Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem cancels controversial land deal with Israeli developer

Nov 2 2023

“The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem announces that a letter was sent on October 26, 2023 to Xana Gardens Ltd. whereby the Patriarchate informed Xana Gardens of the cancellation of the agreement signed on 8/7/2021 regarding the Armenian Gardens in the Old City, Jerusalem,” the Chancellery of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem said in a press release, cited by Armen Press.

A deal had earlier been signed by the Armenian Patriarchate that would hand up to 25% of the quarter to a commercial entity for a 99-year lease. The reported intention was to build a luxury hotel on some of the land that is currently a parking lot, but is on prime real estate nestled just within the Old City walls.

The deal in question was supposedly a 99-year lease to a Jewish developer who will build a luxury hotel on the land.

Though signed in 2021, the deal became reality in April when Xana Capital took over the parking lot and placed signs announcing its ownership, sparking protests in the Armenian Quarter against the Patriarchate.

Land transfers in Jerusalem are sensitive because they can upset the status quo and final status arrangements of the city.

Both the Palestinian Authority and Jordan noted that the patriarch’s “dealings constituted a clear violation of relevant international covenants and decisions, which aim to preserve the status quo in Jerusalem and protect the authentic Jerusalemite Armenian heritage.”