Statement by the Patriarchs and the heads of the Churches of Jerusalem
The Higher Presidential Committee
of Churches Affairs in Palestine
The Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs urges the World Community to preserve the Churches’ heritage in the Holy City
The Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine affirmed that the Palestinian Leadership and President Abbas have been persistently following up on the file of the properties of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Jaffa Gate area and the southern entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre / Omar Bin al Khattab square. The committee had early on highlighted the right of the Christian existence in Jerusalem and underscored the systematic Israeli attempts to undermine the Christian national presence in the holy city. The committee also indicated that al Aqsa Mosque faces similar attempts aimed at Judaizing the holy city. The committee noted that these attempts have accelerated following the notorious proclamation of US President Trump on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in violation of international law mainly UNSCRs 478, 476 and 2334.
The committee also noted that President Abbas had sent letters on this topic and indicated that the Presidential Committee had approached and coordinated positions with the Jordanian Royal Court. The Committee reaffirmed that it does not recognize Israeli courts’ jurisdiction and views these as tools of the occupation to enhance Israeli control and to promote settlers presence in the heart of the holy city.
The Committee also called to provide legal aid to protect tenants of the old city and to mobilize public support to counter the Israeli policies of conquest and dispossession. The Committee and the leadership urged all heads of states, and all peace and justice loving parties particularly the Christians to intervene urgently in order to preserve the historic heritage of the holy city and to confirm respect to the legal and historic status quo of the holy sites.
The Committee also stressed that the aim is to preserve the holy city as a witness to the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to thwart all schemes of extremist Jewish settler groups to take over the churches heritage in the holy city. The committee also said that the Christian and Islamic Waqf sites including Al Aqsa Mosque are targeted by these schemes. The Committee added that the steadfastness of the Palestinians in our capital will remain the main pillar to preserve the Palestinian national identity.