‘Coordinated attack’: Christians assaulted by Muslims over Jerusalem land deal

Armenian clerics seriously wounded in clashes with Muslim Arabs amid claims of ‘coordinated physical attack.’

By World Israel News Staff

A number of Armenian Christian clerics were injured during a physical altercation with Muslim Arabs in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The incident occurred last week, as police officers were forced to intervene to separate dozens of Muslim Arabs and Armenian Christians during what Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum called a “brawl.”

“There was an unfortunate incident where some Arab Muslim men and some men from the Armenian community got into a brawl in the old city of Jerusalem,” Hassan-Nahoum said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

“Police came promptly to separate the parties, and arrests were made on both sides. The city of Jerusalem will not tolerate any criminal activity, whether religiously motivated or otherwise, and the police will prosecute those responsible.”

Leaders of the Armenian community in the Old City of Jerusalem said, however, that the incident was in fact a planned assault targeting the clerics and Christian seminary students.

In a letter addressed to the police department and obtained by the Post, the Armenian Patriarchate wrote that “A mass and coordinated physical attack was launched.”

“Several priests, students, and indigenous Armenians are seriously injured.”

Armenian leaders say the attack was retribution for their decision to sue for the cancellation of a land lease agreement signed two years ago.

Known as the Cows’ Cardel Land Deal, the agreement would lease out a plot of land owned by the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem to a pair of businessmen – one a Christian Arab and the other an Australian Jew.

The two developers, George Warwar and Danny Rothman, plan on turning the property, which currently serves as a parking lot and houses a seminary and several residential structures, into a luxury hotel.

Under heavy pressure from Armenians both in Jerusalem and abroad, the patriarchate decided to renege on the deal, filing a suit in the Jerusalem District Court to annul the 99-year lease.

After penning a letter to the developers two months ago insisting that the deal be cancelled, Armenian leaders claim they were targeted in a violent assault similar to Thursday’s incident.