In photos: Palestinian Christians welcome Easter’s “Holy Fire” to Gaza

Joe Catron

Greek Orthodox Christians marked the beginning of Easter Sunday with a four-hour midnight service in Gaza’s 1,606-year-old Church of Saint Porphyrius last night.

On Friday, Israeli occupation authorities turned “dozens” of church members back from the Beit Hanoun checkpoint, despite their permits to spend Easter in the West Bank.

Those who reached Jerusalem faced “a battle camp scenario,” Hanna Amireh, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and head of the Presidential Committee on Church Affairs, told the AFP.

“It is not only that Israel has isolated our occupied capital from the rest of our country – forcing our people to apply for special military permits to access their families and holy places for religious occasions – but even Palestinians from Jerusalem were beaten when trying to reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” Amireh said. “Even praying has become an act of resistance for Palestinians.”

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