A few days after Solange Tarazi, featured below, described the difficult choices her family was forced to make during Easter, hundreds of people like her were informed that their permits were canceled altogether. Christians in Gaza will not be allowed to enter Jerusalem for Easter. The Palestinian Civil Affairs Ministry confirmed that 1,075 had applied for permits.
On Good Friday, 36-year-old Solange Tarazi spoke from her home in Gaza, sharing her feelings on why her family could be separated on Easter.
Her husband, who suffers from a neurological disease, and her three school-aged children received permits to travel to Jerusalem for Easter Sunday—but Tarazi did not. She wonders who will take the children to celebrate Easter.
“My parents received permits—but my brothers and sisters did not,” she said. “How is it that my family could be separated during Easter? This is not fair.”
As a Christian, she wants to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and to be in Bethlehem for Christmas. “I remember many years ago as a child when I visited Jerusalem with my parents,” she said. “Now I want my children to see the holy sites in Jerusalem; they only know about it through books and maps.”
Tarazi, who has a university degree in education, has other dreams as well. One is to travel and see the world. “The last time I received a permit was in 2019,” she said.
On Easter, being denied freedom of movement also means being denied freedom of religion: she can’t attend Easter services in Jerusalem with her family.
Yet there are glimmers of hope in her life that help keep her keep the faith. “My children have a great time when they go to Sunday School,” she said. “One of my sons, who is 9 years old, has speech problems, but he is a wonderful boy who tries to say kind things to his brother.”
Her son tries to say: “I love my brother, Salameh.”
Tarazi hopes she can get a permit so she can travel with her son out of Gaza for medical treatment. “I can only hope that next time my turn will come for a permit,” she said. “I also hope there will be peace and freedom of movement, but in the meantime, I know that God protects us.”