ASIA / HOLY LAND – Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities block the cultural festival organized in the House of Abraham. Heads of Catholic Churches express deep concern

ASIA / HOLY LAND – Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities block the cultural festival organized in the House of Abraham. Heads of Catholic Churches Express Deep Concern

Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) – On Tuesday, October 26, Israeli plainclothes police and security personnel forcibly interrupted the activities of the cultural festival taking place in the Catholic “Abraham’s House” in the eastern neighborhood of Jerusalem, and declared that this activity approved by the Palestinian National Authority was “illegal”. The Assembly of Heads of Catholic Churches in the Holy Land immediately reacted strongly and issued a statement expressing its “concern” at the “repeated hostile and repressive acts” committed in the Holy City by the Israeli authorities “to the ‘with regard to everything considered Palestinian “. Located in the eastern part of the holy city of Jerusalem, the “Maison d’Abraham” in the Old City is a house of pilgrimage opened by Caritas France and under French diplomatic protection. It offers hospitality to pilgrims and supports initiatives in favor of Palestinian families residing in the region. Like the Sainte-Anne church in the old town, this building benefits from the “protection” of the French authorities. On October 26, a three-day cultural festival co-sponsored by the Palestinian National Theater, the National Conservatory of Music and the Mobile Theater opened here. Sponsored by the United Nations and organizations from France, Austria and other countries, the French Consulate in Jerusalem also chaired related activities in the early hours of the same day. International media reported that plainclothes Israeli police officers and other staff forcibly halted the activity and showed the House official an order to quash the ongoing activities, signed by Omer Barlev, Israeli Minister of Public Security.
The ministerial order said the event was “supported and sponsored by the Palestinian Authority without written permission.” In accordance with current Israeli policy, various activities related to the Palestinian Authority are prohibited in the eastern part of Jerusalem. The eastern part of Jerusalem has always been the capital of the State of Palestine recognized by Palestinian political circles. The Conference of Leaders of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land stressed that the decision of the Israeli authorities was “unwarranted”. It is emphasized that this activity is “purely cultural”, which is in line with the usual activities organized by the “House of Abraham”. Local church leaders continued to stress, “We have witnessed repeated hostile and repressive actions by the Israeli authorities on all matters considered to be Palestinian, as if the Palestinians have no right to speak in the holy city, as if they were not part of that place, as if Jerusalem did not belong to them. Jerusalem must be open to everyone equally ”, just as the Holy City“ accepts everyone and does not reject anyone ”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 10/28/2021)

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Darcy J. Skinner

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