Truth And Accountability League (TAAL) Statement regarding the massive and coordinated physical attack by thirty Israelis launched on bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, and other Armenian community members in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter
Truth And Accountability League (TAAL) condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack which terrorized the Armenian community members, with the Israeli police late to intervene, according to eyewitnesses.
A group of terrorists in black clothes and masks, numbering about 30 people, armed with sticks, tear gas grenades, and other means attacked the Armenians in the ‘Cows’ Garden’ area of the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem to harm them, take them out of the area, and intimidate them.
In the susceptible area of East Jerusalem, which the international community considers to be Palestinian territory held under Israeli occupation, Israeli settlers, backed by Xana Capital, are making renewed attempts to seize a significant portion of land in the Armenian Quarter, historically owned by the Armenian Patriarchate.
The situation has escalated in recent days, with private security and settlers entering the area accompanied by bulldozers. It’s also the last assault on Jerusalem’s Armenian community by Israelis. Armenians in Jerusalem are routinely harassed, attacked, and assaulted by Israeli extremists. Gangs of them routinely march through the Armenian Quarter shouting anti-Armenian and anti-Christian chants, telling Armenians to go home and spit on them.
In November 2022, soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces’ Givati Brigade spat on the Armenian archbishop and other pilgrims during a procession in the Old City of Jerusalem. Perpetrators of such crimes get away with impunity or are temporarily detained for optics and released soon after by the Israeli authorities.
Earlier this year, according to a local Armenian priest, Father Aghan Gogchian, violence erupted when a group of extremists tried to climb on the roof of the building of Jerusalem’s Armenian Patriarchate and remove the Armenian national and church flags flying there.
It is also taking place at a time when the Israeli government is under international pressure to ease the violence on Palestinians and Gaza. The disputed area, known as the ‘Cows’ Garden,’ includes a parking lot, a seminary, and five residential homes.
The Israeli police have demanded Armenians, who have lived in Jerusalem since the 4th century, to vacate the area, accusing them of property misappropriation. The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem faces what it describes as the ‘greatest existential threat’ in its 16-century history and ethnic cleansing.
This conflict not only endangers the Armenian Quarter’s cultural heritage but also challenges the UNESCO World Heritage Site status of the Old City. The Armenian Quarter, inhabited since the 4th century, represents a crucial part of global heritage.
We call on the Israeli authorities to cease their complicity, investigate the violent incident, and guarantee the safety of the Armenian community of Jerusalem.
TAAL is a 501©3 non-profit advocacy organization founded in 2020 due to a significant increase in anti-Armenian racism, defamation, hate crimes, and Armenophobia. We monitor and confront bias, disinformation, propaganda, and slander of the Armenian people and culture at the media level, including social media, academics, intelligentsia, and public policy.