18 November 2023 | International Solidarity Movement | Al-Quds
“Welcome to Little Little Armenia”, we hear as we walk past the barbed wire and stone barricades in the Christian section of the Old City of Al-Quds (Jerusalem). Armenian flags fly from atop walls and mounds of rubble.
This land, the size of about a quarter of what is known as the Armenian quarter, is home to a seminary, homes, restaurants, shops, gardens, and a parking lot. On November 16 and 17, armed, violent extremist Israeli settlers attempted to storm the area. This follows violent attacks from two weeks ago in which settlers also attempted to seize the area armed with machine guns and dogs trained to attack. Among the settlers attacking the Armenian community was Saadia Hershkop, an associate of Mosque mass shooting terrorist Eden Natan-Zada and Israeli Minister of Security Itamar Ben Gvir. All three have previously been linked with the Israeli terrorist group known as the Kach Movement.
Each time, the Armenian community has rallied, formed a human shield, and nonviolently repelled the attacks.
The Armenian community in Jerusalem is no stranger to ethnic cleansing. Although dating back to the 4th century, thousands of Armenians relocated to the area after 1915 amid the Armenian genocide which resulted in approximately one million people murdered. This, with the mass murder and expulsion of other Orthodox communities and churches, made way for the creation of the ethnonationalist Turkish state. Now, Armenians in Jerusalem are under attack.
A 24 hour camp has been established to protect their ancestral land and structures from being bulldozed by violent extremists who want to build a luxury hotel.
Israeli police sided with the armed settlers and refused to disarm or arrest them for the incursion. Four Armenian land protectors have been arrested thus far for calling the police on the violent extremist settler mob, telling the mob, “You are trespassing!” and other similar “offenses”.
In a press release, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem stated that this attempted land seizure and the associated settlers attacks is “the greatest existential threat in our 16-century history” and a “clear step taken towards the endangerment of the Christian presence in Jerusalem and in the Holy Land.”
Other Patriarchates of the Christian Quarter have expressed their solidarity with the Armenian community under attack.
For more information and to get involved in protecting the Armenian presence in Jerusalem visit Save the ArQ on Facebook.
A statement from the Patriarch and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem.