Christians gather to celebrate Palm Sunday in Jerusalem

Agence France Presse
April 4, 2004 Sunday 8:05 AM Eastern Time

Christians gather to celebrate Palm Sunday in Jerusalem


Hundreds of followers from different branches of Christianity began
Easter celebrations Sunday by parading through the streets of
Jerusalem’s Old City before praying at the Church of the Holy

Groups of Boy Scouts from the Catholic, Armenian, Greek Orthodox and
Assyrian communities banged drums, followed by crowds shouting
“Hosannah” and waving palm fronds and olive branches to mark Palm

They congregated at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to the
final resting place of Jesus Christ, for a special service.

Palm Sunday marks the Sunday before Easter, when Jesus is said to
have ridden a donkey down the Mount of Olives and into the holy city
to a joyous welcome from the crowds, who scarcely a week later were
calling for his death.

Numbers were markedly down on the levels seen before the start of the
Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in September 2000, which has seen
many tourists steer clear of the Holy Land.

Many Palestinian Christians have also been unable to attend
celebrations, with Israeli authorities restricting travel from the
occupied territories.

One Arab resident of Jerusalem said she had been hoping that the rest
of her family, who live near the West Bank town of Ramallah, would
have been able to join her.

“None of my brothers and or sisters have been able to come to
Jerusalem,” said the woman who would only give her name as Labiba.

“Our family was meant to come and celebrate together and pray
together. The Israelis said they would allow Palestinians to come but
this is not true.”