Palm Sunday this year in Noble Jerusalem

Submitted by munir on Thu, 03/28/2024 - 13:04

A few days ago, I went to Jerusalem to participate in Palm Sunday celebrations according to the Gregorian Calendar, which coincided last  Sunday. I invoked the memories of the years between 1988 and 1995, when I spent 11 years at the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala, as at the time we were pleased to serve this annual procession that commemorates the entry of  Lord Jesus Christ into the Holy City.


This year is very peculiar, because Jerusalem does not rejoice greatly while viewing its suffering sisterly Gaza in the south, as the events in Gaza have overshadowed the number of participants in this annual procession. This event lacked two important elements. The first one is the of local participation of local worshippers who in past years used to come from various Palestinian cities and villages and even from the Upper Galilee. The people could come because the permits were issued until only a few hours prior to the celebration. Furthermore, the crossing points between Bethlehem and Jerusalem were closed since the wee hours of Sunday as the permits issued were small in number as well (1,000 permits only), and were given at a late time in order to tell people, “You want to participate, get permits, but you will not be able to organize  your affairs beforehand.” Of course, along with the absence of people from villages, cities and parishioners, the wonderful scout bands--that make annual musical performances which are considered among the major functionaries of every outdoor activity such as Palm Sunday--were absent as well.


The second missing element  is the element of pilgrims, and this is  ascribed to the Israeli  occupation and aggression on Gaza. Consequently, the pilgrims failed to come as has been the case during Christmas celebrations late  last year. Since last October, pilgrims who used  to come to the holy places in Palestine at this time of the year, to visit the holy places during this holy week every year, neither came to Jerusalem nor to the holy sites. To tell the truth, just two tourist groups have arrived from Mexico and Poland. Upon welcoming them, we realized  that the numerous groups of pilgrims who used to come in the past years were replaced by mere two groups.


So, Palm Sunday was marked without pilgrims and without Palestinian Arab families. Nuns affiliated with various congregations particularly those acting in noble Jerusalem of course have their historical and distinctive presence as their importance cannot be ignored, but this is not enough. The other groups who  participated in these functionaries included the temporary resident immigrants in Palestinian cities in the Holy Land, especially the Filipino and Ethiopian communities.


“It is Jerusalem without an Arab presence.” This is Palm Sunday this year,  which confirms that the wound is still bleeding and that Jerusalem is suffering while considering Gaza. Two days after Palm Sunday, His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein received the Jerusalemites and told them, “We care for Gaza, but we do not forget Jerusalem.” This is the wonderful Jordanian position nowadays which implies on the one hand providing aid to Gaza--in order to heal it from what befell it which inflicted victims, martyrs, and destroyed homes that are bereft of its original inhabitants--as well as providing food and medicine to the forcibly displaced, while on the other hand the His Majesty the King while marking his silver jubilee views noble Jerusalem with determination to protect the holy sites, and help the Jerusalemites complete their mission in this life to serve as messengers of light, justice, and consolation to all the people of Jerusalem and the people of Jordan who are steadfast on their national soil.

Images, Video or Audio
Palm Sunday in Jerusalem, the Holy Land.
Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader