Peaceful coexistence and international grievances: Understanding Jewish-Armenian relations

Nov 30 2023
Arpine Hovhannisyan Nov 30, 2023

Israeli weapons played a pivotal role in Azerbaijan's defeat of Armenia in the 2020 Second Karabakh War.

Same with Baku's military takeover of Nagorno-Karabakh two months ago that triggered the exodus of the region's entire Armenian population. 

And a property dispute in Jerusalem threatens to undermine Armenians' roughly 1,600-year-long presence in the Holy Land.

Against that background, a series of acts of vandalism against the country's lone synagogue led to talk – particularly in Azerbaijan – about a possible rise of anti-Semitism in Armenia. 

Members of Yerevan's small Jewish community categorically reject this notion. They see the attacks as aimed at discrediting their chosen country of residence. 

Synagogue attacks

One of the first attacks on the Jewish Mordechai Navi Synagogue in Yerevan took place on October 3. It did little physical damage as a Molotov cocktail hurled into the synagogue failed to ignite. 

But it did prompt one of the most senior rabbis in Azerbaijan, Armenia's archrival and neighbor, to declare the country unsafe for Jews. 

"I repeat my call to the Jews in Armenia: Leave, and if you need help, I'll take care of it.  Leave before it's too late…" Rabbi Zamir Isayev, head of the Baku Jewish School, posted on X

In another attack on November 15, an unknown person set fire to the doors on the first and second floors of the building.

Video of the attack, alongside a claim of responsibility for both attacks appeared on a small and newly created Telegram channel whose name suggested affiliation to the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), a now largely inactive militant group. ASALA representatives denied any involvement. 

The video quickly found traction among Azerbaijani social media accounts, which proclaimed Armenia a den of anti-Semitism. 

Armenia's Investigative Committee reported two days later that the culprit was a citizen of a foreign country who left Armenia immediately after the attack. It gave no further information.

Gershon Meir Burstein, Armenia's chief rabbi, told CivilNet that the attacks were acts of "provocation" rather than an _expression_ of Armenian anti-Semitism.  

Nathaniel Trubkin, a prominent member of Yerevan's Jewish community, echoed that sentiment in an interview with Eurasianet. 

"The attack on the synagogue was not against Jews, but against Armenia's image of a tolerant country," he said.

Trubkin is one of several hundred Jews who moved to Armenia from Russia at the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian War. He is the art director at Mamajan, a cafe in Yerevan that has become a center of Jewish community activities. He also runs Yerevan Jewish Home, a group that helps Jews moving to the city find housing and grapple with local bureaucracy. 

There is widespread resentment in Armenia against Israel, which, according to estimates cited by AP, provided 70 per cent of the weapons Azerbaijan acquired between 2016 and 2020. 

And Israel's offensive on Gaza following the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilian targets on October 7 has given rise to further expressions of anti-Israeli sentiment on Armenian social media. 

But Trubkin says none of that has translated into anti-Semitism: "The Armenian community distinguishes between their attitude towards the government and the people. And even if Armenians don't like Israel or Russia, we don't feel that about ourselves."

Turmoil in the Cows' Garden

Meanwhile, in Israel, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement warning that the Church is facing "the greatest existential threat of its 16-century history." 

As one of the oldest Christian nations, Armenians have been living in Jerusalem for centuries and own a part of the Old City. This community is considered the oldest Armenian diaspora and has around 2,000 people. 

The dispute began after Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian signed an agreement with Israeli businessman Danny Rothman's Xana Capital in 2021. The details of the agreement became public only in June of this year. As it turned out, the patriarch agreed to give XANA Capital a 98-year lease on a plot of land popularly known as the Cows' Garden (so named for its historical use for livestock grazing) to build a luxury hotel. 

The situation escalated after the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, under pressure from the Armenian community, declared it was canceling the deal on October 26. On November 5, representatives of XANA Capital entered the Cows' Garden in order to lay claim to "their land." Some of the men were armed and some held barking dogs on leashes. 

