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» 03/29/2010
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Holy Week in Jerusalem, difficulties for Palestinian Christians
by Joshua Lapide
The government has closed borders with the West Bank. Young people banned from Temple Mount. Christians can only enter the city with permission. Travel from Gaza almost impossible. Bishop Twal: Jesus came into Jerusalem without escort, without soldiers and without walls of separation. The concern of the pope.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Palestinian Christians are facing a series of problems this Holy Week.  They are being forced to go through a series of procedures to get to Jerusalem from Gaza and the West Bank. The Israeli government decided yesterday to close the border with the West Bank for 9 days and is only allowing access for humanitarian reasons or to Christians who have permission to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem. It is almost impossible for Christians in Gaza were to obtain permission. Because of the presence of many Jewish pilgrims and for fear of possible attacks, the entrance to the Temple Mount is still forbidden to men younger under 50.

This year, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants will celebrate Easter on the same dates. According to figures provided by the airport authorities, this year there is an increase of 19% of travellers to and from Israel.  

The Council of Arab Orthodox have invited all Christians to come to Jerusalem despite the prohibitions and restrictions of the occupying power. It has asked all the heads of Churches in Jerusalem to "uphold the rights and aspirations of their communities and to oppose Israel's discriminatory policy towards freedom of worship."  

Yesterday, meanwhile, the Catholic community of Jerusalem celebrated the start of Holy Week with Palm Sunday procession from the Mount of Olives to the Old City. The parade, consisting of at least 2000 people, including local and international pilgrims, was led by Latin Patriarch, Mgr. Fouda Twal and the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Giovanni Battista Pizzaballa.

Before the blessing, the patriarch said that Jesus entered the Holy City in the same way as the assembly "without armed escort, without soldiers and without walls of separation," referring to the tense situation in this city and the wall that rises on the border between the State of Israel and the Occupied Territories. "May the Passion of Christ save us from our passions," said Msgr. Twal.

Yesterday, in St Peter's Square, the Angelus, Benedict XVI expressed his concern about the situation in Jerusalem: "At this time - he said - our thoughts and our hearts are directed especially to Jerusalem, where the Pascal mystery took place. I am deeply saddened by the recent conflicts and tensions that have once again occurred in this city, which is spiritual home to Christians, Jews and Muslims, a prophecy and promise of that universal reconciliation that God wants for the whole human family. Peace is a gift that God entrusts to human responsibility, to cultivate it through dialogue and respect for the rights of all, reconciliation and forgiveness. I pray, therefore, that those responsible for the fate of Jerusalem engage with courage on the path to peace and follow it with perseverance. "   Image: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem


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See also
12/21/2004 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Days that seem to announce peace, says Patriarch Michael Sabbah
10/14/2004 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Israel wants to limit access to al-Aqsa mosque
03/24/2005 ISRAEL – PALESTINE – HOLY LAND
Jerusalem: the Cross breaks down the wall of fear
by Bernardo Cervellera
04/11/2006 HOLY LAND
Mgr Sabbah calls on Israelis and Palestinians to stop hatred
12/29/2010 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Build bridges of peace, not walls, Jerusalem Churches say
PHILIPPINES
Ancient chant reminds Filipinos of the example of Christ on the Cross
INDIA
Holy Week: The love of Christ close to the sorrows of the world
SRI LANKA
Retreats, pilgrimages and collections to prepare for Easter
VATICAN
Pope: Palm Sunday, Jesus is the king who brings heaven’s peace to earth
PHILIPPINES
Songs, dances and Gospel stories bring Easter to life for orphans and elderly of Malolos
THAILAND
The testimony of lay Thais in formation of catechumens

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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