28 April 2022 —The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) wishes everyone who is celebrating Eid Al-Fitr a happy and peaceful holiday. We must continue to exercise our basic human rights despite the fact that the Israeli occupation prevents Palestinians from doing so in peace.
Palestine is known for its inclusive culture that recognizes Islam, Christianity, and Judaism as the three monotheistic religions. However, Palestinian Christians and Muslims are seeing a shift in the terrain of their homeland, which is benefiting the Israeli occupation at the expense of the indigenous people.
At this point, and in the next days, Palestinian efforts to resist and stop Israeli crimes, notably in East Jerusalem, must be mobilized. As Palestinian civil society organizations, our collective role is to address, expose, and denounce Israeli assaults, particularly the recent invasion and breach of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan’s holiest days. At the same time, the Israeli military occupation restricted the movement and number of Palestinian Christians from rom reaching the Holy Sepulcher Church during Easter holiday in the Old City of Jerusalem
Palestinians’ access to worship has been hampered for many years and the situation is now considerably more precarious. Under the guise of their “safety rule,” barricades are placed by Israeli forces to prevent Palestinian worshippers from praying. Worse still, many Palestinians, including children, women, and the elderly, have been arbitrarily detained and injured.
For decades, Israel remains an occupying power, occupying the territory of another state and controlling its people. It is a colonial state enforcing settler colonialism, including confiscating land, transferring its population to the territory it is occupying, and enacting a separate living system therein. It is a state that commits grave violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law.
The right of expression and disagreement; right to political and civic engagement; and the rights to freedom of thought, association, security, and religion are all basic human rights that contribute to the formation of cultures in all realms of life. Nonetheless, Israel has ignored international will, rejected and violated all relevant United Nations resolutions and conventions.
While everyone has the right to take part in religious worship and services, according to Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Israeli systematic oppression and abuse of Palestinian citizens, on the other hand, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt their attitudes and intents to sustain their apartheid regime.
For all of the aforementioned facts, it is the utmost responsibility of the international community to protect Palestinian citizens against the excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force of the Israeli occupation during religious services and holidays.
The international community must confront and criminalize the above measures –protecting the culture of a country like Palestine and its people is crucial for human development and plays a central role in reinforcing national, democratic, and civic values as well as upholding the Palestinian national identity.