The Patriarchate then criticized the company for resorting to "provocation, aggression, and other harassing, incendiary tactics including destruction of property."

After the incident, local Armenians have been staging a "round-the-clock sit-in on our land," Setrag Balian, one of the leaders of the Save the Armenian Quarter movement opposing the transfer, told Eurasianet.

"This deal is illegal, as according to Patriarchate internal law deals for over 25 years have to be approved by the Holy Synod and the General Assembly of St. James Brotherhood. So the patriarch didn't have the legal authority to sign such a contract on behalf of the community," Balian said. 

He praised his community for rising up against the transfer. "Now, we are all united together with the church to fight for our land that was acquired with sweat and blood," said Balian.

Armenians' and Jews' shared trauma

Back in Yerevan, Nathaniel Trubkin says he hopes Armenians and Jews can find common ground in their shared trauma. Both peoples were victims of campaigns of genocide in the 20th century, the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I and the Jews at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.

Trubkin points to the Jewish lawyer Rafael Lemkin as a possible unifying figure. Lemkin coined the term "genocide" in the early 1940s after studying the atrocities against Armenians and Jews and worked to establish international legal mechanisms for its prevention. 

Armenian Prime Minister and South Korean President discuss bilateral agenda

 14:43, 28 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 28, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has spoken by phone with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

According to a readout issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the two leaders “were pleased to highlight the recent intensification observed in bilateral relations, as a result of which an agreement has been reached on opening embassies in the two capitals on the basis of reciprocity.”

A number of issues of bilateral interest were also discussed.

PM Pashinyan and President Yoon Suk Yeol expressed readiness to contribute to the development of bilateral relations between Armenia and South Korea.

Israeli right-wing extremists intimidate Armenian protesters in Jerusalem

The Observers

Dec 2 2023

Israeli right-wing extremists have been harassing members of Jerusalem’s Armenian community protesting the razing of an important historic site. An Australian businessman purchased the area, called Cows' Garden, back in 2021 to build a hotel there but there has been fierce opposition from the Armenian community. In recent weeks, the businessman has also participated in intimidating protesters.

A car park in Jerusalem has become the centre of a heated debate over the past few months. The car park is part of a historic area known as the Cows' Garden. Located in the city’s Armenian quarter, this site has cultural and historic significance to that community and includes a wall built during the Ottoman Empire.

However, back in 2021, Jerusalem’s Armenian Patriarchate – the religious authorities in the Armenian community – decided to sell the parking lot and several nearby buildings. They signed a 99-year lease with Australian businessman Danny Rubinstein (known as Danny "Rothman"), who owns the company Xana Garden.

He wants to demolish the site and build a luxury hotel. However, when news broke about the sale in October 2021, there was immediate outcry from Jerusalem’s Armenian community.

The Armenian Patriarchate granted a 99-year lease agreement to a private company called Xana Capital, according to a statement from SaveTheArQ, an Armenian collective that contests the legality of the sale. 

On October 26, 2023, the Armenian Patriarchate published a statement saying that they now considered the sale illegal, apparently backing out of the agreement they themselves signed and leaving the site in a state of legal flux.

Ever since the Patriarchate announced that they no longer considered the sale valid, there has been uncertainty about who actually owns the land. Our team contacted Jerusalem’s city government, but they said that they didn’t want to comment on the land and that it was a “private affair.”

We also reached out to the Patriarchate as well as Danny Rubinstein but neither of them wanted to speak about the contract either.

On November 6, Israeli settlers threatened protesters from the Armenian community opposed to construction on the historic site. Observers

However, the confusion around the site was immediately apparent. Just a few days after the Patriarchate’s announcement that they no longer viewed the sale as legal, demolition crews arrived on the site and began tearing up the parking lot, according to Setrag Balian, a member of SaveTheArQ.

