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The abuse of Christian worshipers comes just as occupation forces are carrying out violent attacks against Muslim worshipers at the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque.
As Palestinian Christians prepare for the Orthodox Easter, which falls on 24 April, a large group of worshipers were prevented from visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jewish-occupied Jerusalem after Israeli forces blocked the roads near the church’s entrance on the morning of 23 April. Palestinian Christian worshipers were seeking to participate in the Holy Fire ceremony on the day before Orthodox Easter, but Israeli forces blocked the pilgrims from attending the ceremony.
Speaking to Al Mayadeen, Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church stated that the occupation forces ‘blatantly encroach on the sanctity of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in an unprecedented targeting of the Christian presence in the city.’
‘This is a cry to the Christian churches in the east and the whole world to pay attention to the Christian presence in occupied Al-Quds,’ the Orthodox archbishop continued. Unfortunately, the church in the West on the crucifixion of the Palestinian Christians is deaf to the scream of Christian martyrs.
Archbishop Hanna stated that the Israeli occupation is sabotaging Christian holidays, considering it a crime against all Christians. Despite the restrictions, a few worshipers were allowed to enter the holy site under very limited quotas set by the occupation forces and were able to perform the Holy Fire ceremony, despite the small congregation.
Israeli forces were also deployed inside the courtyards of the holy site. The occupation forces engaged in physical and verbal assaults against multiple clergies who were seeking to participate in the ceremony. The crackdown on freedom of worship in occupied Palestine affects both Muslim and Christian Palestinians but has been intensifying as of late.
Since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, Israeli forces have launched violent raids into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. On the second day of the raids and for every day since Israeli forces have allowed extremist settlers to enter the Islamic holy site and perform provocative rituals.
On 18 April, Palestinian resistance factions launched retaliatory missiles into the settlements surrounding Gaza after several warnings were issued to the Israeli authorities that the violations in Al-Aqsa would not go unanswered. Western media consider Palestinian retaliation as Arab terrorism. This was followed by an Israeli aerial assault on Gaza in the early hours of 19 April.
Additional escalations have taken place between the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and the Israeli military. Palestinian Christians are subject to continuous discrimination by Israeli forces as well as extremist settlers, on the basis of both their ethnicity and religion.
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Christian churches and holy sites are often desecrated, such as the June 2015 incident where Jewish extremists committed arson at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, believed to be the site where Jesus performed some of his miracles. Source
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Categories: Current Events