Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jerusalem Christians complain about police treatment

(PNN) - The Heads of Churches and Patriarchs in Jerusalem condemned in a statement the brutal treatment of the clergy, people, and pilgrims in the Old City of Jerusalem during Holy Saturday last week, Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation said in a press release.

"A day of joy and celebration was turned to great sorrow and pain for some of our faithful because they were ill-treated by some Israeli policemen who were present around the gates of the Old City and passages that lead to the Holy Sepulcher," Heads of Churches said in a statement.

"We understand the necessity and the importance of the presence of security forces to ensure order and stability, and for organizing the celebration of the Holy Fire at the Church of the Resurrection," They continued, "Yet, it is not acceptable that under pretext of security and order, our clergy and people are indiscriminately and brutally beaten, and prevented from entering their churches, monasteries and convents."

They urged the Israeli authorities, especially the Ministry of Interior and the police department in Jerusalem, to seriously consider their complaints, to hold responsibility and to condemn all acts of violence against their faithful and the clergy who were ill-treated by the police.

They deplore that every year, the police measures are becoming tougher, and they expect these accidents will not be repeated and the police should be more sensitive and respectful if they seek to protect and serve.

They added, "We also denounce all those who are blaming the churches and holding them responsible of the Israeli measures during Holy Week celebrations."

The Heads of churches in Jerusalem condemn all of these measures and violations of Christians' rights to worship in their churches and Holy Sites. They also condemn all measures of closing the Old City and urge the Israeli authorities to allow full access to the Holy sites during Holy Week of both Church Calendars.

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