There is talk about construction, but what we’ve actually seen are attempts at intimidation. They came with machines and armed settlers. We made a human chain and peacefully stopped the bulldozers. I was personally threatened by the director of the company [Rubinstein]. Since April, the settlers have banned a number of members of our community from parking in the lot. 

Bulldozers were brought in to demolish some of the lot.

Things became even more tense on November 6 when Rubinstein himself showed up alongside settlers armed with assault rifles. Skirmishes broke out between Armenian protesters and the armed men.

Arrival of Israeli settlers who faced off with Armenian protesters.

Many said that these armed men are radical activists from the Israeli far-right. Thanks to the online facial recognition software PimEyes, it’s possible to identify Saadia Hershkop, an American citizen known to have links to settler movements in the West Bank. On Instagram, Hershkop promotes organised trips to colonies in Hebron in the West Bank and poses for photos with weapons.

According to the Qatari newspaper The New Arab, Saada Hershkop is known to have links to a man named Eden Natan-Zada. On August 4, 2005, Natan-Zada killed four Israeli citizens as a sign of protest against the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza. Israeli law enforcement reportedly put out a warrant for Hershkop's arrest in connection with the crime.

It’s not just the conflict around the Cows' Garden. Some members of the Armenian community are reporting a rise in insecurity all round. Liana Margaryan, a member of the Armenian community who lives in Jerusalem, said the community began to feel intimidation after the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020. During the war, Azerbaijan reinforced its ties with Israel:

These attacks are carried out by Jewish extremists […] Most often, these are psychological attacks and threats. However, it has all become more intense since the conflict in the Cows' Garden […] they even attacked an Armenian restaurant.

Setrag Balian says that the Israeli government holds some responsibility for the rise in the violence towards Jerusalem’s Armenian community.

Since 2022, when Binyamin Netanyahu’s government took office, including ministers from the far right, there has been an increase in attacks against Christians. This includes everything from spitting to harassment to assault. Since the current government took office, extremists have the feeling they can act in complete impunity. 

The people who live in the Jewish quarter have been our neighbours for the past 40 years and we haven’t had any problems with them. 

Of course, it’s common that people who don’t like to see churches or crosses spit at us or shout insults… but it was nothing big, we felt like those were isolated incidents. But recently, we’ve felt directly targeted. 

Despite the intimidations, members of the Armenian community say that they will continue to fight against the construction of the hotel with sit-ins and protests.

Azerbaijani historiography is nothing more than a contrast between the desired and reality: Gardman-Shirvan-Nakhijevan


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 23, ARMENPRESS.  Gardman-Shirvan-Nakhijevan Pan-Armenian Union has issued a statement regarding the circulation of fake scientific political discourse by Azerbaijan. The Union has urged Azerbaijan to admit the numerous historical injustices committed against Armenians over the past century.

‘’We call on Azerbaijan to take tangible measures for the just restoration of the rights of Armenians who have suffered from Azerbaijani aggression at different times.

 The selective approach to historical facts, the re-editing of the past and the formation of one-sided visions of the future in accordance with it are among the brilliant examples of Azerbaijani political hypocrisy.

This explains the great desire of Azerbaijan, as a young state, to hide the complexity of the historical past, because the historical reality is one thing, and the invention of the desired past is another.

Consequently, the entire Azerbaijani historiography represents nothing more than a contrast between the desired and the reality, from which there are two ways out: either accept reality and strive to correct its consequences, or accept a position of complete denial, repeating the dangerous practice of ethnic cleansing, cultural genocide, complete violation of human rights and disregard for authoritative international structures.

It is not difficult to notice the destructive approach adopted by Azerbaijan. The most superficial study of Azerbaijani society clearly shows that all layers of this state are focused on one issue: the development of anti-Armenian discourses.

Various initiatives containing ambitions for the sovereign territory of Armenia, the activities of government officials hidden under the cover of non-political organizations, meaningless and baseless speeches, scientific discourses, festivals, presentations, congresses clearly show Azerbaijan’s real ideas about regional stability,” the statement reads.

