In pictures: Easter under occupation

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           Worshipers enter the Church of Holy Sepulchre, Friday, April 6, 2012.                             (Photo: Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Despite restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation, over the weekend 35,000 Christians gathered in Jerusalem to observe Catholic Easter and Eastern Orthodox Palm Sunday. The International Middle East Media Center reports on the weeks-long permit process Christians must endure, in order to receive access to pray in Jerusalem from the Israeli Authorities:

Palestinian Christians who want to go to Jerusalem on Easter have to apply for a permit through their church several weeks in advance. The churches then submit the lists to the Israeli military authorities, who vet the lists for young men under age 35, or anyone with a family member in Israeli prison. Those people are denied permits, while the rest are allowed entry into Jerusalem for a single day only. Even with the permit, however, Palestinians are frequently denied entry at the Israeli military checkpoint leading into Jerusalem without being given a reason.

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           Worshipers walking the Via Dolorsoa in Jerusalem’s Old City, April, 6, 2012.                (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)     

In advance of Sunday’s Easter celebration, worshipers gathered on Friday to walk through the Old City of Jerusalem along the “Via Dolorsoa” or “Way of Suffering,” the path believed to have been walked by Jesus before his crucifixion. The path concluded at the Church of Holy Sepulchre, the Christian burial site for Jesus. Inside of the church, pilgrims paid respects to the Stone of the Unction, a cut slab believed to be where, following the crucifixion, Jesus was anointed.

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Tony Khalil as Jesus Christ walks the Via Dolorosa. (Photo: Darren Whiteside/Reuters)
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On Good Friday, a worshiper wipes the Stone of the Unction. (Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

On Sunday April 8, 2012, the followers of the Catholic church celebrated Easter Sunday, and observers of the Eastern and Greek Orthodox churches celebrated Palm Sunday.

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Services inside the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem April 7, 2012. (Photo: Ahmad Mazhar)
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Worshiper lights candle inside of Greek Orthodox church for Palm Sunday, Gaza, April, 8, 2012. (Photo: Hatem Moussa/AP)
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Greek Orthodox Palm Sunday service, Gaza. (Photo: Hatem Moussa/AP)
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Easter Sunday, Church of Holy Sepulchre, April, 8, 2012. (Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/AP)
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Easter Sunday, Church of Holy Sepulchre, April, 8, 2012. (Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/AP)
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Coptic Archbishop of Jerusalem Anba Abraham with a palm cross in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the Coptic Palm Sunday, April 8, 2012. (Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP)

This Sunday, thousands are again expected to gather in Jerusalem for the Coptic, Eastern, and Greek Orthodox Easter.


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