Jerusalem’s Christian leaders, Sunday, decided to close the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, in the old City of Jerusalem, in protest of Israel’s tax policy and a proposed land appropriation law.
Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, in the name of all of Jerusalem’s Churches’ leaders and Patriarchs, announced in a press conference that the Church is closed until further notice, saying the closure came in protest of Israel’s policies against the churches.
Israeli authorities have recently imposed a property tax (Anona) upon churches, worth up to millions of shekels.
Patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem said in a joint statement that imposing taxes on churches is a violation of all the agreements and international commitments that guarantees the rights and privileges of churches.
The statement stressed, according to WAFA, that such a measure is an attempt to weaken Christian presence in the city of Jerusalem, warning against the Israeli ministerial committee bill, which, if passed, could be used to confiscate lands belonging to churches.
On Its part, Jordan issued a statement strongly denouncing the Israeli violations against Christian Churches and their properties in occupied Palestine and called on Tel Aviv to void its decision and to respect International Law.
Mohammad al-Momani, the Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs, said that Jordan condemned and rejects all Israeli illegal policies aimed at changing the historic and religious status of the Holy City, including its violations against both Christian and Muslim holy sites.
He said that confiscating Church lands, and freezing Church assets, are serious violations of International Law and International Humanitarian Law and added that Churches are exempt from taxes and should not be targeted.
The Jordanian official added that the Israeli measures target the existence of Christians in Palestine, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, and said that the existence of Christianity in the holy city of Jerusalem is part of the most important historic, humanitarian and cultural heritage of the region, and embodies the core values of coexistence between all faiths.
First Published on: Feb 25, 2018 @ 20:02