Happy Easter From Occupied birth place of Jesus , Palestine !
In the annual Palm Sunday procession, Palestinian Christians carry signs naming their West Bank communities, all of which are cut off from Jerusalem by the Israeli separation barrier, requiring their residents to obtain special permits to enter, March 24, 2013. Such restrictions have dramatically reduced the number of Palestinians able to participate in religious traditions of any faith in Jerusalem
Palestinian Christians protest Israeli permit regime during Palm Sunday procession .(x)
During the annual Palm Sunday procession, Palestinian Christians protest permits delayed and denied during the Easter season. Photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org
Whether during Ramadan or Easter, every year, Palestinians with West Bank IDs face challenges entering Jerusalem for religious worship. Despite claims by Israeli authorities of granting more permits and relaxing restrictions, each year thousands of worshipers are denied entry.
This Easter season, early reports indicate that Palestinian Christian communities from the northern West Bank had to cancel their Palm Sunday celebrations in Jerusalem due to a lack of permits. Parishes from the Bethlehem and Ramallah areas received between 30% and 40% of the permits they requested.
One individual from the Bethlehem area lamented that while he was granted entry, the rest of his family was turned away at the checkpoint. Such arbitrary policies are typical with Israel’s permitting system, which rarely provides a coherent rationale for who is granted and who is denied, other the than the catch-all excuse of “security reasons”.
Palestinian Christians and Muslims rightly ask why if they are granted special permission to visit Jerusalem for religious holiday seasons–and are at that time not considered a security threat–why they are not allowed to freely visit throughout the year.
The heavy Israeli military presence along the procession route contrasts with the original meaning of the holiday. Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem, marking the beginning of the Christian Holy Week. According to the Christian scriptures, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there lay down their cloaks in front of him and waved palm branches as a symbol of victory. Additional symbolism included his choice to ride on a donkey, perhaps referring to Eastern traditions that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war. A king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and rode upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would thus symbolize his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.
The Gospel of Luke also contains this prescient passage of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem: “As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’”
Penitents In Cuenca By José Ortiz Echagüe, 1940
Michael Pacher, St. Wolfgang Altarpiece, in the church at St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut, Austria, c. 1479-81
When refusing to affirm Jesus as a Palestinian Jew who spoke Aramaic — a Semitic language that is ancestral to Arabic and Hebrew — the West will continue to view Islam as a “foreign religion.” Hate crimes and discriminatory acts against Muslims, Arabs, and others who are perceived to be Muslim will persist. They will still be treated as “cultural outsiders” and “threats” to the West. Interesting enough, Christianity and Judaism are never considered “foreign religions,” despite having Middle Eastern origins, like Islam. As Douglas-Klotz insists, affirming Jesus as a native Middle Eastern person “enables Christians to understand that the mind and message” of Jesus arises from “the same earth as have the traditions of their Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers.”
Jesus would not prefer one race or group of people over another. I believe he would condemn today’s demonization and dehumanization of the Palestinian people, as well as the misrepresentations of him that fuel white supremacy. As a Muslim, I believe Jesus was a Prophet of God, and if I were to have any say about the Christmas spirit, it would be based on Jesus’ character: humility, compassion, and Love. A Love in which all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation are respected and appreciated.
And in that spirit, I wish you all a merry Christmas. Alaha Natarak (Aramaic: God be with you)."
By Noam Sheizaf
December 24, 2012
We now open our Christmas celebrations with the traditional Islamophobic message from the Prime Minister’s Office:
While Prime Minister Netanyahu is using the holiday to present his tea-party talking points against anything Muslim, it’s a good time to remember that roughly 20,000 Palestinian Christians are living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank, without proper political representation, freedom of travel, equality before the law, and many other civil and human rights. Unlike the Israeli prime minister, the occupation doesn’t know the difference between a Muslim and a Christian.
Copyright © 2012 +972 Magazine.