Rifat Kassis, general coordinator of Kairos Palestine affirms that Jerusalem is a city for Christians, Muslims, and Jews alike and calls for the religious symbols of each religious tradition - namely the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Wailing Wall for Jews - to be respected as an integral part of the city. He states that the essential character of Jerusalem - universal, sacred, and embracing - should be affirmed as the conflict is resolved.
The Ma'an news agency reports that Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna has reprehended Israeli authorities on Thursday for imposing obstacles on Christians wishing to enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to celebrate the upcoming Christian holiday of Easter. "It is the right of every Christian to reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre without facing any obstacles, or impediments," the Archbishop said.
This week, Israel's High Court of Justice will hold a hearing on a joint petition by the heads of the five Eastern Orthodox churches and the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land. The petition calls on the Israeli government and police to suspend the heavy security restrictions that make it difficult for worshipers to access holy sites in East Jerusalem on the Saturday before Easter. The petition also requests that armed security personnel not be allowed to enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) was launched by the WCC in 2007 to catalyze and co-ordinate new and existing church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories in accordance with UN resolutions, and demonstrate its commitment to inter-religious action for peace and to justice that serves all peoples of the region.
PIEF acts to
- challenge government support for the occupation
- challenge public support for the occupation
- challenge theological and biblical justifications for the occupation and
- maintain viable the Palestinian Christian presence in the Holy Land.