Jordan: CCSM Advisory Council calls for revoking decision to impose taxes on Jerusalem Churches

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Jordan: CCSM Advisory Council calls for revoking decision to impose taxes on Jerusalem Churches

Amman-en.abouna.org

The Advisory Council of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan has followed with great concern the statement of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem, in which it announced the imposition of property taxes (known as arnona) on churches s well as the seizure of church properties and bank accounts on the pretext of non-payment of tax on land property.

In light of these fateful developments, the Advisory Council of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan declares its categorical rejection of the relevant Israeli steps, since they are incompatible with the historical position of the Churches in the Holy City and with their relations with the civil authorities. The Churches have been exempted from paying taxes over centuries. The civil authorities have always respected the great role played by Christian churches which serves local communities through their hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects and initiatives that are spent on building schools, hospitals, homes and charities. Many of the projects are dedicated to serve the elderly, the people with special needs, as well as the needy and poor families.

From this premise, the Advisory Council affirms that such decisions will undermine the sacred character of Jerusalem and its inclusive identity, debilitate the Churches’ endeavors to fulfill their role and mission in the Holy Land, jeopardize their role, and put more pressure on Christians in Jerusalem and the Holy Land which ultimately threatens their historic and deep-rooted presence.

Therefore, the Advisory Council expresses its full support for the extraordinary and protestation steps undertaken by the heads of the Churches of Jerusalem to shut the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a site destined by millions of pilgrims from all parts of the world, until a time when the historic status quo is respected as well as when the unique and distinguished nature of Jerusalem is maintained.

While the Advisory Council appreciates the decision of the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan which condemned the measure, it calls on the entire international community to condemn the statement issued by “Municipality of Jerusalem” as well as to pressure the government of Israel and the Municipality of Jerusalem to revoke this decision. The Advisory Council calls for rallying behind the Hashemite leadership, the guardian of the Islamic and Christian Holy Sites, as well as to call on the international community and the spiritual capitals to respond to the latest Israeli moves by exerting unstinting efforts to preserve the historic status of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites in its capacity as a city of peace, brotherhood, and solidarity among the different religions.

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