church celebrated Easter on March 31. The Eastern Church will celebrate on May 5. While
pilgrims come as far away as Africa, India, or Europe, Palestinians Christians from only a few
kilometers from Jerusalem are denied permits. Only 30 to 40% of permits for the Western
Christian Church celebrations in March were accepted this year. Sometimes only a few
family members were given permits thus not permitting families to celebrate together. Roman
Catholic Patriarch Emeritus Michael Sabbah said: ”We look with great concern at the Israeli
restrictions imposed on us and on our worshippers’ access to the Holy Sepulcher from all
over Palestine, and we believe that the Israeli military permits given to some Christians is
contrary to the spirit of prayer and the spirit of Easter holiday. The right to freedom of worship
is a fundamental human right, and the oppressor ruler has no right to prevent worshippers
from praying or restrict their freedom to worship with an imposed permit regime” (from PLO
Negotiations Affairs Department. Bearing the Cross of Colonization:The Via Dolorosa Today,
Easter 2013).

In addition, even those who got permits faced checkpoints for several days within the Old
City including in front of the Holy Sepulcher. Lack of access to worship however is not only
an issue for Palestinian Christians but for all Palestinians as many Muslims are also denied
access to Jerusalem or Al Aqusa Mosque. Freedom of worship is a basic human right for all
Christian and Muslim citizens.

Bishop Younan from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land said in
his Good Friday sermon that in spite of the lack of progress toward peace “Easter gives us
hope that no oppression or injustice will last.” Jesus’ death reminds us that the Via Dolorosa,
the way of the cross, is still happening. Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that change will come.

Let us pray and work to bring about Peace with Justice to the Holy Land.

Mira Rizek and Abla Nasir
National General Secretary and National President