Gaza onslaught overshadows Christian celebrations in Jerusalem

Fri, 3 May 2024 18:28 GMT
‘This year, Jerusalem is a sad city,’ says spokesperson of Christian Orthodox Church in occupied Jerusalem
Gaza onslaught overshadows Christian celebrations in Jerusalem

Sadness overshadowed the observance of Good Friday in East Jerusalem, where Christian communities adhering to the Eastern calendar celebrated amid Israeli restrictions.

Unlike previous years, when tens of thousands participated in celebrating the occasion, this year’s celebration was very modest.

Father Issa Musleh, the spokesperson of the Christian Orthodox Church in occupied Jerusalem, told Anadolu that “the Holy Week celebrations were limited to religious rituals as a protest by Christians against what is happening in Gaza.”

“We, as Christians, stand in solidarity with Gaza,” Musleh said.

Every year, light is transferred from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to churches in the region in a festive atmosphere.

However, Musleh indicated that the transfer of light from the church will take place without celebrations.

“We will receive light only at the doors of churches in Jordan and throughout Palestine and other countries,” Musleh said, noting that “there are no participants from the West Bank because they couldn’t obtain Israeli permits.”

"This year, Jerusalem is a sad city due to the absence of its people, pilgrims, and visitors,” he added.

Israel has for over half a year waged a war on Gaza that has resulted in widespread death and destruction in the coastal enclave.

More than 34,600 Palestinians have since been killed and over 77,800 injured. The vast majority of the dead have been women and children. Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

Israel is also accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is "plausible" that Israel's actions amount to genocide, and ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit such acts, and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.


* Writing by Ikram Kouachi - AA

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