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    » 04/18/2011, 00.00

    ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Holy Week, Israeli and Palestinian border restrictions impedes pilgrims



    In the procession on Palm Sunday, about 10 thousand pilgrims less than in previous years. Many Christian Palestinians stranded at the border with Israel. The vice-chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem emphasizes the atmosphere of joy and devotion of the pilgrims, despite difficulties.

    Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - In the Holy Land the influx of pilgrims is down because of the climate of tensions and tightened controls at checkpoints between Palestinian Territories and the State of Israel. Yesterday, around 10 thousand faithful attended the Palm Sunday procession, led by Msgr. Fouad Twal, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem. The number is down from an average of 20 thousand pilgrims who annually travel the path from the Palestinian village of Betfage to the Old City of Jerusalem. Fr. Marcello Gallardo, vice-chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, told AsiaNews that "many Christians in Bethlehem and Ramallah did not participate in the procession, due to the few permits issued by the Israeli authorities, on the occasion of Holy Week."

    "Despite the difficulties - he adds – there are still many pilgrims and in the coming days many more will flock the holy places of Christ's Passion." The priest said the climate that reigns among the faithful is one of joy and people observe the Easter period with great fervour and devotion. "

    Fr. Athanasius Macora OFM, former director of the Christian Information Center (CIC), says that compared to previous years the holy places are less crowded. According to Cic some foreigners have cancelled their reservations because of the tense situation in the Middle East.

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    See also

    16/04/2011 INDIA
    New Delhi, prayer vigil for access to the holy places for Palestinian Christians
    In front of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, tomorrow, on Palm Sunday, Christians of all denominations gather to protest against restrictions imposed by Israel in access to holy sites during Easter. And to express solidarity with the Palestinian people, living "a state of permanent injustice."

    23/04/2008 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Land mine threat: no baptisms in the Jordan
    The disappointment of thousands of Orthodox faithful, who had gathered along the river yesterday to celebrate Holy Week. Showers of Jordan River water have been set up, but one pilgrim says plunging into the river is entirely another matter.

    24/03/2005 ISRAEL – PALESTINE – HOLY LAND
    Jerusalem: the Cross breaks down the wall of fear
    A talk with Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custodian of the Holy Land.

    31/08/2010 ISRAEL - VATICAN
    Peres to visit Pope at a time of "serious" dialogue between Rome and Jerusalem
    Meeting will have little impact on the practical issues, as the President of Israel is mostly a symbolic figure, but it will take place while attempts get underway in Washington for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The quest for agreements between Israel and the Holy See advance.

    26/03/2008 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Custos of the Holy Land: a "normal" Easter, overflowing with pilgrims
    At least 150,000 faithful from all over the world visited Jerusalem and the holy sites in these days, going to comfort the local Christian communities, of Palestinian and Jewish origin. Easter is the hope for all the unresolved problems in the land of Jesus. Six adults of Russian origin baptised.



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