‘Restricted Access’ – Israeli Forces Arrest Greek Consul’s Guard at Holy Sepulchre Church

Israeli forces arrest Greek Consul’s Guard at Holy Sepulchre Church. (Photo: video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Before the arrest, Israeli police had restricted access to the church for Orthodox Christians who wanted to attend the Holy Fire ceremony.

Israeli police forcibly removed and detained the Greek consul’s guard at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in occupied East Jerusalem.

Witnesses told the Anadolu news agency that police entered the church on Saturday and arrested the personal guard of the Greek consul after forcing him outside.

The reason for the arrest was not immediately clear, but witnesses said there had been a quarrel between police and the consul’s guard.

Earlier, the police had restricted access to the church for Orthodox Christians who wanted to attend the Holy Fire ceremony.

Explanation Demanded

Greece’s main opposition SYRIZA party demanded an explanation from the Foreign Ministry for the arrest of the bodyguard.

“SYRIZA – PS requests the immediate provision of clarifications from the foreign ministry regarding the unprecedented incident of the arrest of a member of the guard of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem by the Israeli forces at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, during the ceremony of the Touching of the Holy Light,” the party said in a statement, according to Anadolu.

Urging the ministry to inform the public about the incident, the party added, “We anticipate a reaction of the Greek government towards the Israeli side, in line with the seriousness of the episode.”

Police tightened measures and set up barriers at the entryways of Jerusalem’s Old City, especially at the New Gate near the Christian holy site, Anadolu reported.

This came a day after Christian denominations following the Eastern calendar observed Good Friday, which is followed by the Holy Fire celebration, leading up to Easter Sunday.

West Bank Restrictions

Israeli police also prevented Christians from entering Jerusalem from the occupied West Bank, as permits to do so have been refused since the October 7 resistance operation last year.

Hundreds of Israeli security personnel were deployed in East Jersualem since early in the morning to “secure the worshippers and accompany processions and visitors,” the police reportedly said in a statement.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered one of the holy places of Christianity.

Church prayers and mass are held in major Palestinian cities in observance of Holy Fire, the last day of Holy Week for Christians when they prepare for Easter Sunday.

Religious rituals were held this year in churches following the Eastern calendar in the cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem.

(PC, Anadolu)

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1 Comment

  1. This incident is deeply concerning and requires urgent attention from both Greek and Israeli authorities. The arrest of the Greek Consul’s guard at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre raises serious questions about the treatment of diplomatic personnel and the freedom of access to religious sites. It’s imperative that a thorough investigation is conducted to determine the reasons behind this arrest and to ensure that such incidents do not happen again in the future. The demand for an explanation from Greece’s SYRIZA party is justified, and it’s crucial for the Greek government to take appropriate action in response to this incident. Additionally, the restrictions on Christians from entering Je

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