Asbarez: Jerusalem Police Demand Armenians to Evacuate Patriarchate Property

A Jerusalem police officer engages with representatives of the Armenian community

Police in Jerusalem has demanded local Armenians to vacate the area of “Armenian Gardens”—known as the “Cows’ Garden” in the Old City of Jerusalem— and accused them of misappropriation of property.

The alarm was sounded by local attorney and activist Daniel Seidemann who, in a post on X, also added that the Armenian community of Jerusalem is resisting.

Since November 12, a large group of Jerusalem Armenians, in cooperation with the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, are on duty in protest in the area of “Cows’ Garden” and have barricaded the access to the wall, with cars and fences, in order to impede any further illegal construction on the Armenian property.

The Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, had leased the area of “Cows’ Garden” to a Jewish businessman for 99 years. This decision, however, caused a lot of uproar; but after a long battle, the deal was canceled.

The Movement for the Protection and Preservation of the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem has released a statement, according to which there is a tense situation at the “Armenian Gardens.”

It is noted that at around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, a convoy of vehicles presumably belonging to Jewish settlers entered the “Cows’ Garden,” after which the Armenian residents of Jerusalem gathered there and surrounded the barricaded border.

The Israeli police have arrested three Jerusalem Armenians, one of whom is a minor.

The Israeli police allowed some settlers to stay at the “Cows’ Garden,” whose objective, according to the aforesaid statement, is to appropriate that area.

In response, the local Armenian residents formed a human shield and peacefully urged to vacate the area of the “Cows’ Garden.”

The situation remains tense, the statement added.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem has warned that it is facing the “greatest existential threat” in its history.

In a statement, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem said the developer who sought to lease some 25 percent of the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem has ignored a letter by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem cancelling the controversial real estate deal and has started demolition works, and moreover police now demand that all members of the Armenian Community vacate the premises.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem is under possibly the greatest existential threat of its 16-century history. This existential-territorial threat fully extends to all the Christian communities of Jerusalem.

Instead of providing a lawful response to the cancellation, the developers attempting to build on the Cows’ Garden have completely disregarded the legal approaches of the Patriarchate toward this issue, and instead have elected to use provocation, aggression, and other harassment and incendiary tactics including destruction of property and deploying heavily armed instigators.

In recent days, the vast destruction and removal of asphalt on the grounds of the Armenian Quarter has been done without the permits from the municipality by neither the developer nor the police.

Despite this fact, the police have chosen in the last few days to demand that all members of the Armenian Community vacate the premises.

“We plead with the entirety of the Christian communities of Jerusalem to stand with the Armenian Patriarchate in these unprecedented times as this is another clear step taken toward the endangerment of the Christian presence in Jerusalem and the Holy Land,” the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem said in a statement.