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Al-Quds churches slam Israel’s ‘systematic’ attempts against Christians

Churches in al-Quds have lashed out at the Israeli regime for its “systematic” attempts to change the occupied city’s historical status quo and “undermine” the Christian community there.

According to Press TV, in a joint statement released on Monday, the heads of the Catholic, Ethiopian, Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Syrian and other churches condemned a recent Israeli court ruling, which allows the sale of two hotels to an Israeli pro-settlement organization near Jaffa Gate in al-Quds’ Old City.

Last month, Al-Quds’ District Court upheld a set of real estate deals struck in 2004 between officials from the Greek Orthodox Church and Ateret Cohanim organization.

Elsewhere in their statement, al-Quds churches denounced a controversial Israeli bill that would transfer the ownership of church land sold to private investors to the Tel Aviv regime in return for compensation.

“We see in these actions a systematic attempt to undermine the integrity of the Holy City of al-Quds and the Holy Land, and to weaken the Christian presence,” the statement read, warning that the Israeli “threats to the Christian community can only increase the troubling tensions that have emerged in these turbulent times.”

“Such attempts to undermine the Christian community of al-Quds and the Holy Land do not affect one Church only; they affect us all, and they affect Christians and all people of good will around the world,” it added.

The statement also called for pressure on Zionist regime to block the contentious church land ownership bill and demanded international support “to ensure that no further attempts are made from any quarter to change the al-Quds’ historical Status Quo and its provisions and spirit.”

“We cannot stress strongly enough the very serious situation that this recent systematic assault on the status quo has had on the integrity of al-Quds and on the well-being of the Christian communities of the Holy Land, as well as on the stability of our society,” it said.

Muslim Palestinians have for long complained about Israeli attempts to Judaize al-Quds by transforming the city’s demographic landscape through a variety of methods including settlement construction, demolition of Palestinian homes, denying residency rights and replacing Arab names with Hebrew ones.

Tensions have been particularly high surrounding the al-Aqsa Mosque which is the third holiest site to Muslims.

The latest round of tensions erupted in July following a deadly shootout outside the Haram al-Sharif, which Jews call Temple Mount.