Arab Christians Denied Chance to observe Good Friday
While many of us will have celebrated Easter as a joyful event and as a sign the victory of truth over death and destruction the news from Palestine is still dispiriting.
Once more, Israeli authorities have denied thousands of Palestinians the right to observe Good Friday in the Old City of Jerusalem. (See report below). The argument Israel makes is that security is a paramount priority to the Jews when they commemorate the Passover.
This is a clearly discriminative practice and one that requires to be condemned because it tramples over the right to the freedom of religion. Worse, it puts a premium on one practice while it denigrates another. This policy has been repeatedly condemned by the international community but the protests seem to fall on deaf ears. Israel pursues the procedure of blocking access by refusing permits to enter Jerusalem, through creating road blocks in the old city, and using the intimidating presence of heavily armed security personnel. Even as a matter of routine, Israeli occupation authority permits Jews to freely access their temples, but imposes severe restrictions on the daily lives of Palestinians, including curfews and forced closures.
Christians from the Holy Land keep insisting their Christian sisters and brothers, and, indeed, the international community, as a whole, put pressure on Israel to end the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and to cease limiting Holy Land Christians from exercising their basic religious rights.
At the end of the day, Palestinians live in steadfast hope and the determination to resist the occupation until it ends. Their conviction is that the darkeness will give way to light and to an era when justice will reign in their troubled land and peace will be restored to the whole world.
At the level of the international community, we can not allow the seemingly dominant Israeli political class to submerge our determination to contest the illegality and immorality of Israel’s actions in Palestine. It is obvious that mere reshuffling of the political cards by the US and its allies, who also have the moral responsibility for the blatant violations of Palestinian rights by Israel, will not do. Incrementalism is not the answer. An end to the occupation and the enforcement of UN resolutions and international law is non-negotiable.
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