Israeli settlers, backed by security, move to seize property in Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter
Xana Capital, the company owned by Israeli settler Danny Rubenstein, also known as Danny Rothman, has made further attempts in the last twenty-four hours to seize a sizeable tract of land in the Armenian Quarter in occupied East Jerusalem.
On two separate occasions, Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, private security guards and Israeli settlers stormed the Armenian Quarter in a move to assert control of the land in dispute. Two bulldozers accompanied them.
Earlier in the month, armed Israeli settlers made a similar move, but community members repelled them.
Hagop Djernazian told The New Arab that members of the Armenian community stopped the work from progressing.
"The community prevented them from advancing. Then the police came at 11:00 pm in big numbers and demanded the community to leave, but we stood in front of the police and prevented them from entering".
According to Djernazian, lawyers representing the Patriarchate have explained to the Israeli police that the matter is in the courts and, in the meantime, the settlers cannot change facts on the ground.
Xana Capital is laying claim on the land following signing a deal with the Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian several years ago. The Armenian Patriarchate has since withdrew from the agreement. The details of the agreement are not entirely apparent.
The property deal reportedly pertains to 11.5 dunams in the Armenian Quarter, which amounts to 25 per cent of the total size of the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City. It includes a vast tract of land currently used as a parking lot, a seminary, and five residential homes.
Omar Haramy, a Palestinian Christian activist who came to show solidarity with Armenian activists, told TNA that "Jerusalem is under attack, especially the Armenian Quarter; there is no justice in Jerusalem, no justice under occupation".
Members of the various Churches in Jerusalem, including the Latin Patriarchate and the Evangelical Lutheran Church, are expected to pay solidarity to the Armenian Patriarchate on Friday.