The European Union Representative issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
On June 8, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate’s appeal against the settler organization Ateret Cohanim’s take-over of the Greek Orthodox properties at Jaffa Gate, leaving the protected Palestinian long-term tenants at risk of eviction. The court ruling further increases pressure on the Christian presence in Jerusalem, with threats to Christian communities and to their property by settlers.
The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah express deep concern over the worrying implications the court ruling and the take-over will have on the Christian community and the Christian Quarter of the Old City. Attempts by settlers to take over Christian property in the Old City of Jerusalem must be halted as they jeopardize the heritage and traditions of the Christian community. They pose a threat to peaceful coexistence of all three monotheistic religions in Jerusalem, as well as to the established religious equilibrium. The EU calls for the upholding of the Status quo, including for Christian Holy Sites. Freedom of religion and the special status and character of the city must be preserved and respected by all.