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Senior churchman says Christians and Muslims need military permission to pray

The retired Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Michal Sabbah, has pointed out that Christians and Muslims living in the Holy Land “have needed military permission to pray since 1993”. Archbishop Sabbah was speaking in the context of another high-profile visitor to Israel – Barack Obama   who won’t make a difference to the conditions for Palestinians.

“All world leaders visit us,” he told Italian news agency AKI, “they come and go, but our reality has not changed. We keep living in the same conditions.”


In the run up to Easter Week, a very special time for Christians, the Patriarch pointed out that access to their holy places will be limited, difficult and in the control of the Israelis.

“It is impossible for any external pressure to change anything,” he added. “Israel alone decides whether to go forward with peace or maintain the current deadlock. Even when we want to pray here, we cannot go directly to God; we have to pass through the Israeli army to get permission.”

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