In a letter to Churches worldwide: Khouri Warns of Severe threats to Holy Land Churches and their Property Due to Israel’s Tax Imposition

Member of the PLO Executive Committee and Head of the Higher Presidential Committee for Church Affairs in Palestine, Dr. Ramzi Khouri, issued a stark warning to churches worldwide regarding the recent Israeli escalation amid Israel’s ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. Israeli authorities have resumed their plans to illegally impose taxes on Church property in East Jerusalem and other cities. This move threatens the very existence of these historic institutions. Previously, in 2018, this decision was put on hold but not canceled, following global protests and a three-day closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The renewal of decision has reignited concerns regarding religious freedoms and stability in the Holy Land.

The revived Israeli tax policy poses a serious threat to the financial sustainability of churches, hampering their ability to provide essential charitable, social, and educational services. It undermines centuries-old traditions, violates international law, and constitutes a direct assault on Palestinian religious, cultural, and social rights.

Khouri emphasized that the racist measures by Israel against churches and their affiliated institutions, including the imposition of taxes, are intended to pressure the churches and Christians to leave. Such measure aligns with Israel’s broader strategy of Judaizing occupied Jerusalem by forcibly displacing its Palestinian Christian residents.

He urged churches worldwide to take decisive action to counter and stop this proceeding, stressing the urgent need for international involvement to protect Church rights and maintain the status quo in Jerusalem. Immediate action is essential to prevent further destabilization and to ensure the continuity of Churches during these trying times.

The letter included a summary of the recent Israeli escalation, the occupying power, against Churches. These measures are part of Israel’s colonial policy, which disregards centuries-old arrangements and agreements between religions and sects, known as the “status quo.” The most recent of these measures was the freezing of official church bank accounts to compel them to accept the imposed taxes.

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