Palestinian determination to stay in Bab Al-Khalil’s “real estate” in Jerusalem

The Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem overturned an Israeli Supreme Court ruling confirming the sale of real estate owned by the Patriarchate to an association of Israeli settlements, noting that it is determined to maintain the Christian presence in the city to prevent Judaism. his.

About a year after the Patriarchate challenged the sale of two hotels (Petra and Imperial) and the Moadhamiya building in Jerusalem, the Israeli Supreme Court refused to appeal the lawsuit, which dates back to 2003.

The two hotels are located in Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Square, near the Hebron Gate, which leads to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and a group of churches and monasteries in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem.

Following this final decision, the Ateret Cohanim Association, which seeks to Judaize Jerusalem, became the owner of most of Bab Al-Khalil’s buildings, in light of Palestinian, European, and American fears of threatening the historic Christian presence in the city.

The former patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Irenos I, was implicated in the sale, which led to his ouster in 2005 under popular pressure from Christians and monks for “breach of faith.”

After 17 years of court battle, Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem and of all Palestine and Jordan, declared that all legal proceedings had been exhausted, but stressed that despite the “unjust decision, the churches would remain steadfast in their commitment to it.” support the current. real estate tenants. “

And the Israeli Supreme Court announced in its ruling that “the Patriarchate was unable to prove the allegation of fraud and no evidence was presented to prove this even’s allegedly,” while sources told The Independent Arabia that “the Patriarchate provided audio and video materials referring to the practice of the Ateret Association. ” Cohnim) of sexual blackmail and bribery to terminate the purchase agreement.Israeli law gives tenants protection from eviction from rental property, even if the landlord changes.

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The patriarchate said: “The court decision is unfair and does not follow any legal or logical basis”, noting that “(the association of settlements) has followed crooked and illegal ways to buy Orthodox real estate”.

She explained, “He has carried out a legal, media and diplomatic campaign to put pressure on the Israeli authorities to prevent Zionist associations from seizing these properties, but these attempts failed under pressure from these associations and those who support them in the counties.” decision-making. “

Hours after the Israeli court ruling, the patriarch met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Palestinian Affairs Hadi Amr, and the latter expressed “US President Joe Biden’s interest in the challenges facing the Holy Land churches.” the Patriarchate statement, while the Patriarch informed that “Christians in Jerusalem are under pressure from Israeli extremists to cleanse the holy city from the Christian presence.

Hadi Amr stressed that “the US State Department is concerned about the Christian heritage and presence in Jerusalem, and pays special attention to the issue of Christian property in Bab Al-Khalil.” He noted “the interest in meeting with church leaders during his visit to Palestine to hear their concerns”.

The European Union also considered that the Israeli court ruling “increased the pressure on the Christian presence in Jerusalem, accompanied by the threat of settlers to Christian communities and their property.” And he demanded “to stop the attempts of the settlers to seize the Christian properties in the old city of Jerusalem, because they endanger the heritage and traditions of the Christian community”. He noted that “these efforts pose a threat to peaceful coexistence in Jerusalem, as well as to established religious balance.”

For his part, Ramzi Khoury, head of the Palestinian Supreme Presidential Committee on Church Affairs, said: “The Supreme Court decision is illegal and invalid and is based on a racist Israeli scheme to control historic Islamic and Christian sites in Jerusalem “. He added, “The Israeli court implements what the Israeli government dictates and is subject to extremist groups like the Cohenim Ateret.”

Khoury called on the churches of the world to protect Islamic and Christian property and sanctity. He called on the European Union and Arab countries to confront racist tribunal rulings and provide protection for Islamic and Christian sanctities.

The Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced: “It does not recognize the authority of the Israeli courts in Jerusalem and rejects all measures aimed at changing the identity and character of East Jerusalem, and changing its existing historical and legal status, including Islam.” and Christian properties and endowments ”.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry stated that “Jordan, based on the Hashemite historical care over the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, will continue to take all possible steps to protect the holy sites and preserve the historical and legal status of the the city “.

Jewish settlement associations are intensively active in Jerusalem and use the Missing Property Law, or legal and illegal intermediaries and methods, to “make Jerusalem a Jewish city with an Arab minority,” according to the Ateret Cohanim Association.

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