04/04/2024, 11.34
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Jerusalem: new attack by Jewish settlers (and police) on the Armenian quarter

Disputed properties in the area known as the 'Cows Garden', which has long been at the centre of a legal dispute, were targeted. The police, without presenting any warrants, supported the attackers in their attempt to evict them. The Patriarchate in a note asks "Christians around the world" to defend and support the battle of the Holy Land community.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - In the shadow of the war in Gaza, attacks, abuses and violations by the police, radical groups and government authorities are also taking place on the Israeli internal front, which go largely unnoticed.

Proof of this is what happened - again - yesterday morning around 11 in the Armenian neighborhood of Jerusalem, in an area called "Garden of the Cows" (Goveroun Bardez): the police forces and a group of Jewish settlers tried to implement a "illegal" eviction, in a disputed area that has long been at the center of a controversy that has also ended up in court.

The expropriation attempt, underlines a note from the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, "began with the destruction of properties" and with "assaults on the clergy and local Armenians".

Lawyers representing the Armenian community in Jerusalem have condemned the behavior of the police and the settlers, who benefited from the "cover" of the agents in an attempt to illegally enter the "Garden".

The objective was to forcefully expel - and against the law - the Armenians and to change the status quo of the area. Sources reported by the Tatoyan Foundation Center for Law and Justice report that the police have "illegally removed" the protective barricades "without a court order and notice". What followed was "a fight" between members of the community "including the clergy" and the attackers backed by the police.

The note from the Armenian Patriarchate specifies that "the eviction was led by Assaf Harel", a police officer, and the group of officers who intervened, although solicited, were unable to show the documents authorizing the operation, including "the physical removal of the priests."

“Permits or court orders - the statement continues - were not submitted”, but the agents continued to “protect and assist the representatives of Xana Gardens in their destruction of property”.

“It is clear that today's provocations are an attempt to set a precedent against the Armenian Quarter and its rightful lands. We will continue to defend our position and ask Christians from all over the world - concludes the patriarchal note - to highlight these endless invasions of the peaceful Armenian Christian community".

The story exploded last May, but the contract was signed in great secrecy in July 2021 and provides for the rental of "Cow's Garden" for almost a century, now a car park used to go to the Wailing Wall.

The use - together with other properties mentioned in the contract - by the Jews has provoked the anger of the Armenians, who have been fighting for three years to return to full use of them.

What caused the conflict was the 99-year lease - a de facto transfer - of real estate properties to an Australian Jewish entrepreneur with an opaque economic empire, who operates from behind the scenes. Recently the Armenian community filed an appeal in court, with the aim of "invalidating" the lease between the patriarchate and Xana Capital.

The action is based on the premise that the land is held in trust for the benefit of the community with a waqf fund established over 400 years ago and cannot be sold or leased if the transaction does not benefit the community or is approved.

The "traitor" priest who mediated and signed the deed is Baret Yeretzian, former administrator of the real estate of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, now in "exile". Working with him were the Armenian Orthodox patriarch Nourhan Manougian, the archbishop Sevan Gharibian and the businessman Daniel Rubenstein (known as Danny Rothman), who intends to build a luxury hotel.

The affair also affected the patriarchal office, with the Armenian primate "distrusted" by the community, some of the faithful called for his resignation, while Jordan and Palestine effectively "froze" the authority, as did the "Abraham Accords" themselves : one of the companies involved, in fact, is One&Only, based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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