Jerusalem Christian priest hospitalised after attack by Israeli settlers

Jerusalem Christian priest hospitalised after attack by Israeli settlers
2 min read
21 May, 2021
The Christian clergymen were on their way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem when they were attacked by Israeli settlers.
The priests were attacked en route to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre [Getty/ Archive]

At least two Christian priests were attacked earlier this week by Israeli settlers as they were on their way to Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Video footage showed Israeli settlers kicking and punching Very Reverend Father Arbag Sarukhanyan from the Armenian Patriarchate in the middle of the night on Tuesday, as he and a fellow priest headed to the Christian holy site for prayers, according to the WAFA News Agency.

Sarukhanyan was rushed to hospital after the assault, where he received treatment before being discharged.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem denounced the attack and filed a formal complaint with the police, after which three of the attackers were reportedly arrested.

The Palestinian foreign ministry also strongly condemned the attack against the clergymen, describing it as happening at the hands of "terrorist settlers".

"This sinful attack on Christian clerics cannot be separated from the open war of the (Israeli) occupation against Christian and Islamic holy sites, as is the case in the targeting of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Cave of the Patriarchs, as well as the occupation forces' bombing and destruction of the Latin Church, the monastery of nuns, mosques and others", a statement by the foreign ministry said.

It added that the targeting of holy sites was a desperate attempt by the Israelis to picture the conflict as a religious rather than a political one.

Members of the different churches in Jerusalem are often harassed by Israeli security forces and face restrictions.

In late April, police prevented Orthodox Christians, including priests, from accessing the Holy Church of Sepulchre for the Holy Fire Ceremony, which signifies Jesus' resurrection.

According to Palestinian news agencies, police erected barricades around the holy site and assaulted participants. Two people were arrested for raising the Palestinian flag.

Attacks on cultural sites and places of worship are considered illegal under international law.