His Beatitude, Patriarch Theophilos III, the Patriarch of Jerusalem and all of Palestine, condemned the violence practiced against civilians in East Jerusalem, especially in the Noble Sanctuary and the Sheikh Jarrahneighbourhood.
In a statement by His Beatitude “violence breeds violence, and in this case there are no winners but rather everyone loses”, stressing the exclusive right of Muslims to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that any attack on the sanctities will result in serious obstacles.
His Beatitude mentioned the unjustified measures by the occupying power on the day of the Holy Fire, when they placed barriers and closures in front of the Christian worshippers, which led to tension and disturbed the festive atmosphere. His Beatitudestressed the right of Sheikh Jarrah’s residents to express their righteous concerns and to live in their neighbourhoods with dignity and respect, away from the policy of expulsion and displacement, also notingthe danger of the rise of the extreme right, which seeks to push the Holy City out of its center, considering it being a “Holy city for all three monotheistic religions,where all religions coexist with each other on the basis of the message of the prophets and justice, mutual respect and brotherly love among the sons of Abraham”.
Furthermore, Father Issa Musleh, the spokesperson for the Greek Orthodox Jerusalem Patriarchate, said “what we are witnessing in the Holy Mosque in terms of attacks and violence against worshipers since the first day of the blessed month of Ramadan cannot be ignored. Today, Sheikh Jarrah’s neighbourhood reminds us of the pain of the first asylum in 1948, and in the same painful way, the families of Sheikh Jarrahare facing displacement again after 73 years, despite the fact that they are the righteous and legal owners of their homes, which is a real tragedy against humanity,international laws and the messages of the monotheistic religions.
“We call on the international community to protect the Islamic and Christian sanctities from the greed and the arrogance of the Israeli settlers who continue their attacks day and night in order to change the features of the holy city and rob Muslims and Christians of their properties in Jerusalem in improper ways, just as we are witnessing today in the Sheikh Jarrah area in East Jerusalem, and the estates of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in the heart of the Christian Quarter and at the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jaffa Gate such as the Imperial, Petra and Al-Azhamiyahotels.
In conclusion, the patriarchate stressed the necessity of respecting the historical and legal status quo of the holy places and the need of international action in order for Jerusalem to be the key to peace and love and for the good to triumph over evil, just as our Lord Jesus Christ wanted through his resurrection from the heart of the Church of the Resurrection for the salvation of mankind.