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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
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

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