JERUSALEM, Thursday, October 28, 2021 (WAFA) - The Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land today condemned the Israeli occupation authorities’ recent decision to cancel a cultural event at a Catholic institution in the occupied city of Jerusalem.
The Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land decried in a press statement Israel’s decision to interrupt cultural festival activities at the French-protected Abraham’s House in East Jerusalem on Tuesday, October 26, purportedly for being held under the sponsorship of the Palestinian Authority, which the organizers denied.
“We have learned with great concern and astonishment of the decision of Israel's Minister of Internal Security to ban cultural events for children that were supposed to take place this week at "Maison d'Abraham" (Abraham’s House), a Catholic Church institution in East Jerusalem, managed by Secours Catholique - Caritas France,” the Assembly said in a press statement.
The Assembly affirmed that the event was “purely cultural” which is in line with the usual activities organized by the "House of Abraham" while slammed the decision as “harsh” and “unjustifiable”.
“We have been informed by the responsible of Abraham's House that the event they organized was purely cultural, supported and sponsored by UNDP, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Austrian Development Cooperation. We cannot, therefore, understand the rationale of such a harsh and unjustifiable decision.”
“Of course, the cultural event had a Palestinian character: the House is situated in East Jerusalem, and since the beginning, the aim of the House was and still is to create a peaceful and constructive milieu in the neighboring context,” they added.
They reacted strongly towards the Israeli occupation authorities’ “aggressive and repressive attitude” and acts aimed at obliterating the existence of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian character of the occupied city.
“In Jerusalem, we are assisting to continuous more aggressive and repressive attitude from the Israeli local authorities towards all what is considered Palestinian, as if the Palestinians do not have right of expression in the Holy City, as they are not part of it, as if Jerusalem is not for them,” they said.
“Abraham’s House, the institutions that support it, the Christian Community of Jerusalem, have the right to promote and support all that they consider proper for the development of the community and of their relations with all the inhabitants of the Holy City.”
“Jerusalem shall be opened to everybody equally, should be an inclusive and not exclusive City, welcoming and not rejecting, being holy to the three monotheistic faiths and of extreme importance to Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
The scheduled three-day festival at Abraham’s House for religious pilgrims was supposed to feature performances by Palestinian arts groups, was supported by the United Nations Development Program, Finland and Austria.
The French consul general in Jerusalem as well as the consulate's religious affairs advisor had also already visited the festival when Israeli police in plain clothes disrupted the event.
Abraham's House is managed by a religious charity, Secours Catholique-Caritas France, and falls under the protection of the French Consulate in Jerusalem, similar to the Church of Sainte-Anne in the Old City, which French President Emmanuel Macron visited last year.
Israel prohibits official Palestinian activity in East Jerusalem, which it has been occupying since June 1967, a move that is illegal under international law.