Sunday, April 23, 2006
Embittered Easter: Christians Denied Permits to Prayer in Sepulcher Church
RAMMALLAH, Palestine, April 23,2006 (IPC+ Agencies) - -Thousands of the Christians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are no longer able to celebrate the Easter Holiday in East Jerusalem, as the Via Dolorosa, the street of sorrow in the old town on which Jesus walked on his way to crucification before 2000 years, blocked with the Isareli militry checkpoints and the faded merry of Easter by the pan-denial of Permits for the pilgrims wiling to mark the Good Friday procession in the sepulchre church on 22 April.
The Easter Days would not be a special day for the Israeli occupation forces, as many as pilgrim's prayers and candles kept unlighted and away of the most sacred site for the Christians allover the world, behind the Israeli checkpoints.
The father Militusse Basal, the chief of Tajali Al Rab monastery in Rammallah said "with advent of the Easter celebration every year we find difficulties to issue permits from the Israeli liaison office in Beit Eail. This year the taken measures get harder but the results already known, denial the application of permits by the residents to enter Jerusalem."
The Israeli military liaison office prerequisites, an unprecedented measure that application for entry permit to East Jerusalem be signed and stamped by the church the resident belongs to, afforded additional hardships on the residents and the clergy of the church because of behind schedule for the Holidays day.
"Above 700 applications of Deir Tahali monastery were requested to Israeli occupation individually but those allowed access to Jerusalem do not exceed hand fingers," Bassal said.
The clergy look at the Israeli occupation arbitrary denial to issue permits for the Christian pilgrims as a apart of the collective punishment against the Palestinian people
The Christians population makes up 5% of the Palestinian people but the number is going to shrink in the last few years to range 2-3 % of the population as many emigrated abroad for work.
The father Abraham Hejazeen, the spiritual leader of Latin community in Rammallah said "the community has applied for a roll of 600 residents willing to take part in Easter celebrations but all permits were denied."
Even though the father Hejazeen religious status enables him to obtain a permit, he preferred to stay in Rammallah to celebrate the Easter with his family "neither my folk is able to reach Jerusalem for prayers, nor do I go there alone."
Getting the entry permit to Jerusalem is not a guarantee, the experiences of the residents turn out that usually the permit holders were disallowed under the pretexts of closures due to the Jewish Holidays.
Meret Khouri, a resident from Rammallah, said "last year I obtained the permit but the Israeli military barred me access on the claim that east Jerusalem is closed because of Jewish Holidays."
The hermetical seal of east Jerusalem and Israeli bullying coincides with worse economic recession due to the salaries overdue and the consequent setback of purchase power by the majority of the Palestinians.
The vendor Sami Habash described this year Holiday" the more terrific and the worst economically" as the gifts and souvenirs he brought for the Holiday is still stockpiled.
"The sales of chocolates, wines and sculptures went down to 70% compared to the past year," the vendor said.
He further elaborated "the residents do not have money to buy the Holiday's outfitting and those afforded, just buy little quantities."
SOURCE : IPC + Agencies