UNITED NATIONS, April 21 (UPI) -- A top United Nations envoy expressed his disappointment that a peaceful Easter procession he attended in Jerusalem, led by Palestinian Christians, was stopped by Israeli security forces.
A statement from the office of Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the middle East Peace Process, said he and several other diplomatic corps officers visited a procession the day before Easter -- from Jerusalem’s New Gate to the Holy Sepulcher -- at the invitation of the city’s Palestinian Christian community. The procession was stopped at a security entrance prior to entering the church grounds.
“The Israeli police refused to allow such entry, claiming it had orders to that effect,” the statement said, noting the incident led to a “precarious” standoff. The angry crowd pushed its way onto the church grounds.
“Once again I call on all parties to respect the right of religious freedom, granting access to holy sites for worshipers … and refraining from provocations, not least during the religious holiday,” the statement added.
[UN News Centre]