Rep. Joaquin Castro hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on the threat to Jerusalem’s historic Armenian community
U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee member Joaquin Castro (D-TX) hosted a Congressional briefing last week calling attention to escalating attacks by developers seeking to seize land from Jerusalem’s sacred Armenian Quarter to build luxury hotels, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“We want to thank Representative Castro for shining a much-needed Congressional spotlight on the escalation of violent attacks against Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter – a central pillar of Christendom, a true treasure for all faith traditions,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “It was encouraging to see such a broad array of legislators represented in this comprehensive Capitol Hill briefing on the legal, political, and spiritual aspects of this crisis.”
The January 5th briefing featured testimony from Daniel Seidemann, a globally respected Israeli lawyer and expert on Jerusalem; Hagop Djernazian, a leader of the Save The ArQ Movement defending the rights of the Jerusalem Armenian Quarter; and Karnig Kerkonian, a prominent U.S.-based attorney representing the community in the ongoing legal dispute over the land.
Over the past several months, Israeli developers have sought to seize land from the Armenian Quarter for private commercial real estate projects. On December 28th, in the wake of civil society pushback from the indigenous Armenian community, an angry mob of masked men, apparently mobilized and directed by the developers, brutally attacked a dozen Armenians, including the clergy.
The ANCA has called on U.S. Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain to clearly and unequivocally condemn the ongoing efforts to intimidate Jerusalem’s historic Armenian Christian population in an X (formerly Twitter) campaign – https://twitter.anca.org/armenianquarter
The Armenian Quarter is an integral part of the Old City of Jerusalem – with the Armenian presence in the city dating back to the 4th century AD, when, after Armenia became the first nation to adopt Christianity as a national religion, Armenian monks settled in Jerusalem.