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Armenian Youth Continue Peaceful Protest Defending ‘Cows’ Garden’ in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter

Armenian Youth Continue Peaceful Protest Defending ‘Cows’ Garden’ in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter
Twitter: @Liana Margaryan

Peaceful demonstrations continue in Jerusalem. Residents of the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem persist in safeguarding the millennium-old Armenian heritage within the region. The ongoing demonstration, aimed at protecting the historic "Cows' Garden," has garnered attention due to its steadfast commitment to preserving this sacred area.

This unwavering stand is evident in recent updates shared by representatives of the movement dedicated to safeguarding and conserving the Armenian Quarter. The focal point of contention revolves around the leasing of the "Cows' Garden" by Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, to a Jewish businessman for a 99-year period.

Armenian Youth Continue Peaceful Protest Defending ‘Cows’ Garden’ in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter

The initial decision to lease this significant area to Australian-Israeli businessman Danny Rubinstein, associated with the Xana Capital Group, sparked intense opposition from the local Armenian community and clergy. Notably, even Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II expressed strong reservations about this arrangement.

Following sustained protests, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem eventually annulled the contentious lease agreement. The cancellation was prompted by concerns that the deal jeopardized the integrity of the Armenian Quarter and failed to yield any tangible benefits for the Armenian Patriarchate.

Trouble ensued when Xana Capital Group deployed tractors to initiate unauthorized construction on the land from October 26. Despite these efforts, the Armenian community, in collaboration with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, swiftly intervened and halted the unauthorized construction by the company's machinery. A significant act was thwarting the demolition of a wall on the premises.

In a show of resilience, Armenian youth in Jerusalem have vigilantly guarded the disputed land, maintaining a watchful presence during the night. Unfortunately, recent weeks have seen attacks targeting members of the Armenian community and clergy. In one incident, four Armenian youths were apprehended but later released by Israeli police.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem is now actively pursuing steps to terminate the lease agreement and regain control of the land for the Armenian community. Describing the issue as the "biggest existential threat" in the Patriarchate's 16-century history, efforts are focused on securing the return of the "Cows' Garden" to its rightful custodians.

Disturbingly, reports indicate that attempts to resolve the issue have been marred by threats and violent tactics not only from the opposing party linked to the controversial contract but also from the Jerusalem police. This situation has prompted a unified stance from the Armenian community and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, staunchly resisting any forceful resolution imposed on the matter.


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