Palestinian Christians prevented from Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem since 1967
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/20/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
Palestinian Christians feel the sting of segregation acutely during Holy Week. Strict, Israeli restrictions on movement prevents their access to holy sites in nearby Jerusalem. Many holy sites have remained out of reach in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967. Israel at that time defied international law to occupy and effectively annex East Jerusalem, home to the city's most sacred sites. Palestinians wishing to visit the city is through a special permit issued by Israeli authorities.
Israel issues some permits to both Christians and Muslims during religious holidays, but this can be a lengthy and bureaucratic process. Permits are usually issued to older, married Palestinians.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Having access to the Holy City or to churches there especially at this time of year is our normal right as Palestinians," one of the lucky few who have been granted permission to visit says. "It should not be associated with anything political."
"It is very painful to see people coming from the whole world, from places [as far as] Japan, and they can easily reach the holy sites while our people and Christians from Iraq, Jordan and other [Arab] countries cannot," another Christian says.
In lieu of celebrating in Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Greek Catholic Church in Ramallah's Old City to solemnly commemorate Good Friday.
Palestinian Christians there re-enacted the burial of Jesus, along with a lengthy ritual of prayer, Gospel recitations and hymn singing. Later, the Catholic congregation joined Greek Orthodox worshippers from a nearby church.
Both Orthodox and Catholic churches, which normally mark Easter at different times, celebrated the holiday the same week; also coinciding with the Jewish Passover.
Restrictions on Palestinian movement were tightened further after Israel first started erecting a separation barrier in 2002. Only about 20 percent of the structure, made of concrete slabs and fences, follows the internationally recognized border between Israel and the West Bank known as the Green Line.
The structure effectively barred Palestinians, from all different religious backgrounds, from entering Jerusalem without Israeli permission.
Israel issues some permits to both Christians and Muslims during religious holidays, but this can be a lengthy and bureaucratic process. Permits are usually issued to older, married Palestinians; and Christians have to apply through their churches and parishes. The number of permits issued are not always reflective of the population, and do not always get issued on time.
Some 17,000 permits were issued to Christians inside the West Bank this year, and 600 in the Gaza Strip.
For the faithful here, Jerusalem is often thought of as an impossibly far-away destination, despite it being only some 50 miles away. "In the past 10 years, I have not been issued a permit for the Christian holidays," one Gaza-based mother of three says.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for APRIL 2018
For those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters. That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.
Hospitals have become military targets in Syria, making it difficult to provide aid to victims of the country's civil war, according to ... continue reading
A military conflict appears imminent over Syria as the United States and its allies prepare to carry out strikes on Syria. Those strikes ... continue reading
The United States and France have vowed a joint response against Bashir al Assad's regime in Syria following a chemical weapons attack on ... continue reading
Syria, Seven Years Later Watch
Seven years ago, on March 15, 2011, the Syrian Civil War began. Since then, the conflict in Syria has forced more than 5.4 million people ... continue reading
Looters from the Islamic State managed to discover the palace of an ancient Assyrian king under the tomb of Jonah in Mosul, Iraq. ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Monday, April 23rd, 2018 HD Video
- Five things Catholics can do to promote international religious freedom
- St. Anselm: Saint of the Day for Saturday, April 21, 2018
- California bill that could BAN THE BIBLE advances
- Death threats for opposing gay marriage? Florist appeals to Supreme Court
- Has California just voted to ban the BIBLE? HD Video
- Daily Readings for Saturday, April 21, 2018
- Daily Reading for Sunday, April 22nd, 2018 HD
- Global Warming threatening Europe with colder weather HD
- The Memorare HD
- God Alone Suffices HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education