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PA: Jewish freedom holiday restricts Palestinians
Published Monday 18/04/2011 (updated) 20/04/2011 15:17
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A Palestinian pilgrim attempts to cross the Israeli-controlled Bethlehem
checkpoint on the outskirts of the biblical West Bank city to perform prayers
on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque
compound in Jerusalem, home to holy places for three of the world's
faiths. [MaanImages/Luay Sababa]
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority officials criticized Israel's decision to close the West Bank Monday, saying that as the Jewish faithful celebrated the Passover "holiday of freedom," it was wrong to restrict the freedom of Palestinians.

"Freedom should be a value that every human being believes in and prays for, and not only a nice holiday name. Palestinians will continue to pave their way for freedom, which we hope it will become closer in September this year," a spokesman for the Palestinian Government Media Center said in a statement.

During the Passover holiday, Jews commemorate the exodus from Egypt, when the Jewish people are said by the Hebrew Scriptures to have been freed from slavery.

Israel's Ministry of Defense issued the orders to put the West Bank under lockdown for 10 days less than 12 hours in advance of the closure, prompting the PA to stress that "while Israelis celebrate their holidays, Palestinian Christians face restrictions on their freedom of movement and right to worship."

Along with the West Bank closure, which will see all those holding regular permits to enter Israel and Jerusalem barred from access, Israel's police have raised the alert level nationwide, while the army division deployed around Gaza says it is "ready for every scenario."

"Thousands of police have been deployed across the whole country, and particularly in the Jerusalem region," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, noting no specific threats had been perceived.

Surveillance of synagogues, markets, stations, commercial centres and national parks, which tend to attract throngs of visitors during the Passover holiday, was being stepped up.

Police were also strengthening their deployment inside Jerusalem's Old City to ensure the protection of crowds of Christian pilgrims in town to celebrate Easter, Rosenfeld said.

Christian worshipers were concerned that despite the limited issuance of special access permits for pilgrims from the West Bank, they would not have free movement to worship sites.
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1 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Canada
18/04/2011 17:46
Except that we preserve our security from terrorist attacks by closing access to Israel. The writer has simplified the meaning of our celebration. Jews were saved from Pharoah's army by crossing the Red Sea. Afterwards, their pursuers, the Egyptian army, were drowned while attempting the same. It was a flight for our freedom and it insured our security just as we are doing now. In light of the Fogel family murders in Atamar and the recent bombing in Jerusalem, it should be understandable.

2 ) stephy / usa
18/04/2011 17:52
And it is wrong to restrict jews to the temple mount as well

3 ) JG / USA
18/04/2011 19:02
Good comment, Robert.

4 ) Jose Rivera / PR
18/04/2011 19:12
Wake up we are in the in the 21 century. Would u like to get imprission in a cage, even for something u r not responsable.

5 ) Moe / Palestine
18/04/2011 20:05
@Robert: You are talking like Palestine is your country. We're the real owners of this country and we have the right to visit it at anytime, and I don't think that it's a "peaceful" action to not allow Palestinian Christians and Muslims to practice their religious rites. Your occupation army is not allowing people to pray at all and they are making the toughest restrictions If you think that we are going to forget our occupied land, then let me tell you that you are mistaken. We will return.

6 ) Karen / Denmark
18/04/2011 20:21
It does not seem right to be celebrating freedom while denying other people theirs. If you are truly celebrating freedom, then it is not within the spirit of the celebration to deprive others their freedom and basic human rights. Freedom is freedom whether you are Palestinian or Israeli.

7 ) ...... / ......
18/04/2011 23:06
#1 so Pals have the righ to restrict settler movement as well:) good, good... oh and to Rachel's Tomb for their safety...and so on and on and on...- they have the right to preserve their security too u know:) all have equal rights, right?:)

8 ) Robby / USA
19/04/2011 00:08
1 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Canada - good point. IMO a government's first responsibility is the health and welfare of THEIR citizens. I would like to think that my government would do the same if in the same situation.

9 ) Mahmoud / Palestine
19/04/2011 00:17
Robert: Using history to justify why you make other people suffer doesn't make a good excuse, it is not as if freedom of movement existed outside of these 8 days, the only difference is it is tighter. Israel should stop dealing with the Palestinians as animals and inferior to "Jews" (I must highlight the difference between "Jew" and "Zionist" because a Palestinian can be Jewish and not all Jews believe Israel must exist, even Holocaust survivors, Israel considers these people "self-hating Jews"

10 ) marie / us/OPT
19/04/2011 07:24
Robert, while your claim of a biblical story as historical fact is dubious... well, ok, a lot of people do that. But to compare that with locking down 2.5 million people so the celebration of the supposed liberation might make zionists feel good, it has nothing to do with reality. And the illegal settlement you talk about is Itamar, not Atamar.

11 ) mxy / usa
20/04/2011 07:19
Let's make this very simple. Some Arabs have used the Jewish holidays as a time to attack Israelis. Considering the group of recent attacks, it is prudent to keep the potential for more violence at a minimum right now.

12 ) lavinia / Australia
21/04/2011 04:44
So, let me get it right. Christians bad Jewish people good. Islam bad, Judaism good.
Our holy-day matters; theirs does not?
Very democratic.
Very respectful of human rights.
Shame on all of you who think this is acceptable.
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