Palestinian Christians in Gaza Strip Celebrate Easter Amid COVID-19 Outbreak


Priest Gabriel Romanelli smiled as he welcomed Palestinian parishioners to a traditional Easter mass in Gaza City.

“We are very happy this year because we celebrate Holy Easter, the resurrection of the Lord, with the community,” Romanelli told Fox News.

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The Catholic cleric is one of roughly 1,000 Christians out of 2 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

Last year, the group had to worship at home amid the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, they could reunite while maintaining social distance and wearing masks.

Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, is implementing progressive closures and curfews to curb the spread of disease. They have issued safety guidelines for mosques and churches, but are allowing services to take place.

“We are also very proud of the small Christian community in Gaza, who enjoy our love, appreciation and full support,” said Dr. Basim Naim, a senior Hamas official.

Gaza is still fighting a growing number of the deadly virus, with nearly 60,000 total cases reported and more than 600 deaths.

Palestinian officials have called on the international community for greater assistance during the pandemic. Many of the same officials continue to demand more movement from Israel.

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Romanelli echoed those calls today after permits were denied for Gazans to travel to Jerusalem for Passover.

An Israeli security source confirmed that Gazans were not granted permits this year to visit Jerusalem during Passover. That source added that the decision was made due to the global coronavirus outbreak.

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