April 17, 2011
Palestine Liberation Organization
Dr. Erakat on Israel’s policies on Palm Sunday
Dr. Saeb Erakat, member of the PLO Executive Committee, sent his well-wishes to the Christian community in Palestine and worldwide, on the occasion of Palm Sunday and the beginning of the Easter Holy Week.
Dr. Erakat also noted the somberness of the occasion: “In recalling the suffering of Christ we can’t help but acknowledge the suffering of his community who are facing a systematic policy of population transfer in occupied Jerusalem as a part of Israel’s de-Arabization measures.” Dr. Erakat stated that the severe restrictions placed on Palestinian Christians’ freedom of worship are wholly unrelated to any legitimate governmental interest. He stated, “It is a shame that the oldest Christian community in the world has to pass through Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks, and has to place their names in what is in effect a lottery just to obtain the special military permits to be able to worship at their Holy Places that are located only a few kilometers away from their homes.” He pointed out that it is much easier for a Christian pilgrim from Japan to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem than it is for a local Palestinian Christian.
“Israel, the occupying power, has been constantly targeting Palestinian religious, cultural and social festivities in Jerusalem. Though these restrictions exist for local Christian and Muslim celebrations, Israeli Jews and Jews from all over the world are allowed to freely celebrate their holy days in occupied East Jerusalem,” he concluded.
For a better understanding of Israeli policies in Jerusalem, please visit our latest Fact Sheet entitled 'Waiting for the resurrection of justice in Palestine: Access, Religious Celebrations and the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem’.