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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
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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