Khouri: Settlers attacks on Christian Clergies and Muslim and Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem represent a continuation of the extremist Israeli government’s crime of genocide in the Gaza Strip.'”

Member of the PLO Executive Committee and Head of the Higher Presidential Committee for Churches Affairs in Palestine, Dr. Ramzi Khouri, stated that the ongoing genocide carried out by the Israeli government in the Gaza Strip, coupled with attacks on Muslim and Christian Holy Sites, daily incursions into cities and villages, and extrajudicial executions of Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, is a continuation of Israel’s plans to forcibly displace Palestinians.

Khouri emphasized that Israel continues its brutal onslaught against the defenseless Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, ruthlessly targeting children, women, and innocent civilians. He pointed out that these crimes have intensified significantly following the International Court of Justice’s ruling, which shows Israel’s blatant disregard for international law.

The Committee condemns the measures taken by some Western countries, including the suspension of UNRWA funding, which threatens the agency’s work, particularly in the midst of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, thus undermining the Right of Return, and the recent US House of Representatives’ bill to expand the ban of entry into the US for members of the PLO. Such actions align with the Israeli agenda to eliminate the Palestinian cause.

Furthermore, the Committee denounces the assault by Israeli extremist Jewish settlers on Abbott Nicodemus of the Abby of the Dormition, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Caught on camera, the settlers assaulted the Abbott physically and hurled verbal insults on Christian symbols. Dr. Khouri stressed that this incident is part of an alarming series of attacks targeting clergies, involving harassment, physical violence, and verbal abuse by Israeli settler groups.

Last year, the Committee documented numerous attacks and assaults on Muslim and Christian Holy Sites and Clergy members, particularly in occupied Jerusalem. For instance, on January 4th, 2023 a group of Israeli Jewish settlers desecrated the cemetery of the Evangelical Episcopal Church in jerusalem. On February 2nd of the same year, the Church of the Flagellation was attacked by a Jewish extremist, who attempted to set the Church on fire. In July 2023, a Christian clergy was insulted by an Israeli guard near the western wall of al-Aqsa Mosque (Buraq Wall), while attempting to force him to remove his cross.

Dr. Khouri urges the United Nations and Security Council to put an end to Israel’s fascist crimes. He calls upon Churches worldwide to exert pressure on their respective governments to stop the genocide in Gaza and to demand accountability for Israeli Jewish settlers responsible for crimes against the Palestinian people. It is beyond time to end Israel’s impunity.

The following is a list of numerous attacks and violations against Palestinian Christians and Christian Holy Sites documented by the Higher Presidential Committee for Church Affairs in Palestine in 2023 in Jerusalem:

On January 4th, a cemetery belonging to the Evangelical Episcopal Church was vandalized by Israeli Jewish settlers.

On January 29th, Israeli extremist settlers attacked the Armenian Convent of the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem and climbed the Patriarchate’s walls to remove its flag.

On February 2nd, extremist Israeli settlers stormed the Church of the Condemnation, smashed a statute of Jesus and attempted to set the church on fire.

On March 19th, Israeli extremist settlers broke into the Church of Gethsemane in the occupied city of Jerusalem, and tried to sabotage the properties inside the church.

In June, an Israeli settler threw stones and smashed the stained-glass windows of the room of the Last Supper in Jerusalem, known as the Cenacle.

During the Catholic Pentecost ceremony on Mount Zion, south of Jerusalem’s Old City, about 20 ultra-Orthodox Jews blew trumpets and cursed loudly to sabotage the ceremony. Loud noises, curses and harassment is practiced daily by extremist Jewish settlers, particularly in the Christian Quarter in order to create a coercive environment for Christians living in the old city of Jerusalem.

In July, Two Israeli extremist armed settlers stormed the Orthodox Church complex in the Mount Zion area of occupied Jerusalem, spread items on the church ground and announced they would remain there. When a church official asked them to leave, the settlers started shouting insults and racist slurs towards him, telling him to “get out” of the grounds, and claiming, “Mount Zion belongs to the Jewish people”.

On July 21st, Christian clergy was insulted by an Israeli guard near the western wall of al-Aqsa Mosque (Buraq Wall), while attempting to force him to remove his cross.Okay 

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