Israel bars West Bank Christians from Jerusalem on Palm Sunday

(File photo: Jordan News)
TEL AVIV — On Sunday, the Israeli occupation authorities prevented Christian citizens from the occupied West Bank from accessing the occupied city of Jerusalem to participate in the Palm Sunday celebrations. اضافة اعلان

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) imposed strict military measures at checkpoints surrounding Jerusalem and in the vicinity of the Old City. Israeli authorities require Palestinians, both Muslims and Christians, to obtain special permits to cross their military checkpoints surrounding the holy city and access places of worship, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Al-Mamlaka TV reported.

The authorities impose restrictions on issuing permits, requiring citizens to possess an ID card issued by the Israeli authorities after undergoing what they call a ‘security check.’ Subsequently, citizens are forced to download a special application on their mobile devices and submit a request for the permit, which is often denied.

The traditional Palm Sunday procession begins in the afternoon from the Church of Bethphage to the Church of Saint Anne inside the walls of the Old City, followed by a special prayer led by Pierbattista Pizzaballa.

The Mass was attended by bishops, priests, a crowd of monks, nuns, and a limited number of worshipers, mostly from Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories of 1948, after the Israeli authorities prevented thousands of Christians from the West Bank from reaching the holy city.

 All festive celebrations have been canceled by the churches in light of the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza since October 7, 2023. Celebrations are limited to holding masses, prayers, and religious rituals.

A limited number of Christian pilgrims from various countries around the world have arrived in Jerusalem, amidst the cancellation of several airline flights due to the ongoing war on Gaza, in addition to the strict restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on the entry of foreigners through the King Hussein Bridge.

 Churches following the Western calendar in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, and Gaza celebrate Palm Sunday, while churches in Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin celebrate Easter according to the Eastern calendar.

 In Gaza, a Palm Sunday Mass was held at the Church of Saint Ann Latin Holy Family Church, despite the difficult circumstances imposed by the ongoing war, with the participation of several displaced citizens who have been taking shelter in the church since the start of the war.

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