Israeli forces block Palestinian Christians from entering Jerusalem's Old City
Israeli forces have obstructed Palestinian Christians from observing Holy Saturday at the Church of the Resurrection, in line with the Orthodox Christian calendar.
Footage posted by worshippers on social media reportedly shows heavily guarded blockades erected at entrances leading to the church, at the heart of the Old City.
Israeli forces placed barricades and told worshippers to access the Old City via "different routes" if they wished to gain access to the church.
من المسجد الأقصى إلى كنيسة القيامة !— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) April 23, 2022
قوات الاحتلال تعتدي على المسيحيين وتعرقل وصولهم إلى كنيسة القيامة في القدس المحتلة للاحتفال بـ "سبت النور" pic.twitter.com/2p8uhluiMk
The restrictions were imposed despite successful petitions to the Israeli supreme court made by orthodox institutions of Jerusalem ahead of the day's celebrations, ahead of marking the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.
Israel's highest court had previously announced that 4,000 worshippers may enter the church and its compound, while no limit should be imposed on those wishing to enter the Old City to mark Holy Saturday.
The high council for church affairs in Palestine has warned against the worsening situation in occupied Jerusalem in a statement released on Saturday.
"People and institutions from the orthodox faith have presented a petition to the Supreme Court, speaking out against Israel’s decision to limit and restrict Christians' access to the church of the resurrection," they said in a statement on Saturday.
"This is an attempt to infringe our human rights and internationally respected freedoms to practice our religion," the statement said.
Christian leaders are standing firmly alongside Muslim Palestinians facing violations by occupying forces at Al-Aqsa mosque on a daily basis during Ramadan this year.
The statement condemned "the continued violence against worshippers praying at al-Aqsa during the holy month of Ramadan, and the incursions by Israeli settlers onto the compound" as well as "the diminishing number of permits awarded to worshippers trying to access holy sites".
ما شهدته مداخل كنيسة القيامة في البلدة القديمة في القدس من توتر بعد تحديد عدد المسحيين المشاركين باحتفالات سبت النور داخل الكنيسة . pic.twitter.com/JAwoT4TEmo— laila odeh الإعلامية ليلى عودة (@lailaodeh4) April 23, 2022
Despite the crackdown on worshippers, Palestinians have continued to pray and worship in the occupied city.
As many as 150,000 people gathered for Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem despite Israeli attacks in the morning, which injured dozens.
Jewish extremists who wish to build a temple at the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, backed by Israeli security forces, have stormed the mosque courtyard several times over the past week, leading to daily clashes.