Azerbaijan-Armenia: Navigating the mediation maze to the promising path to resolution

Nov 22 2023

Azerbaijan and Armenia have, unfortunately, shared the fate of being locked in a six-year-long deadly war that claimed the lives of thousands on both sides.

The final stages of the Soviet Union’s life cycle set the chain of events in motion, leading to territorial disputes in various areas of the Union. Azerbaijan and Armenia have, unfortunately, shared the fate of being locked in a six-year-long deadly war that claimed the lives of thousands on both sides. As the parties continued their fight for Karabakh, internationally recognized as a territory of Azerbaijan, both Baku and Yerevan could not conclude the war either by the military or by diplomatic means.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, conflicting sides found themselves in a challenging economic and humanitarian situation. Consequently, several mediation attempts have been launched to bring the conflict to its conclusion. One of the most promising mechanisms was the OSCE Minsk Group. The Minsk Group was initially formed as an international mediation effort to find a political solution to the Karabakh conflict. It was formed in 1992 by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), now known as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The efforts of the Minsk group were spearheaded by three co-chair nations: France, the United States of America, and Russia. Several other countries, including Germany, Belarus, Turkey, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, enjoyed the rights of permanent membership. However, in reality, these states’ roles have been extremely limited to the point of being almost non-existent.

On paper, establishing a team of international mediators was essential to achieving sustainable peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia. It is expected that after prolonged fighting, conflicting sides cannot find a comprehensive settlement, and indeed, Azerbaijan and Armenia have not been in a position to negotiate on their own. Hence, the birth of the OSCE Minsk Group was a step in the right direction. In retrospect, it is possible to say that the moment for the mediation became ripe as both sides engaged in hostilities for a significant amount of time, including after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Additionally, the ongoing fighting took its toll on both nations. The fact that the Minsk Group operated under the auspices of the OSCE gave it a high level of credibility necessary to deal with the challenge of unraveling the puzzle.

The best way to analyze the diplomatic efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group is to divide its lifetime into three stages: early stage (pre-2000), mid-stage (2000-2010), and later stage (2010-2020).

Early attempts of the Group revolved around curbing the potential for another escalation in the region and finding a political settlement to the conflict. Three separate deals were put forward in the late 90s. The first deal was introduced in July 1997. It was labeled a “comprehensive agreement” and aimed to achieve two key objectives: end the armed hostilities and find a political solution for settling the region’s status. Armenia rejected this proposal due to a lack of consensus between President Ter-Petrosyan and other members of the political establishment. In September 1997, OSCE Minsk Group came up with another deal known as the “step-by-step deal”, which was once again rejected by Armenia. This deal entailed gradually removing forces and the sequence of other steps, with an eventual deployment of multinational OSCE peacekeeping forces.

The final proposal arrived in November 1998, widely known as “the common state deal.” Implementing this approach would have given Karabakh some aspects of sovereignty, including influencing Azerbaijan’s foreign policy, own borders, police and security forces, national anthem, constitution, and other symbols. Such an agreement could not have been implemented in practice because it would mean that Azerbaijan would have had to relinquish its sovereignty over the region and endanger its security permanently. It was consequently rejected.

The mid-stage of the Minsk Group mediation efforts coincided with the introduction of the Madrid Principles at the 2007 OSCE ministerial conference in Madrid. In 2009, during the G8 summit in L’Aquila, the US President Obama, Russian President Medvedev, and French President Sarkozy released a joint statement on the Karabakh Conflict by outlining the Basic Principles (also known as modified Madrid Principles) for conflict resolution:

  • Return of the territories surrounding Karabakh to Azerbaijani control;
  • An interim status for Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-governance;
  • A corridor linking Armenia to Karabakh;
  • Future determination of the final legal status of Karabakh through a legally binding _expression_ of will;
  • The right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence;
  • International security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation.

