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Palestinians mark start of Easter week

April 2, 2012 8:32 P.M. (Updated: April 13, 2012 1:20 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- As Palestinian Christians took part in the Palm Sunday processions in East Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official called on the international community to end Israel's annexation of Jerusalem.

Thousands of Christians from all over the world gathered to walk the procession from Jerusalem's Mount of Olives to the Old City on Sunday, while Palestinians scouts marched to commemorate the day, one week before the Catholic Church celebrates Easter.

Fatah official Nabil Shaath congratulated Christians on the start of Easter, and said Israel's separation wall and settlements are "an insult to the rich history of the Holy Land."

Israel annexed East Jerusalem after a 1967 war, in a move never recognized by the international community. Palestinians must seek permits from Israeli authorities to enter the city.

Israeli policies are "an assault on more than 2000 years of Christian history in the Holy Land for it disconnects, for the first time in history, the holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem," Shaath said in a statement.

Israel's occupation pushes Palestinian Christians to emigrate, "threatening the fabric of our society," he said.

"Palestinian Christians are not a minority but an integral part of the Palestinian people, whose contributions to our national struggle, art, culture, and civil society are invaluable."

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