RAMALLAH, Thursday, July 04, 2019 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas addressed a letter to Pope Francis asking his urgent intervention to save the historic Christian presence in Jerusalem.
In his letter delivered by Palestinian ambassador to the Vatican Issa Kassissieh, Abbas expressed the Palestinian leadership’s deep concern over escalating Israeli violations against the Palestinian people in general and the Christian presence in Palestine with particular focus on Jerusalem.
He touched upon the Ateret Cohanim settler group’s recent attempts to seize three strategically located properties belonging to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate overlooking the Omar Bin al-Khattab Square, which leads to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the headquarters of the Jerusalem Latin, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Patriarchates.
The assets seized by Ateret Cohanim, an organization aiming to create a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem at the expense of Palestinian presence, included the Petra and Imperial hotels overlooking the Omar Bin al-Khattab Square near Jaffa Gate and the plot of land that includes a building known as al-Muadamiya, located near Bab Hutta.
Abbas concluded his letter warning against altering the historic and legal status quo in Jerusalem as well as against Israeli settler-colonialist groups’ attempts to seize church property and asked the Pontiff to immediately intervene to save the Christian presence in the holy city before it is too late.