This set of criteria paved the way for a systemic approach to dealing with the conflict. These guidelines imply the willingness of the sides to move in the direction of compromise. This view was somewhat reinforced by the introduction of the “Kazan formula” in 2011, according to which Armenia would have to return five occupied regions around Karabakh to Azerbaijan, followed by the remaining two. In turn, Azerbaijan would lift the economic blockade against Armenia and sign the economic, humanitarian cooperation, and non-violence agreements. Additionally, peacekeepers would be deployed in the area. In this context, it is essential to note that the “Kazan Formula,” in contrast to the Basic Principles, would have infringed upon the interests of Azerbaijan because now Baku would receive only five regions immediately. From this perspective, the “Kazan Formula” was a significant step back in mediation from the perspective of Baku.

After 2011, the Group failed to achieve any objectives. Furthermore, the Minsk Group’s apparent inability to deliver results tarnished its reputation and credibility. The best description of the Group’s mediation efforts came from the retired US Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland: “We stayed in fivestar hotels where we were usually assigned suites on the executive floor that gave us access to a private dining room and full bar at no additional expense. We always sought out the best restaurants in the cities where we found ourselves. We lived well while we showed the OSCE flag and reminded Baku and Yerevan that the Minsk Group exists. But to be blunt, very, very little ever got accomplished.”

Things went from bad to worse before the start of the Second Karabakh war. The two statements by top officials in Armenia illustrated that the peace talks have approached the end of their life cycle. First, the former Defense Minister of Armenia, David Tonoyan, publicly announced a strategic approach of “New war for new territories,” aimed to “rid Armenia of this trench condition, the constant defensive state, and will add the units which may shift the military actions to the territory of the enemy.” The statement made in 2019 is considered as one of the causes of the Second Karabakh War in September 2020 between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Another statement that further damaged the likelihood of reaching an agreement was made by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who claimed that Karabakh is the territory of Armenia.

If we look at the situation through the lens of Mr. Tonoyan’s statements and plans, it becomes understandable why Baku had reasons to doubt the security of its other territories and people. A principle of anarchy in international relations, i.e., the fact that there is no higher authority capable of refereeing contentious issues among the states, contributed to the perception of a security threat, which diminished the chances of finding a solution to a protracted conflict. Adding Mr. Pashinyan’s comment to a discussion will show that by 2020, peace talks were doomed. Consequently, Azerbaijan exercised the right for self-defense outlined in the Article 51 of the UN Charter.

After the conclusion of the 2020 war, several rounds of talks were held in the US, the EU, and Russia. These talks have not led to any tangible results. The failure of the post-war peace-building initiatives can be attributed to the unresolved fate of the separatists at that time. Armenia tried to secure special privileges for the region, a demand Azerbaijan was unwilling to accommodate.

The analysis of earlier mediation attempts between Baku and Yerevan, both before and after the Second war, indicates that the presence of a separatist entity and the irreconcilable views on its future were the key issues preventing the sides from ending a long-lasting conflict. It is essential to realize that from Yerevan’s point of view, the presence of a separatist regime on Azerbaijani territory was a way to gain a competitive advantage over Baku. Meanwhile, Baku saw the presence of such a regime as a legitimate security threat. Hence, Azerbaijan opposed the presence of separatist forces on its territory, while Armenia benefitted from directly controlling separatists. This dynamic led to a zero-sum game between the two South Caucasus states, making it challenging to conclude the hostilities between the sides. Therefore, while the separatist regime continued to exist, Baku and Yerevan had a very slim chance of reaching a comprehensive agreement on normalizing relations. This is particularly evident from the analysis of mediation efforts spearheaded by the OSCE Minsk Group. Despite its fall into obscurity, the Group retained a monopoly over the Karabakh conflict mediation for a significant amount of time. Every proposal failed because Baku and Yerevan could not synchronize their views on Karabakh’s future.

However, now there is a glimmer of hope for Azerbaijan and Armenia. Following the September 2023 events, the separatist regime operating in the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan ceased to exist. Thus, the root causes preventing Baku and Yerevan from reaching an agreement on normalizing relations are now history.

