On the occasion of the Easter, Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), wrote this message:
As the Churches following the Gregorian calendar are celebrating Easter, and the Churches following the Julian calendar are beginning the Holy Week, the Palestine Liberation Organization greets all the Heads and congregations of the Churches of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine, our people in the homeland and exile, as well as to those celebrating worldwide.
Palestine is the land of prophets and saints and Jerusalem represents the heart of all of them. For those marking Easter, it represents a message of hope where life defeats death. This message of hope was spread to the world from Jerusalem. The three monotheistic religions share a message of love, hope, and coexistence. The use of religion, holy books, and religious arguments to justify hatred, violations and war crimes goes against the tradition enshrined in the values of those religions. The Holy Bible, that teaches love, has been used by the Israeli and US officials to justify oppression against the land and the people of Palestine, and ultimately, to advocate the illegal annexation of our country. Those who believe in humanity and particularly those who celebrate the message of love and hope arising from Easter cannot but denounce such acts.
It is our hope that we will soon be able to embrace all religious celebrations in the free city of Jerusalem. A celebration without requiring Palestinians to apply for military permits to access their city, without having to cross walls and checkpoints, without fearing the risk of losing residency status in Jerusalem, or having their home demolished, without illegal colonial-settlements that negate Palestine’s right to self-determination, without laws that discriminate against people based on their religion and with everyone having the right to be reunited with their families.
This year, we pray for all who are enduring illness and pain resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. May this collective human experience be an opportunity for our world to unite towards the realization of freedom, security, peace and justice everywhere.