Yesterday, a media tour organized by the Negotiations Affairs Department inside the old city of Jerusalem looked closely at the challenges and restrictions imposed on Palestinians access to Holy Sites during Easter. An important stop of this activity was at the Latin Patriarchate.
With questions and answers in different languages from different reporters, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem complained “Our congregations, our sons and daughters were not with me on Palm Sunday. This was due to limited permits or no permits at all or very late permits that were received few hours before the procession on Sunday” He added “Many bus loads, from the different West Bank cities and villages were ready to come but were turned down because the Israeli authorities did not grant them military permit to access Jerusalem for worship”. Very calmly He said “Our faithful also include Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. They too, want very much to be here”.
The Media group, made up of around 30 reporters and correspondents to different media channels and press companies, including mainstream media from Europe, the US and the Arab World, was very appreciative for this tour that started near Al Aqsa Mosque .The group witnessed all the violent incidents and closure in the morning, continuing through the Stations of the Cross guided by Nora Carmi from Kairos Palestine, to the Holy Sepulcher guided by Fr. Firas Aridah (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem), and a short on the ground visit to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate’s roof organized by the Jerusalem Inter-church Center. The roof is the site where Palestinian Christians are demanding access during Holy Fire Saturday as part of their right as per the Status Quo .
The Tour ended at the Greek Orthodox society cultural museum were reporters got briefed by Mr. Bassem Khoury , a members of the Arab Orthodox Union Club and former Minister at the Palestinian government. Mr. Khoury explained the traditional right of Christians in the Easter processions and the court case against the Police at Supreme Court of Israel that is still in progress.