Eliminating a separatist entity on the territory of Azerbaijan enables the sides to search for a mutually beneficial solution and sign a peace document. From the mediation perspective, this development is the single most significant transformation that has taken place in the conflict. As things stand today, the risk-reward ratio shifted toward finding a solution because continuing hostilities carries more risks than potential rewards.

Peace treaty is the best way to guarantee security

After all, Armenia is more worried about its security. Looking at the balance of power dynamic between Baku and Yerevan paints a grim picture for Armenia. The population of Armenia stands roughly at 3 million people, while the Azerbaijani population exceeds 10 million inhabitants. The gross domestic product of Azerbaijan surpasses that of Armenia by more than threefold. Finally, Baku enjoys more substantial relations with other states.

Meanwhile, up until recently, Armenia was heavily reliant on Russia for security, and Moscow was the sole diplomatic partner of Yerevan. Considering the radical policy shift of Armenia and its subsequent attempts to foster ties with other states, it is unclear whether Yerevan will be able to achieve its foreign policy objectives in short order. Furthermore, at this point, there are serious reasons to consider that Armenia may become a metaphorical battlefield for dominance between the West and Russia or Iran. Therefore, an unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan will further challenge Armenia’s position, and contribute to the security concerns of Yerevan.

Finally, in the context of a possible peace agreement with Azerbaijan, Yerevan will find rapprochement with Baku economically beneficial. A peace deal between Baku and Yerevan will open opportunities for Armenia to join several international projects, including the Middle Corridor, which will further strengthen Armenian security via the mechanism of interdependence.

Signing a peace deal is the solution to the security competition that plagues the South Caucasus. Otherwise, the conflict dynamic between Baku and Yerevan may emerge once again. In principle, there is no alternative to the formal peace agreement between Baku and Yerevan. After all, this is how every conflict is supposed to end.

Statement: Rep. Schiff on CitiGroup’s illegal discriminatory practices targeting Armenian Americans

Nov 9 2023

Washington, D.C.— Today, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif) issued the following statement on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announcing a $25.9 million fine against Citibank for illegally discriminating against Armenian American credit card applicants.

Schiff’s 30th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Burbank and Glendale, is home to the largest Armenian diaspora outside of Armenia. He serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus.

“It is shameful that Citibank deliberately discriminated against Armenian Americans, denying credit to people on the basis of their last names and ethnic origin. All personnel responsible for participating in and then attempting to cover up this unlawful practice should be terminated from the company.

“While I welcome the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s action, I’m committed to holding banks and other institutions accountable for any such actions. We must ensure that overt discrimination like this never happens again,” said Representative Schiff, Vice Chair of the Armenian Congressional Caucus.

Guidance for Affected Consumers

Consumers who applied for a Citi Retail Services Credit Card between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2021, and are identified as having been denied the credit card based on national origin discrimination are eligible for redress. Consumers can submit complaints about financial products and services by visiting the CFPB’s website or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).


Schiff has long represented the largest Armenian diaspora community in the country and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus. For decades, he has fought side-by-side with his Armenian American constituents for the recognition of their history, as survivors of the first genocide of the 20th century, and for the protection of their future and the futures of their families and loved ones working for freedom abroad.

Armed Israeli settlers attempt to seize Armenian Patriarchate property in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter

Nov 7 2023
Armed Israeli settlers attempt to seize Armenian Patriarchate property in Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter
Ibrahim Husseini

Armed Israeli settlers stormed the Armenian Quarter in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, 5 November, in an effort to lay a hand on a piece of land following the signing of a murky deal between the Jerusalem Arminian Patriarchate and Xana Capital, owned by Jewish Australian investor Danny Rubenstein. 

Rubenstein carries an Israeli passport and also goes by the name Danny Rothman. 

News of the deal first emerged in 2021. It was contested by a group of Armenian priests who alleged it was done illegally without ratification by the Synod and the General Assembly.

