Israeli Forces’ Attacks on Christians in Jerusalem: A Blatant Violation of Freedom of Worship and a Manifestation of the Israeli Apartheid System
The Europeans for al-Quds Organization vehemently denounces the recent attacks by Israeli forces on Palestinian Christians attempting to observe Holy Saturday and Easter at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in occupied Jerusalem. The organization strongly condemns the Israeli police’s use of physical force against the worshipers, which resulted in several injuries.
The Israeli authorities have been imposing severe restrictions on Christians’ access to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre since April 13, closing several gates leading to the church and setting up military checkpoints. They have also limited the number of Christians allowed to participate in the celebration, issuing special permits to control the number of individuals entering the church.
These actions are part of a broader pattern of violations of freedom of worship perpetrated by the Israeli authorities. They also constitute an extension of the restrictions that Muslims face when trying to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as the repeated attacks on the mosque and the repression of Muslims during the month of Ramadan.
The Europeans for al-Quds Organization considers these attacks a flagrant violation of the freedom of worship and an epitome of the Israeli system of apartheid. While Israel provides all protection and facilities for Jews to perform their prayers and rituals, including in places sacred to Muslims, it obstructs the establishment of Islamic and Christian rituals in Jerusalem as part of its efforts to change the city’s character and Judaize it.
The organization urges the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Nazla Ghana, to take a strong stance against Israel’s violations that infringe upon the fundamental right of worship guaranteed under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.