HPCCAP calls for united efforts to counter Israeli plans in Jaffa Gate

HPCCAP calls for united efforts to counter Israeli plans in Jaffa Gate

Jerusalem-Presidential Higher Committee for Church Affairs

The Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine (HPCCAP) held an emergency meeting Tuesday, 8 August 2017, to discuss Israel’s Central Court arbitrary and unjust decision endorsing the suspicious transaction concluded in 2004 when Patriarch Irenaios Skopelitis was in office. Pursuant to the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem Transaction, the Imperial and Petra hotels and one house in Muadamiye area have been leased for 99 years to three settler companies and more specifically to Ateret Cohanim. Patriarch Irenaois was ousted as a result.

In its meeting, the Higher Presidential Committee asserted the decision is political and targets the city of East Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Palestine. The Committee also called for united official and popular efforts to confront and counter the decision. According to the Committee, the decision has deliberately ignored all means of fraud, bribery and deceit employed by the settlers and collaborators from the Patriarchate in order to go along with the transaction.

The Committee believes that the grounds for Israel’s Central Court decision revealed that Ateret Cohanim settler’ organization used all kinds of pressure including political in order to influence the Court’s decision. Committee members noted that the decision was issued two days after Israel’s plan to further alter the historic and legal status-quo of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound failed. If this illegal project is implemented, the Armenian and the Christian Quarters are going to be separated, further isolating the Armenian community from its hinterland, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

East Jerusalem is an occupied city and the Israeli annexation of the city is null and void. A court representing the occupying power has no right to decide over the fate of the city, creating a de facto situation on the ground. We call upon the international community and particularly upon the countries that have had a historical responsibility with the preservation of the Christian heritage in Holy City of Jerusalem and in the rest of Palestine, to take concrete measures in order to prevent this illegal decision by the occupying power from being implemented.

The Higher Presidential Committee warned of the risk involved in this condemned decision, which seeks to anchor the Israeli control over one of the main entry points to the old city of Jerusalem. The Committee also maintained the decision will affect Christian presence in the holy city since it desecrates the sanctity of the Church of Jerusalem.

Countering the Israeli decision is a national duty and therefore the decision has been discussed and its dimensions have been seriously considered on the highest levels in Palestine and Jordan in order to coordinate joint action thwart its implementation.

At the end of the meeting, the Higher Presidential Committee reiterated the necessity and urgency for united efforts to defend the Arab Palestinian character of East Jerusalem. A set of preemptive decisions were taken to counteract whatever consequences the Israeli decision may bring about. The Committee expressed confidence that this settlement and expansion enterprise will fail as the Israeli plan in Al-Aqsa Mosque had failed.

Sun, 08/13/2017 - 17:35
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