Hagop Djernazian, a resident of the Armenian community and a leading activist against the land deal in question, told The New Arab, "We are fighting for our existence, for the status quo of Jerusalem, we have to maintain a Christian Armenian presence in Jerusalem". 

The deal reportedly pertains to 11.5 dunams in the Armenian Quarter, which amounts to 25 per cent of the total size of the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City. It includes a vast tract of land currently used as a parking lot, a seminary, and five residential homes. 

Last month, the Armenian Patriarchate informed Xana Capital it was withdrawing from the deal. The deal's cancellation came following pressure from the local Armenian community and Areminians worldwide. 

In May of this year, the Petra news agency reported that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan suspended Nourhan Manougian from his role as the Patriarch of the Armenian Church in Jerusalem because he "mishandl[ed] culturally and historically significant Christian properties in Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter". 

Under a long-established tradition that has been upheld for centuries, senior church appointments in the Holy Land usually necessitate the approval of the authorities governing the land. Presently, these authorities are Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.

In a statement released on 6 November, the Armenian Patriarchate said that the party with whom it had signed the contract responded to the cancellation of the deal with "demolition of walls, demolition of the parking lot and scrapping of asphalt pavements". 

According to Hagop Djernazian, following the deal cancellation, about 15 armed settlers broke into the Armenian Quarter and proceeded to knock parts of a stone wall. They also partially destroyed asphalt ground. 

Soon after, several Armenian community members assembled and prevented the settlers from carrying out further damage to the property. 

Activists Hagop Djernazian (L) and Setrag Balian (R) are challenging a real estate deal in a sensitive area in occupied East Jerusalem between the Armenian Patriarch and an Israeli settler.
[Ibrahim Husseini/TNA]

Videos and images show the settlers armed with rifles accompanied by attack dogs rowing with the local community members.

"Danny hired the settlers from the Jewish Quarter", Djernazian told The New Arab

After several hours of tense arguments, the settlers dispersed.

Djernazian told TNA that community members had organised to guard the property. 

Djernazian estimates that around 1,000 people of Armenian descent reside in occupied East Jerusalem. 

The Arminian Jerusalem Patriarchate isn't the only Christian Church to become embroiled in questionable real estate deals with Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem. 

The New Imperial Hotel, located in Jaffa Gate and long owned by the Greek Orthodox Church, was sold in 2004 to a right-wing Israeli group known as Ateret Cohanim. The Greek Orthodox Church claims the purchase of the properties was fraudulent and has challenged the deal's legality. However, the courts have ruled in favour of the settlers. 

The New Imperial Hotel is a minute's walk from the property leased to Rubnestein in the Armenian Quarter. Both properties are within a minute's walk of the Holy Sepulchre, the Christian Quarter. 

Africa, Armenia new export destinations for Iranian wires and cables

Nov 7 2023

TEHRAN – Tabriz Wire and Cable Company – the only producer of wires and cables in Iran – has found new export destinations for its products in Africa and Armenia.

Known as SIMCAT, the company’s exports surged by 410 percent in the first six months of the current Iranian calendar year that started on March 21, compared to the same period last year.

SIMCAT exported 1,348,796 meters of wires and cables worth 1,499,449 million rials in the first half of the past year, but the exports surged to 5,536,739 meters valued at 3,548,428 million rials in the current year.

Along with Africa and Armenia, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, and Azerbaijan are among the destinations for SIMCAT exports.

The company has an annual capacity for producing 35,000 tons of wires and cables meeting the world’s standards.

The products are used in mining, cement, steel, chemicals, oil, gas, petrochemicals, maritime, water, and electricity, as well as food and agriculture industries.

"Apart from Armenia, no one needs the Crossroads of Peace." Opinion from Yerevan

Nov 2 2023
  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

Crossroads of Peace” Project

A project called “Crossroads of Peace” is being discussed in expert circles in Armenia. As Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan says, its essence is to utilize regional communications, roads and railroads between Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran. On October 26, he presented this project and its principles in detail at the Silk Road international conference held in Tbilisi.

And now, at a regular session of the government, the Prime Minister said that a separate subdivision has been created under the National Security Service of Armenia to ensure the security of communications passing through Armenia, the movement of vehicles and people through them.

Political observer Armen Baghdasaryan says that such a “Crossroads of Peace”, which Pashinyan envisions, is not needed in the region by anyone but Armenia.

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  • “It is not necessary to provide security only with the army” – Pashinyan

According to the Armenian Prime Minister, the project will be extremely useful to all countries in the region:

“The railroads running through the south and north of Armenia have not been functioning regionally for thirty years, nor have the numerous highways connecting east and west been functioning. While reopening these roads would be a short and efficient both rail and road route connecting the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.”

He believes that rail and road links could also become effective in connecting the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea, including Georgian ports.

Pashinyan emphasizes that the idea of a “Crossroads of Peace” is an integral part of the peace agenda his government intends to implement in the region, and explains that without roads it will be very difficult to build peace:

“Roads connect not only countries and cities, but also people. And therefore, if busy, active roads are a sign of cooperation, peace, and success, then closed roads indicate the presence of problems.”

The Armenian Prime Minister promised to officially present the essence of the project and its principles to the governments of the regional countries. He hopes that “by joint efforts, including investor activity” it will be realized.

1. All infrastructure, including roads, railroads, air routes, pipelines, cables, power lines, operate under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the countries through which they pass.

2. Each country, through its state institutions, shall exercise border and customs control on its territory and ensure the security of infrastructure, including the passage of goods, vehicles and people through them.

3. All infrastructure may be used for both international and domestic transportation.

4. All countries use each other’s infrastructure on an equal and reciprocal basis. Certain simplifications of border and customs control procedures may be realized on the basis of equality and reciprocity.

Political observer Armen Baghdasaryan believes that “Pashinyan’s promises about the era of peace and the “Crossroads of Peace” are beautiful, but he does not say what price Armenia will have to pay for it” and that these ideas are “illusions and empty promises with which they are trying to deceive the people.”

“The probability of achieving peace is zero until the issue of Syunik [Armenia’s southern region bordering Azerbaijan] is resolved. Azerbaijan’s appetites are bigger than the road [the so-called “Zangezur corridor” demanded by Baku through Armenian territory to connect with Nakhichevan]. They do not need such a road as we imagine. We realize that Nakhichevan is not in a blockade – it has a connection with Azerbaijan both through the territory of Iran and Turkey. There is no such problem.”

According to the observer, Only Armenia needs this project, and other countries in the region will be against it:

“Georgia doesn’t need it more than others, because it has a monopoly on West-East roads. If the crossroads are activated, Georgia will lose half of its huge profits, as these will pass through Armenian territory.”

Iran, Baghdasaryan explains, does not need this project, as it cannot transport cargo secretly like Turkey and Azerbaijan. And Turkey and Azerbaijan will not allow the unblocking of roads and development of Armenia as it is not in their interests. Besides, the expert is convinced that these two countries “need the whole of Syunik”, not a road to connect with Nakhichevan.

As for Russia, it needs the “Crossroads of Peace” only on one condition – if it is the Russia that controls these roads.

“And this is not at all what Pashinyan envisioned. In short, 5 out of 6 countries in the region are against the “Crossroads of Peace”. Consequently, what the Armenian Prime Minister imagines will not happen, whether we want it or not,” he concludes.

Approximately 200 square kilometers of Armenian territory is under Azeri control – FM

 11:50, 3 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 3, ARMENPRESS. Approximately 200 square kilometers of Armenian territory is under Azeri control, FM Ararat Mirzoyan has said.

“There are territories of Armenia that have been under Azerbaijani control even since the 1990s. But we also have new examples, I am aware of such approximately 200 square kilometers of territory of Armenia, which is now under the control of Azerbaijani forces,” Mirzoyan told lawmakers at a parliamentary committee discussion when asked on the matter.